German president Horst Koehler resigns

Germany's president Horst Koehler is stepping down, following criticism of recent comments he made about the country's mission in Afghanistan.

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Germany's president Horst Koehler is stepping down, following criticism of recent comments he made about the country's mission in Afghanistan. "I am resigning my post as federal president," Mr Koehler, 67, whose post is largely ceremonial, said in Berlin. Mr Koehler came under fire for saying that an export-reliant country such as Germany, occasionally needed to defend its economic interests by preventing regional instabilities like that in Afghanistan. Such regional instabilities "certainly have a negative impact on us through trade, jobs and income," Mr Koehler told German radio on May 22. A former managing director of the International Monetary Fund,Mr Koehler was elected to the post of president in 2004 and re-elected in 2009. Polls show that a majority of Germans are opposed to the mission in Afghanistan. *AFP