Why Angela's ills could make us sick
German presidential elections are usually about as interesting or important as their Irish equivalents, but Wednesday's one will be different; it has the potential to topple Chancellor Angela Merkel's government -- an event with repercussions that would have long-term effects on European, German and Irish politics.
The election was triggered by an obscure spat that has more than a passing resemblance to the one that led to the resignation here of President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh in 1976 but has created an enormous problem for Merkel's floundering government. She has put forward a solid but bland candidate called Christian Wulff.
Wulff would have been a shoo-in if the Social Democrats and Greens hadn't nominated a rival who many of Merkel's followers believe would make a far better president. That man is Joachim Gauck, a 70-year-old Protestant pastor from eastern Germany who opposed the communist regime and has previously been showered with praise by Merkel.