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Horst Köhler

Horst Köhler

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Horst Köhler (ˈhɔɐ̯st ˈkøːlɐ; born 22 February 1943) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

. He was President of Germany
President of Germany
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...

 from 2004 to 2010. As the candidate of the two Christian Democratic sister parties, the CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

 and the CSU
Christian Social Union of Bavaria
The Christian Social Union in Bavaria is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It operates only in the state of Bavaria, while its sister party, the Christian Democratic Union , operates in the other 15 states of Germany...

, and the liberal FDP
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party , abbreviated to FDP, is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Germany. It is led by Philipp Rösler and currently serves as the junior coalition partner to the Union in the German federal government...

, Köhler was elected
German presidential election, 2004
The President of Germany is the titular head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany. The president's tasks are mostly ceremonial, but for the signing of all new federal laws before they go into effect...

 to his first five-year term by the Federal Assembly
Bundesversammlung (Germany)
The Federal Convention is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convened solely for the purpose of electing the German Federal President , either every five years or within 30 days of a president's resignation, death or removal from office.The Bundesversammlung includes the entire...

 on 23 May 2004 and was subsequently inaugurated on 1 July 2004. He was reelected
German presidential election, 2009
An indirect presidential election was held in Germany on 23 May 2009. The President of Germany was elected by the Federal Assembly, which is made up of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of members nominated by the state Landtags....

 to a second term on 23 May 2009. Just a year later, on 31 May 2010, he resigned from his office in a controversy over his comment on the role of the German Bundeswehr
Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

 in light of a visit to the troops in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

.

Köhler is an economist
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 by profession. Prior to his election as President, Köhler had a distinguished career in politics and the civil service and as a banking executive. He was President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their...

 from 1998 to 2000 and head of the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) from 2000 to 2004.

Because the office of President is less influential than that of the Chancellor
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

 and is mostly concerned with ceremonial matters, Köhler was a highly popular politician during his tenure. He has called for more influence for the President and has suggested the President should be directly elected (as was the case under Germany's Weimar Constitution
Weimar constitution
The Constitution of the German Reich , usually known as the Weimar Constitution was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic...

).

Early life


Köhler was born in Skierbieszów
Skierbieszów
Skierbieszów is a village in Zamość County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Skierbieszów. It lies on the river Wolica, approximately north-east of Zamość and south-east of the regional capital Lublin. The village has a population of 1,317...

 (then named Heidenstein), in the General Government
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

 area of German-occupied Poland, as the seventh child of Elisabeth and Eduard Köhler, into a family of Bessarabian Germans
Bessarabia Germans
----The Bessarabia Germans are an ethnic group who lived in Bessarabia between 1814 and 1940. Between 1814 and 1842, 9000 of them immigrated from the German areas Baden, Württemberg, Alsace, Bavaria and some Prussian areas of modern-day Poland, to the Russian government of Bessarabia at the Black...

 from Rîşcani
Rîscani
Rîşcani is a city in Moldova, the capital of the Rîşcani District. It is located along the Copăceanca river, about 22 kilometres from the station in Drochia...

 in Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 (near Bălţi
Balti
Balti can refer to:* Balti language, a language spoken in Baltistan in Pakistan and Ladakh in Kashmir* Balti people, Muslims of Ladakhi/Tibetan origin from Baltistan in Pakistan and Ladakh in Kashmir...

, present-day Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

). Horst Köhler's parents, ethnic Germans and Romanian citizens, had to leave their home in Bessarabia in 1940 during the Nazi-Soviet population transfers
Nazi-Soviet population transfers
The Nazi–Soviet population transfers were a series of population transfers between 1939 and 1941 of tens of thousands of ethnic Germans and ethnic Russians in an agreement according to the German–Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Demarcation between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.-...

 that followed the invasion of Poland and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

, which awarded Bessarabia to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. As part of the Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost was a secret Nazi German plan for the colonization of Eastern Europe. Implementing it would have necessitated genocide and ethnic cleansing to be undertaken in the Eastern European territories occupied by Germany during World War II...

