Friday, October 24, 2014


News

Longtime Anticommunist Activist To Become Germany's Next President

Joachim Gauck is not affiliated with any political party
Joachim Gauck is not affiliated with any political party
By Robert Coalson
The nomination of 72-year-old former East German anticommunist activist Joachim Gauck to be the next president of Germany came as a surprise -- not least to Gauck himself.

"I cannot give you a keynote address now in the confusion of my feelings. That is impossible. I'm just off the plane and was in a taxi when the chancellor got a hold of me. I'm not even showered," Gauck said. "It doesn't matter that you see that I am overwhelmed and a little bit confused."
 
But the consensus is that the longtime human rights activist -- who has been called Germany's Nelson Mandela for his role in bringing down the communist regime in East Germany and exposing the activities of the former East Germany secret police, the Stasi -- brings a much-needed moral authority to an office that has been tarnished by the resignation last week of Christian Wulff under a cloud of corruption allegations.
 
The popular Gauck is an elder statesman in Germany who is not affiliated with any political party and is untouched by political scandals. He was given an additional boost by the fact that the governing coalition headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel came together and endorsed him as a unity candidate.

From RFE/RL's Archives: An Interview With Joachim Gauck (2007)
 
The German parliament must vote on the nomination before March 18, but Gauck already has the support of all represented parties except for Die Linke, the successor party to the former East German Communists.
 
Born in 1940 in the northern city of Rostok, Gauck grew up in East Germany (GDR) and was 11 years old when his father was arrested by the communist authorities on vague charges of ties with the West and sent to a Siberian labor camp. Gauck was later denied the opportunity to study journalism because he refused to join communist youth organizations. Instead, he became a Lutheran pastor and, as his Stasi file noted, "an incorrigible anticommunist."

Rooting Out Communists

He was a leader among the Christian pastors who demonstrated relentlessly and hastened the end of the communist regime. After the fall of the GDR, Gauck took over the Stasi archives and undertook the treacherous process of rooting out former secret police employees and collaborators. 
 
Christian Wulff has resigned from the presidential post after corruption allegationsChristian Wulff has resigned from the presidential post after corruption allegations
x
Christian Wulff has resigned from the presidential post after corruption allegations
Christian Wulff has resigned from the presidential post after corruption allegations
He was the guiding authority of Germany's truth and reconciliation process from 1990 to 2000. In a 2007 interview with RFE/RL's Georgian Service, Gauck was categorical about the need to expose and move beyond the communist past.

"We have to deligitimatize [the communist era] not only because of the many victims and criminal acts, but [also because] modern politics in the entire Soviet empire was basically taken backward," Gauck said.
 
Edward Lucas, editor of the international section of "The Economist," sees the Gauck nomination as a significant opportunity to bolster German unity and to deepen ties between Germany and the countries of the former Soviet bloc.

"You've now got the two top people in Germany both coming from the East -- although [Chancellor Angela] Merkel was actually born in the West, but she was raised in the East," Lucas said.

"And I think that is symbolically, psychologically very important. I think it will be good for relations with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia because this is a guy who understands what they went [through]."
 
Lucas adds that Gauck has a keen appreciation of the legacy of the long division of Europe and of the "moral obligation" of the rich West to reach out to the peoples who lived for decades under occupation.
 
Throughout his life and his career, Gauck has emphasized personal responsibility, an emphasis that he repeated in his first remarks after being informed of the nomination on February 19.

"My main task will be closeness with the people who say 'yes' to responsibility -- and who are everywhere in our country, not only on the political level," Gauck said.

"And I want to work in a way that people take on this responsibility and don't just stand on the sidelines of public life as visitors and critical observers."

Josef Joffe, editor and publisher of the "Die Zeit," told RFE/RL by e-mail that Gauck is "a paragon of probity."

"His language is not the cloudy politically correct stuff that characterizes the political caste in Germany," Joffe says. "He is forthright and to the point, taking on the mushy consensus. The next five years will be quite interesting."

Robert Coalson

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
February 20, 2012 19:37
One interesting "detail" that the RFE/RL as usual "forgot" to mention is that in the last two years Germany has already lost TWO of its presidents: the former IMF Secretary General KOLLER in early 2010 (he was forced to leave after some scandlalous and revealing comments on the real reasons for the German participation in the war against the people of Afghanistan), and now WULFF has been forced to resign with a scandal. This guy is the best one: he just seems to have spent a number of years abusing his official position to get preferential treatment from banks, enterprises etc etc etc.
In the meantime, the German economy has entered into a RECESSION: it has contracted by 0,2 per cent in the forth quarter of the last year.
Congratulations, Germany - and thank you for destroying the lives of the Greek people!
VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iRGiIOnRIw&feature=autoplay&list=UUpwvZwUam-URkxB7g4USKpg&lf=plcp&playnext=2

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
February 21, 2012 03:59
The President of Germany is largely decorative post as well as the Italian President..

Тhere is a decorative President who was appointed for 4 years without any real power and influence..
Interestingly, Mr.Whitmore guess who it is or not?

However, the decorative presidents also people who want to eat well, to ride on yachts and expensive cars- and as it is clear this is all annoying man in the street.
Therefore, Chancellor Merkel would be better to think as even more devalued this pos, that the the human weaknesses of so-called presidents did not affect people who are the real power
moreover, there is one- from whom to take an example of how to do it ..
Fearing for Mr.Whitmore did not break his head in search of an answer...who is it...I give a hint-a man with a face of Botox..

Well, has got drunk guy, took the money,unfaithful to his wife- who does not happen...Let's take another president no problem...more presidents, the better..but see a lot do not drink, do not smoke, and less on the women go..
But the best option of course, is to cancel the president, from whom nothing does not depend
It's always annoying to get a headache from persons about which most people in the world do not know..

Most Popular