Politician who quit in disgrace still gets pension of £166,000 a year

FORMER German president Christian Wulff will receive a pension of €199,000 (£166,000) a year for life despite resigning in disgrace after only 20 months in office.

Wulff, 52, quit on 17 February, over a political favours scandal. It was a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had handpicked him in 2010 to replace Horst Koehler, who also resigned prematurely. Wulff’s pension is about five times the average German salary and more than 16 times the average pension.

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Before becoming president, he backed cutting the generous lifelong pension for former presidents. But after quitting he stayed silent on the issue. “The Office of the Federal President has come to the conclusion that the conditions for a pension … have been fulfilled,” the president’s office said yesterday.

Former presidents who resign for political reasons are eligible for the pension. But constitutional expert Hans Herbert von Arnim insisted Wulff quit for personal reasons. The former Christian Democratic Union premier of Lower Saxony resigned after Bild newspaper revealed he had misled the state parliament over a cheap €500,000 home loan from a businessman friend.

After that there was a stream of revelations, leading the media to invent a verb, Wulffen, meaning to be evasive without lying.