German opposition calls for bipartisan candidate

AP News
Posted: Feb 18, 2012 10:38 AM
German opposition calls for bipartisan candidate

Germany's main opposition parties say they will support a bipartisan candidate to succeed the country's president a day after the head of state resigned over allegedly received favors.

The Social Democrats' leader Sigmar Gabriel said Saturday the president's office was "heavily damaged" by the scandal surrounding conservative politician Christian Wulff.

The Social Democrats and the Greens' leaders say they accept Chancellor Angela Merkel's offer to find a bipartisan candidate to replace Wulff but stress that person cannot be a Cabinet member or an active party politician.

Merkel's center-right coalition, which is prone to infighting, only has a wafer-thin majority in the special parliamentary assembly that must elect a new president within 30 days.

Germany's head of state holds a largely ceremonial role.