Editorial; Sad Tribute to Helmut Kohl

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), January 23, 2000 | Go to article overview

Editorial; Sad Tribute to Helmut Kohl


The stunning political developments in Germany, one of the world's seven largest economies, deserve a close follow-up. What will further unfold and transpire as a result of the political crisis will have no small international significance. German ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl has stepped down as the honorary chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party he has tightly controlled over 25 years out of his 50-year long membership. Kohl's alleged involvement in the CDU's financial scandals was the cause that led to his resignation.

This, it appears, will hardly defuse the political crisis. Subsequent to his resignation, fresh revelations about the party's slush funds as well as the suicide of the party's senior accountant continue to overshadow Kohl's political future and his party in particular. The Bundestag's initiation Thursday of its ad-hoc investigations into the party's scandal will make it certain that a flurry of political storms is yet to come for the ex-chancellor who led the German Federal Republic and reunited Germany for some 16 years until Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder won the 1998 election.

The CDU scandal and Kohl's fall represent a personal tragedy for the ex-chancellor and a great disappointment not only for his fellow Germans but also for his countless admirers, the world over. Kohl deserves being Europe's most respected statesman for the great accomplishment of German reunification. Neither socialist Chancellor and Nobel laureate Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik can rival Kohl's attainment of reunification nor does Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's economic miracle of the Rhine river and leadership during the founding years of the first German republic.

Kohl's strength of international leadership and personal influence was largely instrumental to the winning of the big powers' support for his reunification efforts. …

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