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Merkel speaks up for embattled German president


10:05, December 20, 2011

BERLIN, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the beleaguered President Christian Wulff on Monday, as the head of state is struggling with a deepening loan scandal.

"The president is doing a great job and the things that have been brought up are being explained by him personally," said Merkel during her visit in Kosovo. "He has my full support."

Criticism intensified over the weekend as Wulff admitted to having failed to disclose a half-million-euro (650,000 U.S. dollars) private home loan on favorable terms he received while serving as the state premier of the northern German state of Lower Saxony between 2003 and 2010.

The president said he should have acknowledged the home loan sooner despite having nothing to hide because the matter was private, saying he regrets that his handling of the issue may have created the "wrong impression."

Wulff has served as president for 18 months after his predecessor Horst Koehler resigned over heavy criticism about undiplomatic comments he made on Germany's military role in the world.

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