German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman denied media reports Saturday that said she was discussing with coalition partners potential replacements for the country's scandal-hit president.
The move came as new allegations emerged that President Christian Wulff had threatened publishers with war if they ran a story on a favourable home loan he received from the wife of a millionaire friend.
The scandal could damage Merkel, who nominated Wulff for the presidency in 2010, at a sensitive point in her efforts to resolve Europe's debt crisis, the next chapter of which opens on Monday when French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives in Berlin.
She sees no reason to discuss a successor to the President, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, in response to the newspaper's claim that she had talked about a replacement with Vice-Chancellor Philipp Roesler.
News reports focusing on talk of a successor, which dominated news coverage Saturday, increase pressure on Wulff, who last week went on television to try to defuse the scandal.
Der Spiegel magazine also reported Saturday that Wulff threatened publishers with a drawn-out conflict and legal action before they published the loan story last December.
Wulff had asserted on TV that he regretted phone messages he had left, but that he was only trying to protect his family and was asking for a delay in the story's publication.
(Reporting by Brian Rohan; editing by Andrew Roche)