, they were resettled in 1942 at Skierbieszów
Skierbieszów
Skierbieszów is a village in Zamość County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Skierbieszów. It lies on the river Wolica, approximately north-east of Zamość and south-east of the regional capital Lublin. The village has a population of 1,317...

, a village near Zamość
Zamosc
Zamość ukr. Замостя is a town in southeastern Poland with 66,633 inhabitants , situated in the south-western part of Lublin Voivodeship , about from Lublin, from Warsaw and from the border with Ukraine...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 (then part of the General Government
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

). As the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 was pushed back and the first parts of Poland had to be abandoned in 1944, the Köhler family fled to Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

. In 1953, they left the Soviet Zone
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

 – via West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

 – to escape from the communist regime. The family lived in refugee camp
Refugee camp
A refugee camp is a temporary settlement built to receive refugees. Hundreds of thousands of people may live in any one single camp. Usually they are built and run by a government, the United Nations, or international organizations, or NGOs.Refugee camps are generally set up in an impromptu...

s until 1957, when they settled in Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about north of Stuttgart city centre, near the river Neckar. It is the largest and primary city of the Ludwigsburg urban district with about 87,000 inhabitants...

. Horst Köhler hence spent most of his first 14 years as a refugee.

Studies and military service


A teacher recommended that the refugee boy should apply for the Gymnasium, and Köhler took his Abitur
Abitur
Abitur is a designation used in Germany, Finland and Estonia for final exams that pupils take at the end of their secondary education, usually after 12 or 13 years of schooling, see also for Germany Abitur after twelve years.The Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, often referred to as...

in 1963. After a two-year military service at a Panzergrenadier
Panzergrenadier
is a German term for motorised or mechanized infantry, as introduced during World War II. It is used in the armies of Austria, Chile, Germany and Switzerland.-Forerunners:...

 battalion in Ellwangen
Ellwangen
Ellwangen an der Jagst, officially Ellwangen , in common use simply Ellwangen is a town in the district of Ostalbkreis in the east of Baden-Württemberg in Germany...

, he left the Bundeswehr
Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

 as "Leutnant der Reserve" (reserve officer). He studied and finally earned a doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 in economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 and political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

s from Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen
Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen
Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen is a public university located in the city of Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is one of Germany's oldest universities, internationally noted in medicine, natural sciences and the humanities. In the area of German Studies it has been ranked first among...

, where he was a scientific research assistant at the Institute for Applied Economic Research from 1969 to 1976.

Career in the civil service


Köhler joined the civil service in 1976, when he was employed in the Federal Ministry of Economics
Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Germany)
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is a ministry of the German Federal Government since 1998...

. In 1981, he was employed in the Chancellory of the state government in Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

 under Prime Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg
Gerhard Stoltenberg
Gerhard Stoltenberg was a German politician and minister in the cabinets of Ludwig Erhard, Kurt Georg Kiesinger and Helmut Kohl. He served as minister-president of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein from 1971 to 1982 and as such as President of the Bundesrat in 1977/78.-Life:Stoltenberg was...

. The following year, Köhler was made head of the Ministers office in the Federal Ministry of Finance, upon Stoltenberg's recommendation. He rose to head of department in 1987, with responsibility for financial policy and federal industrial interests. In 1989 he became head of the department for currency and credit.

Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance


A member of the CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

 since 1981, he was Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Finance from 1990 to 1993, and as such, the administrative head of the Ministry and the deputy of the Federal Minister of Finance (Theodor Waigel
Theodor Waigel
Theodor "Theo" Waigel is a German politician of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria.Waigel is a lawyer, and earned a doctorate in 1967. He was a member of the Bundestag from 1972 to 2002...

). In that capacity, he served as a "sherpa
Sherpa (G8)
A sherpa is the personal representative of a head of state of government who prepares an international summit, particularly the annual G8 Summit. Between the G8 summits there are multiple sherpa conferences where possible agreements are laid out. This reduces the amount of time and resources...

" (personal representative) for Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Helmut Kohl
Helmut Josef Michael Kohl is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1998...

, preparing G7 summits and other international economic conferences. He also served as the primary German negotiator in the Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

 negotiations.

