The search for a presidential candidate to represent Germany's opposition parties has come under heavy criticism from the well-respected former German President Richard von Weizsäcker (1984-1994). "The nomination process was humiliating to the people involved and politically deluding," the elder statesman said in an interview with the newsmagazine Focus. "They promised a masterpiece, but instead what appeared on stage was a master mistake revealing the weakest point in our democracy -- trust in political leaders." While attacking the Christian Democrats, the Christian Social Union and the Liberals for the breech of trust, Weizsäcker defended the candidate himself. "Horst Köhler had nothing to do with the chaos of the nomination process, and should not have to suffer as a result," insisted the former president under Helmut Kohl. Weizsäcker, however, has made no secret of his preference for another candidate, Wolfgang Schäuble, deputy parliamentary fraction leader for the Christian Democrats, who was eliminated from the nomination rounds after the Liberals expressed objection.