Merkel `Surprised' by Koehler's Decision, Says She Urged Him Not to Quit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she was “surprised” by President Horst Koehler’s decision to quit. She tried to persuade him to stay on, to no avail and respects his decision, she told reporters in Berlin today.

Koehler served Germany well in his 5 years in office and it is with “deep regret” that she notes his decision, Merkel said. “We won’t easily forget him.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at

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