June 9

German president decides on political role

Australian republicans are still searching for their third republican model.
What the republican establishment is still looking for-after a decade of searching- is a model as good as the present Constitution-they have not been able to find it. Probably because it doesn’t exist. Nevertheles , we sometimes hear references to the German model.

( Remember Mr Keating wanted to change the name of the Commonwealth of Australia to the Federal Republic of Australia)

The President there is elected by a college consisting of federal and state politicians. He has little executive power-the Germans remember the way President Hindenberg appointed Hitler Chancellor in 1933.  As The London Daily  Telegraph says ,the presidency is as close Germany gets to royalty since abolishing the monarchy.

The recent election was contested , with Horst Koehler, a former head of the IMF defeating the government’s preferred candidate, Gesine Schroeder who, if she had won, would have been Germany’s first female president.

The extraordinary point about the result was the new President’s declaration that he would push loudly for bolder economic reforms. In other words, he would descend into the political arena!

And apparently, nobody can stop him.

 That is not how the Westminster system is supposed to work. Imagine the scene-the Treasurer announces the budget, the Leader of the Opposition responds-and then the President, who is supposed to be above politics like The Queen or the Governor-General, announces what he would do!

 Australia’s republicans had better forget about the German model-Australians don’t want another politician .


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