Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been re-elected for a second term as the President of Germany. The Federal Assembly confirmed the 66-year-old Social Democrat in Berlin on Sunday with a large majority. He will thus remain Germany’s head of state for another five years.
After his re-election, Steinmeier gave a combative speech in which he emphasised the strength of democracy, condemned hatred and violence in the dispute over how to deal with the Corona pandemic, and appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to keep the peace in Europe.
“We are in the midst of danger of a military conflict, a war in Eastern Europe,” Steinmeier told the Federal Assembly. Russia bears responsibility for this, he said.
“Do not underestimate the strength of democracy! Democracy in Germany is strong because it does not buy its power with oppression, threats to the outside world and fear at home, and because it has more to offer than ideas of national greatness and domination over others,” he said, directly addressing the Russian leader.
As President, he is non-partisan but not neutral when it comes to the cause of democracy, Steinmeier said. “Whoever attacks it will have me as an opponent,” he added, promising to help heal the wounds that the pandemic had inflicted on society.
Steinmeier already received the required absolute majority of votes in the first ballot – 1,045 electors out of the 1,400 delegates voted for his re-election. He is the twelfth President in the history of the Federal Republic and the fifth to stand for re-election after the first five-year term. The social physician Gerhard Trabert, nominated by the Left Party, received only 96 votes.