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"In most countries (I'm open to counter-examples) a president is expected to be above the fray of party politics. "

In most countries a president is picked put of a number of party politicians with a long political career. It is true that the politician is then supposed to be able to rise about party politics.

"If picking a sitting minister is a serious possibility, then it's clearly not a consideration in Germany."

Mostly partisan alingment and fitness to act as above parties are both taken into consideration. Scheel did go directly from minister to president, Weizsäcker from state prime minister to president. Others like Rau had some time without office, but that is not considered as necessary.

 "And I have no idea why the SPD or Grünen would contribute to electing a CDU partisan."

Because they have no majority of their own in the assembly electing the president.

by IM on Fri Feb 17th, 2012 at 10:48:36 AM EST
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