Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Have you seen this guy?

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Upcoming president Horst Köhler

Just a little quiz for the international audience... His name is Horst Köhler and he's been elected to be Germany's president for the next five years (starting July) – after having been director of the international monetary fund.

Germany's president is like Britain's queen, so you're most likely to see him at nice international banquets than at power-talks. The only difference being that he has to be elected. – The whole election thing has been kind of embarrassing. The nominees are presented by the political parties and somehow the parties couldn't make up their minds to begin with and then (unsurprisingly, I'd say) didn't find anyone honourable enough for the office within their own ranks. So they refuted to nominating people who weren't strictly into politics before – Quereinsteiger as we like to say – the conservative opposition nominated Köhler and the conservative government nominated Gesine Schwan, who's running a university. She seemed OK, better probably, but as the opposition had more seats in the assembly electing the president it was quite clear that she wouldn't make it – perhaps the reason they dared to nominate a woman in the first place.

Actually the outcome was rather close, and now the opposition parties are nonetheless boasting that this is a a clear sign for change in Germany. Not that there has actually been a popular vote or anything. All they managed was to get their people to vote for their candidate. Well done then, morons.

Next step was to watch Sabine Christiansen. She used to be anchorwoman in one of the main news shows and started her own political talk show after that. While she was quite good at the news, she's rather bad at hosting a talk show. She doesn't have too much authority and can't deal with her guest too well. Perhaps that's why she'll always have top-notch guests – because they can actually tell what they want there. She'll always have guests for current affairs, including government ministers and the odd celebrity. Sometimes she'll also have international guests like Tony Bliar or so.

The same today with the topic being of course the new president – who even showed up for a brief interview. Among the other guests, probably as the 'celebrity', there was the 'prince' of Prussia, apparently he'd be king these days hadn't that crap been abolished around here long ago. Amusingly Mrs Christiansen tried to lure him into 'what if we had a king as head of state' arguments and he wasn't having any of it, taking the point that the constitution is quite clear about Germany not having a king ever again and that this has worked quite well so far. He didn't do so too eloquently, in fact he probably was the least well-spoken of the guests, emitting mainly vague woffle which in turn very much reminded me of the vacuous nonsense many of my class mates at school emitted. Considering that some of his siblings apparently went to the same school as I did, closes the circle.

Lateral: Recommended viewing – 23, a film starting and ending with the re-election of a president. It may be available in German only, though.

May 23, 2004, 23:44

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