Merkel's candidate elected German president
Chancellor Angela Merkel's candidate was elected German president Wednesday in a lacklustre victory that took an embarrassing three rounds of voting and dashed hopes of a strong show of support from her governing coalition.
Christian Wulff, a 51-year-old deputy leader of Merkel's conservative party, won 625 votes in a special parliamentary assembly compared to 494 for opposition candidate Joachim Gauck; 121 delegates abstained mostly from the Left Party, which had withdrawn its own candidate in the final round.
Wulff, a former state governor, led in every round of the secret ballot but was unable to garner the absolute majority needed in the first two rounds as members of Merkel's own coalition broke ranks to support his opponent.
He needed only a simple majority to win the third round, though the coalition came together to give Wulff an absolute majority and spared Merkel the ignominy of not being able to get her choice confirmed. Nineteen members of the coalition did not vote for Wulff.