Ex-President Wulff lashes out at German media, judiciary at book release | News | DW | 10.06.2014
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Ex-President Wulff lashes out at German media, judiciary at book release

German ex-President Christian Wulff has used the release of his new book to strike back at the powers involved in his downfall. To this day, he remained the "right man" for the job, he said.

The release of German ex-President Christian Wulff's new book in Berlin on Tuesday became a stage for the former head of state to lash out at those he considers responsible for his political demise: the media and the judiciary. The book, entitled "Up at the top, down at the bottom" (Ganz oben, ganz unten), refers to his time as Germany's youngest president, which ended abruptly after less than two years because of corruption allegations.

"I portray the scandal from my own point of view," Wulff told reporters at the book release, adding that it was not meant as a reckoning.

However, in his remarks, he accused the German media and judiciary of violating the separation of powers and causing his demise.

"The manner in which they kept passing the ball back and forth - and not just in my case," threatened the separation of powers and also reflected "a danger to our democracy that needed to be taken seriously," the ex-president said.

Wulff said the improper interaction between the two entities had placed the regional court in Hanover "under the pressure of public opinion" of how it should conduct itself.

The 54-year-old former president resigned from office in 2012 in the wake of corruption allegations, made worse by a threatening voicemail he had left for the editor of the widely-circulated German tabloid "Bild." The accusations that he had accepted favors stemmed from his time as state premier of Lower Saxony.

In February of this year, the regional court in Hanover, the capital of Lower Saxony, acquitted him of the charges after finding no proof of criminal wrongdoing.

According to the prosecution, Wulff had accepted an invitation from film financier David Groenewald to the 2008 Oktoberfest, a gift worth roughly 754 euros ($1,021). They then linked a letter from him to the CEO of the Siemens company, as it had appealed for support for Groenewald's new film at the time.

Mistakes or not, still 'the right' president

It would have been "good at times to have kept a greater distance [from certain individuals]," Wulff admitted on Tuesday, referring to the flurry of other allegations which had followed when the scandal broke, ranging from free flight upgrades to stays in luxury hotels and precious gifts.

The ex-president also expressed regret at the infamous voicemail for the "Bild" editor, which severely marred his reputation.

Nevertheless, Wulff maintained his innocence, saying he had always followed the law, and even went so far as to lament his decision to leave office.

"Resigning was wrong," Wulff said. "I would still have been the right person in office."

"For me personally, today is a fresh start…beginning today, I can, so to speak, embrace and shape the future more freely than ever before."

kms/se (AFP, dpa)

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