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A pair of German politicians are in trouble for breaking constitutional protocol after leaking news of the German president's re-election through Twitter ahead of the official publication of the results.

News that Horst Köhler had been re-elected as German president for a second five-year term appeared on the microblogging website 15 minutes before the results of Saturday's election were officially announced, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Julia Klöckner, a junior politician in chancellor Angela Merkel's centre right CDU party, posted a premature tweet that said: "People, you can watch the football in peace. The vote was a success." Ulrich Kelber, of the opposition centre left SPD, gave even more away by disclosing the actually voting tally: "The count is confirmed: 613 votes. Köhler is elected."

The German parliament (Bundestag) is due to investigate the leaks - already dubbed "Twitter Affäre", or Twittergate - later this week.

The German president's role is a largely ceremonial one, with real power resting with the Bundestag and the chancellor. The president is elected by the Bundestag and representatives of the states that make up the federal republic of Germany. ®

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