WEST GERMANY: Unpopular Vote

The making of a President

West Germany's President is largely a ceremonial figure. During his five-year term, he is preoccupied with making speeches and state visits, signing treaties, handing out pardons and greeting other heads of state. Though the next presidential election is still more than two months away, the outcome may already have been decided—against the wishes, it appears, of a large majority of West Germans.

When the conservative Christian Democrats (C.D.U.) and Christian Social Unionists (C.S.U.) named Bundestag Speaker Karl Carstens as their presidential candidate last week, the popular incumbent, Walter Scheel, announced that he would not run again, thus...

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