In a surprise move, German President Horst Koehler resigned today after being criticized for reportedly linking military deployments abroad with the country's economic interests. The resignation, effective immediately, came only a year into Koehler's second term as the largely ceremonial head of state, and creates a new headache for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who installed the former International Monetary Fund boss as president in 2004.
The current president of parliament's upper house, Bremen Mayor Jens Boehrnsen, a member of the opposition Social Democrats, will take over presidential duties temporarily, largely signing legislation into law. A new president must be elected within 30 days. German politicians now will have to figure out quickly who should replace Koehler even as they are preoccupied with trying to make budget cuts amid the eurozone debt crisis.