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POLITICS

Köhler eyes second term as president

Federal President Horst Köhler will run for a second term, according to reports in the Saturday edition of Bild. He already has a broad base of support from the parties, and the approval of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Köhler eyes second term as president
Photo: DPA

In his regular meetings with party leaders in recent weeks, Köhler has been assured of widespread support for his candidacy, Bild reported on Saturday, citing government and party insiders.

Köhler himself said that he would only seek a second term if he had support from across the political spectrum. Merkel, who heads the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and Guido Westerwelle, head of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) already gave Köhler the nod before Easter.

Even the Social Democrats, who supported their own candidate, Gesine Schwan, in the 2004 presidential election, have recently signalled their willingness to keep Köhler in office.

If he is indeed confirmed in office in May 2009, the majority of Germans should be pleased. According to polls, around 75 percent of Germans would welcome the prospect of another five years of Köhler as their largely symbolic head of state.

Köhler has not yet officially confirmed his candidacy – the former head of the International Monetary Fund said he would only do so about a year in advance of the election date of May 23, 2009.

POLITICS

Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

Germany will reinstate its so-called debt brake in 2023 after suspending it for three years to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, sources in the finance ministry said Wednesday.

Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The government will borrow 17.2 billion euros ($18.1 million) next year, adhering to the rule enshrined in the constitution that normally limits

Germany’s public deficit to 0.35 percent of overall annual economic output, despite new spending as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the sources said.

The new borrowing set out in a draft budget to be presented to the cabinet on Friday is almost 10 billion euros higher than a previous figure for 2023 announced in April.

However, “despite a considerable increase in costs, the debt brake will be respected,” one of the sources said.

Although Germany is traditionally a frugal nation, the government broke its own debt rules at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and unleashed vast financial aid to steer the economy through the crisis.

READ ALSO: Debt-averse Germany to take on new borrowings to soften pandemic blow

The government has this year unveiled a multi-billion-euro support package to help companies in Europe’s biggest economy weather the fallout from the Ukraine war and sanctions against Russia.

Berlin has also spent billions to diversify its energy supply to reduce its dependence on Russia, as well as investing heavily in plans to tackle climate change and push digital technology.

But despite the additional spending, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has maintained the aim to reinstate the debt brake in 2023.

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