Career in banking 1993–2000


Between 1993 and 1998 he served as President of the association of savings banks in Germany, Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband
Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband
Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband is the German association of saving banks. It was founded in 1924 by the merger of Deutscher Sparkassenverband and Deutscher Zentral-Giroverband. The headquarter is located in Berlin since 1999, having previously been located in Bonn.-Presidents:*Ernst...

. In 1998 he was appointed president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their...

, and settled in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, where the headquarters of the bank is located.

Head of the International Monetary Fund



Köhler was appointed Managing Director and Chairman of the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) in 2000. The government of Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician, and was Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany , he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens. Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor...

 nominated him after their first nominee, Caio Koch-Weser
Caio Koch-Weser
Caio Koch-Weser is a German politician, economist, civil servant and business executive. He was Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Finance 1999–2005...

, was rejected by the United States.

He lived in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, from 2000 to 2004.

President of Germany


On 4 March 2004, Köhler resigned his post with the IMF after being nominated by Germany's conservative and liberal opposition parties as their presidential candidate. As these parties controlled a majority of votes in the Bundesversammlung
Bundesversammlung (Germany)
The Federal Convention is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convened solely for the purpose of electing the German Federal President , either every five years or within 30 days of a president's resignation, death or removal from office.The Bundesversammlung includes the entire...

(an electoral college consisting of the membership of the Bundestag
Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

 and an equal number of delegates appointed by the legislatures of each state
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

), the result of the vote amounted to essentially a foregone conclusion, but was closer than expected. Köhler defeated Gesine Schwan
Gesine Schwan
Gesine Schwan is a German political science professor and member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The party has nominated her twice as a candidate for the federal presidential elections. On 23 May 2004, she was defeated by the Christian Democrat and former president Horst Köhler...

 on the first ballot by 604 votes to 580; 20 votes were cast for minor candidates, while one elector was absent because of a heart attack. Köhler succeeded Johannes Rau
Johannes Rau
Johannes Rau was a German politician of the SPD. He was President of Germany from 1 July 1999 until 30 June 2004, and Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia from 1978 to 1998.-Education and work:...

 as President on 1 July 2004, for a five-year term. Germany's presidency is a largely ceremonial office, but is also invested with considerable moral authority. From 2004 until early 2006, Charlottenburg Palace
Charlottenburg Palace
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin, Germany, and the only royal residency in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. It is located in the Charlottenburg district of the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf burough.The palace was built at the end of the 17th century...

 was the seat of the President of Germany, whilst Schloss Bellevue
Schloss Bellevue
Schloss Bellevue is the official residence of the President of Germany since 1994. The palace in the central Tiergarten district of Berlin is situated on the northern edge of the Großer Tiergarten park, on the banks of the Spree river, near the Berlin Victory Column...

 was being renovated.

Upon his election, Köhler, a conservative German patriot
Patriotism
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy...

, said that "Patriotism and being cosmopolitan are not opposites". "He appeared an enlightened patriot who genuinely loves his country and is not afraid to say so", the newspaper Die Welt
Die Welt
Die Welt is a German national daily newspaper published by the Axel Springer AG company.It was founded in Hamburg in 1946 by the British occupying forces, aiming to provide a "quality newspaper" modelled on The Times...

wrote. Presenting his visions for Germany, Köhler also said that "Germany should become a land of ideas", and emphasized the importance of globalization, and that Germany would have to compete for its place in the 21st century.

In July 2005, he suspended the Bundestag at Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician, and was Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany , he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens. Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor...

's request, after the latter had lost a motion of confidence in the Bundestag. This led to early election for the Bundestag in September 2005.
In October 2006, he made a far-reaching decision by vetoing the bill which would transfer Germany's Air Safety Administration Deutsche Flugsicherung
Deutsche Flugsicherung
The Deutsche Flugsicherung is the company in charge of air traffic control for Germany. It is a company organized under private law and 100% owned by the Federal Republic of Germany. Since 1994, DFS has been responsible for handling both civil and military air traffic in peacetime, removing a...

 into private ownership. The Bundestag
Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

 passed this legislation but as President, Köhler was authorized not to sign it into law if, in his opinion, it contravenes the constitution. In December 2006 he did not sign the Consumer Information Law (which intended to make information collected by public food safety agencies available to consumers), because the constitution does not allow the federal government to instruct municipal authorities. This can only be done by the German states. There had only been six previous occasions when Germany's president had chosen to reject bills, in most instances less important legislation was involved. His vetoes were the first notable examples in recent German history.

