German president Horst Koehler resigns over military row
Germany's president Horst Koehler resigns following remarks he made about the country's military deployment
Tuesday, 01, Jun 2010 03:47
By Sarah Garrod.
Germany's president Horst Koehler has resigned following remarks he made about the country's military deployment.
The 67-year-old faced increasing pressure to step down when comments he made about the link between the country's economic interests and its military deployments were met with criticism.
The president's role in Germany is largely ceremonial, with Mr Koehler being re-elected for a second term last year.
His remarks were made during a radio interview after visiting Afghanistan, in which he said military missions helped to "protect our interests, for example, free trade routes, or to prevent regional instability, which might certainly have a negative effect on our trade, jobs and income".
He said yesterday that "it was an honour for me to serve Germany as president", adding that he regretted the comments he had made if they were misunderstood, while his office said his they had been misinterpreted.
Mr Köhler's decision marked the first time in post-war German history that a president has resigned with immediate effect. His replacement will be voted in by an election next month.
German chancellor Angela Merkel said she "deeply regretted" Köhler's resignation.
"I tried to persuade him to change his mind, but that wasn't possible," she added.