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Former German Chancellor Kohl in intensive care

File photo of former German chancellor Helmut Kohl

By Madeline Chambers

Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the architect of German reunification, is in intensive care at a clinic in Heidelberg after surgery on his intestine, a magazine reported on Tuesday.

Citing sources close to Kohl, Bunte magazine reported that the 85-year old conservative had a hip replacement in early May and had aimed to go to a Bavarian rehabilitation centre in early June but that this was now in doubt.

No one was immediately available to comment at Kohl’s office and the clinic in the western city of Heidelberg declined to comment.

Germany’s longest serving post-war chancellor from 1982-1998, Kohl was one of Europe’s towering leaders in the second half of the 20th century but he has been physically frail for years and is usually seen in a wheelchair.

At home he is celebrated as the father of German reunification. He also pushed through the introduction of the euro currency together with his close ally French President Francois Mitterand.

In recent years, Kohl has espoused the benefits of closer European integration and voiced doubts about the way his former protege, Angela Merkel, has dealt with the euro zone debt crisis.

His reputation was marred by a financing scandal in his party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which came to light after he left office.


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