Steinmeier re-elected President of Germany for five more years

The German Federal Assembly has re-elected the current president of the country, Frank-Walter Steinmeierfor a new period of five years as Head of State, a representative position for which he had the support of the main political parties in the country.

Steinmeier, of Social Democratic origin, has been elected by 1,045 votes out of 1,425 valid votes castaccording to the scrutiny read by Bärbel Bas, the president of the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament.

1,472 people could vote: the 736 deputies of the Bundestag plus the same number of representatives proposed by the legislative assemblies of the ‘Länder’, among whom, in addition to politicians, there were representatives from various spheres of German society. In the end they were counted 1,437 votes, 86 abstentions and 12 invalid votes.

For this reason, in the vote to appoint the German president, not only deputies and regional politicians could be seen, but athletes, scientists and even a ‘drag queen’, on a sunny and cold day in Berlin that joined the solemnity of an official act the festive contribution made on social networks by many of those who cast their vote.

A choice without surprises

The re-election of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs was taken for granted after the consensus that his candidacy received by the parties that make up the coalition that governs Germany and is chaired by the also social democrat Olaf Scholz.

At 66, Steinmeier is the fifth German president to renew in office; before him did it in 2009 Horst Köhler, who nevertheless resigned a year later.

Steinmeier was foreign minister between 2005 and 2009 and between 2013 and 2017; Besides, he was the Social Democratic candidate for chancellorship in the 2009 federal electionin which he was defeated by Angela Merkel

The Liberal Party (FDP), the Greens and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) already had a sufficient majority to re-elect Steinmeier, who decided to repeat in office, as he said when he announced his candidacy, to “continue accompanying the country in the path to a future after the pandemic”.

Confirming that he was willing to continue in office, Steinmeier stated that his intention was to contribute to “building bridges” from the presidency and not letting the crisis caused by the pandemic lead to a “social division” of the country.

Unrivaled candidate and a challenge from the extreme right to the CDU

In front of Steinmeier three candidates presented themselves without possibilities to prosper: Gerhard Trabert, proposed by La Izquierda; Max Otte, supported by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Stefanie Gebauerpresented by the right-wing group Freie Wähler (Free Voters).

Otte’s candidacy – which received 140 votes – was the only one that really deserved media attention among Steinmeier’s rivals since his proposal by the AfD was a challenge launched to the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The economist Otte belonged to the right-wing “Values ​​Union” of the conservatives, who have already started the procedure for his expulsion from the party, and the support received from the AfD was considered a challenge to the formation of former Chancellor Angela Merkel for not having appointed own candidate for the Presidency of the country.

Voting of politicians and representatives of German society

The ceremony took place at the headquarters of the German Parliament which, due to the pandemic, could not hold the vote in the hemicycle where the deputies of the Bundestag meet, since the minimum social distance could not have been respected among the 1,472 delegate members of the Assembly.

That is why those designated for the voting ceremony had to be distributed between that place and other adjoining dependencies which house offices and parliamentary offices, from which many of the delegates followed the act on screens.

This year there were politicians among those appointed by the ‘Länder’, such as the former chancellor Angela Merkel -by the regional parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania- or former ministers such as Edmund Stoiber and Horst Seehofer.

As on previous occasions, the color for the vote was put by other many representatives of the citizensamong which were the virologist of reference during the pandemic Christian Drosten, the co-founder of the BioNTech biotech Özlem Türeci or the Nobel Prize for Chemistry Benjamin List.

Astronaut Alexander Gerst, national football team coach Hansi Flick, Bayern player Leon Goretzka, pianist Igor Levit and actresses Renan Demirkan and Sibel Kekilli were also able to vote at the ceremony.

The Left also saw Berlin drag queen Gloria Viagra vote, who made it clear before the ceremony that she would not support Steinmeier but Trabert, known as the “doctor of the homeless,” because with him, she believed, “a new light” would be thrown on the country’s social situation.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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