BERLIN, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – The self-described "last rock’n’roller" of German politics, former foreign minister Joschka Fischer, quit parliament Tuesday to take a US teaching job, marking the end of an era his admirers say left Germany more self-confident and free.
The Greens party gave the street-fighting radical who turned international statesman a warm send-off as he formally left his Bundestag seat for a guest chair at Princeton University, seven months after losing his cabinet post.
"I am not coming back," he said, brushing aside suggestions he could return to fight another day for the Greens.
"The door is closed, the key has been turned and thrown away."
The German press bade front-page farewells to a "political animal", now 58, who embodied the 1960s generation’s vision of a modern, peaceful, open Germany which is now on display at the World Cup.
"Germany is pleased with itself, happy, reconciled, somewhat proud and yet has a sense of irony, while Joschka Fischer happens to be leaving the stage," his biographer Bernd Ulrich wrote in the daily Tagesspiegel.
"It is the Germany he wanted and it is the kind of football that he would have played if he had had as much talent for that as he did for politics. Joschka Fischer probably did more for the new patriotism than Juergen Klinsmann," he said, referring to the Germany national coach.