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Germany

Köhler Urges Germany to "Wake up"

Former International Monetary Fund head Horst Köhler said Germany must "wake up more" and push through deeper reforms to stay competitive. The 61-year old stepped down from his position as managing director of the IMF last week to pursue a candidacy as the country's president. He was nominated by the conservative opposition, which holds the majority in the legislative assembly that votes on incumbent President Johannes Rau's successor. Arriving in Germany on Sunday, Köhler described Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Agenda 2010 program of welfare cuts and labor reform "an important and correct signal," but added it was not enough. Köhler said he would spend the weeks before the May 23 presidential vote traveling around Germany "to listen to people and get a better idea of what's troubling him." Although known in international diplomatic circles, Köhler is relatively unknown back home.

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