Germany's President Christian Wulff will not resign following a home loan scandal and still insists that he did nothing illegal.
Wullf has come under fire in recent weeks over a $600,000 home loan given to him by the wife of powerful businessman in 2008.
Despite calls for him to quit from some of Germany's major newspapers, the president said in an interview on Wednesday that he would not step down, adding that I would not like to be president of a country in which you can no longer borrow money from a friend.
However, Wulff did apologize for harassing Bild, Germany's most read newspaper. Last week it was revealed that when Wulff discovered that the paper was going to run a damaging article on the loan situation, he called editor Kai Diekmann and threatened to go to war if the story wasn't pulled.
The call to the chief editor of Bild was a grave mistake, for which I am sorry and for which I apologize, Wulff said.
This has been a learning process, Wulff said. I went from being a state premier to president very quickly, without time to adjust or prepare. It all went very fast, moving from Hanover to Berlin.
The scandal has embarrassed German Chanlleor Angela Merkel, who nominated Wulff for president last year and has stood firmly behind the embattled politician while busily trying to guide the Euro zone safely toward economic stability.
“The president is Merkel’s creation and if he’s forced to leave in such an ignominious way it would weaken her,” Jan Techau, director of the Brussels-based European center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Bloomberg.
“Merkel was able to push through Wulff’s election without taking much account of opposing voices. If she has to pick a new president it will become a real test of her power.”
Wulff has apologized for not disclosing the loan before becoming president, but has not wavered in his conviction that the scandal has been blown out of proportion.
I know that I haven't done anything legally wrong -- but not everything that I have done has been right, he admitted.
I had great support in the past weeks from many citizens, my friends and employees. I like fulfilling my duties [as president] and have taken the job for five years and want to show at the end of the five years that I was a good, successful president, he told journalists in the televised interview.