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German president resigns amid corruption probe

(LOS ANGELES TIMES) —  In a major embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel, German President Christian Wulff resigned Friday after weeks of a brewing scandal over favors he allegedly received as an elected official before becoming the country’s head of state.

Wulff, 52, acknowledged in a terse statement in Berlin that the controversy surrounding him had sapped public faith in his ability to serve as president and as a uniting force in Germany.

“The republic needs a president who can dedicate himself unhindered to these and other national challenges and enormous international challenges, a president who is supported by the confidence of not only a majority but a wide majority of citizens,” Wulff told reporters. “The last few weeks have shown that this trust and therefore my ability to be effective have suffered sustained damage.”

He added that he was certain of exoneration by any investigation into allegations of official misconduct during his tenure as leader of the state of Lower Saxony. Wulff presided over the state from 2003 until 2010, when the German parliament voted him in as the country’s president.