In this case, second time’s a charm. German pastor and dissident Joachim Gauck was elected president Sunday, in a move that Angela Merkel hopes will hold her government together. Gauck, 72, who is in favor of civil rights, won by a majority in a vote of lawmakers and representatives. Merkel previously blocked Gauck’s ascension because of pressure from conservatives in her party, though her previous choice, Christian Wulff, resigned after charges of corruption. Gauck was a dissident against the communist rulers of East Germany early on and then became a pastor. As an enemy of the communist state in 1983, he was the target of an operation with the sole purpose of making him have a breakdown.
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