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Germany

Military Ceremony Marks President Rau's Exit

Ceremonies marking the end of Johannes Rau's five-year term as German president get underway in Berlin on Tuesday evening with a traditional military tattoo. Around 100 guests have been invited to attend the festive ceremony at Schloss Bellevue, the German president's official residence. Rau's presidency ends on Wednesday. On July 1, his successor, Horst Köhler, will be sworn in during a special joint session of the upper and lower houses of parliament. For Rau, the handover will mark the end of a political career that has spanned 50 years. One of his last acts as German president will be to present federal ministers Wolfgang Clement, Otto Schily, and Peter Struck with the Order of Merit for their services to the nation.