German president steps down over Afghanistan remarks

May 31st, 2010 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Berlin, May 31 (DPA) German President Horst Koehler announced his resignation Monday, over controversial comments he made about Germany’s military role in Afghanistan.
Koehler had suggested during a recent trip to Afghanistan that the German military was active in the region to defend economic interests.

Monday, he said he could not justify the remarks he had made, and said he had not exercised the necessary respect for his office.

This is the first time in German post-war history that a president has resigned. The speaker of Germany’s upper house of parliament, Jens Boehrnsen, is to fill the post until a successor is chosen.

The 67-year-old member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats held the post since July 2004. He was re-elected to the largely ceremonial role last year.

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