The German president represents, like the chancellor, the spirit of consensus and was a fundamental piece until the formation of the last grand coalition of the chancellor.
The German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, announced this Friday his intention to run for a second term for the highest institutional position in the country, whose election will be adopted by Federal Assembly in February 2022.
“We are in troubled times, facing important elections and with the challenges derived from the pandemic,” said Steinmeier, of social democratic origin and who assumed the presidency by political consensus in 2017, after having been Foreign Minister in two terms of Chancellor Angela Merkel .
“I want to continue accompanying the country on the road towards a future after the pandemic“, he added, to thus contribute to” build bridges “and not let this crisis lead to a” social division. “
Steinmeier, recognized for his diplomatic skills, alluded in his message to both the situation created by the coronavirus and the general elections on September 26, after which Merkel will say goodbye to power.
The German president represents, like the chancellor, the spirit of consensus and was a fundamental piece until the formation of the Chancellor’s last grand coalition.
The 2017 general elections had left both Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) very weak, the party that Martin Schulz led in those elections and which was sunk to historic lows.
The situation was especially delicate, since for the first time since the 1950s the extreme right had entered the Bundestag (Federal Parliament), through the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which had become the third force on a national scale.
Schulz refused to enter another grand coalition and the chancellor tried to form a tripartite alliance with the Greens and the Liberals, but the latter refused to enter that constellation.
Steinmeier, who in 2009 had been an SPD candidate for chancellor, had to mediate with Schulz to convince him to enter the next grand coalition to achieve a government under a stable majority.
A few months after leaving the Foreign Office, he was elected president of the country by a large majority, as a consensus candidate.
He succeeded the independent, Protestant pastor and dissident in times of communist Germany Joachim Gauck.
The position of federal president is eminently representative, with the rank of a moral and nonpartisan body, which means that formally, when he assumes that position, the militancy is suspended, as Steinmeier did with that of the SPD.
His election corresponds to the Federal Assembly, which meets every five years solely for that purpose. It is made up of the deputies of the Bundestag (Federal Parliament) plus the same number of representatives from the “Länder” – federated states-, who designate the federated states including ordinary citizens or relevant figures from public life, culture or sport.