News has broken that the German president, Christian Wulff, has resigned following a corruption scandal, which broke in December 2011.
The scandal centered around a dubitable private loan, given to him in 2008, when he was ministerial president of Niedersachsen, claims that he attempted to blackmail Germany’s biggest tabloid Bild and a series of revelations that Wulff had received many undeclared freebies from business executives (luxury holidays and so on).
Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled her planned visit to Rome, to speak with Italian PM Mario Monti, in order to deal with the resignation of the CDU president.
Speaking from his Berlin residence, Bellevue Palace, Wulff admitted that he had lost the trust of the German people and that his effectiveness as president was damaged. Wulff had only been president since 2010 – following previous president Köhler’s surprise resignation in May 2010 over a dispute with other politicians concerning overseas military deployments. Wulff will be succeeded by Horst Seehofer, from the CDU’s sister party, the CSU.