In his 2007 Christmas address to the nation, Köhler urged the government to push ahead more quickly with reforms. He was also critical of the introduction of the minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

 in the postal sector (which had led to the loss of 1000 jobs at Deutsche Post
Deutsche Post
Deutsche Post AG, operating under the trade name Deutsche Post DHL, is the world's largest logistics group. With its headquarters in Bonn, the corporation has 467,088 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide and generated revenue of € 51.48 billion in 2010...

 rival PIN Group
PIN Group
The PIN Group is a German courier and postal services company with around 9000 employees. It belongs to PIN Group S.A., a Luxembourg-based corporate affiliation made up of several German postal companies.-History and shareholding:...

), stating that "a minimum wage that cannot be paid by competitive employers destroys jobs".

On 22 May 2008, Köhler announced his candidacy for a second term as president. On 23 May 2009 he was re-elected by the Federal Assembly
Bundesversammlung (Germany)
The Federal Convention is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convened solely for the purpose of electing the German Federal President , either every five years or within 30 days of a president's resignation, death or removal from office.The Bundesversammlung includes the entire...

, and was sworn into office for a second term on 1 July 2009.

Resignation


On 31 May 2010, Köhler announced his resignation as President of Germany. This came after German politicians criticised comments made by Köhler in relation to overseas military deployments:
After coming under criticism for his statements that Germany’s military missions abroad also served to secure trade, critics accused him of advocating the use of "gunboat diplomacy
Gunboat diplomacy
In international politics, gunboat diplomacy refers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives with the aid of conspicuous displays of military power — implying or constituting a direct threat of warfare, should terms not be agreeable to the superior force....

". He subsequently stated that his comments referred to piracy off the coast of Somalia. Köhler stated that there was no substance to accusations that in the interview he had overstepped his formal role by favoring an unconstitutional position. After getting no substantial support in the dispute, Köhler stepped down on 31 May 2010, issuing a statement saying "I declare my resignation from the Office of President, with immediate effect." The resignation was considered a "surprise", and both pundits and opposition politicians labeled it "an overreaction". The following days he was criticized for not being able to handle criticism while being a rigorous critic himself. His unprecedented act of immediate resignation was also considered showing a lack of respect for his position.

As stipulated by the German constitution, the powers of the vacant office were executed by the current President of the Bundesrat
Bundesrat of Germany
The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level...

, Jens Böhrnsen
Jens Böhrnsen
Jens Böhrnsen is a German politician of the SPD. Since 2005, he has served as the President of the Senate and Mayor of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, that is, the head of government of the city-state of Bremen...

, until Christian Wulff
Christian Wulff
Christian Wilhelm Walter Wulff is the President of Germany and a politician of the Christian Democratic Union. He was elected President on 2010 and publicly swore the oath of office on . A lawyer by profession, he served as Premier of the state of Lower Saxony from 2003 to 2010.-Early life and...

 was elected president on 30 June 2010.

Personal life


Horst Köhler is married to Eva Köhler
Eva Köhler
' is the wife of the former German President Horst Köhler and First Lady of Germany from 2004 to 2010....

, a teacher. They have two children, a daughter Ulrike (born in 1972) and a son Jochen (born in 1977). His daughter, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of genetic eye conditions that leads to incurable blindness. In the progression of symptoms for RP, night blindness generally precedes tunnel vision by years or even decades. Many people with RP do not become legally blind until their 40s or 50s and retain some...

, became blind as a teenager. Horst Köhler is a member of the Evangelical Church in Germany
Evangelical Church in Germany
The Evangelical Church in Germany is a federation of 22 Lutheran, Unified and Reformed Protestant regional church bodies in Germany. The EKD is not a church in a theological understanding because of the denominational differences. However, the member churches share full pulpit and altar...

.

External links



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