The Huffington Post - President Horst Koehler stunned Germans by resigning Monday after being criticized for appearing to link military deployments abroad with the country's economic interests – creating a new headache for Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The resignation, effective immediately, came a year into Koehler's second term as the largely ceremonial head of state. Merkel's center-right alliance installed the former International Monetary Fund boss as president in 2004, and his departure is a symbolic blow.
The speaker of parliament's upper house – Bremen Mayor Jens Boehrnsen, a member of the opposition Social Democrats – temporarily takes over presidential duties, largely signing legislation into law.
"I was surprised by his phone call and I tried to talk him around, but unfortunately I didn't succeed," Merkel said. "I think people in Germany will be very sad about this resignation." Read more.