Steinmeier Re-elected As President Of Germany

The German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has been re-elected this Sunday for the position, five years after accessing the position as the consensus candidate of the conservative Angela Merkel and now ratified with the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz in the Chancellery.

Steinmeier, 66, has obtained broad support from the Federal Assembly, the mixed chamber made up of deputies from the Bundestag (lower house) and delegates from the “Länder” (federated states), whose sole function is to meet to elect the first representative office of the country.


Of social democratic origin, although he formally suspended his militancy when he became president, he personifies consensus as the way of doing politics of the leading European power. Since he entered high federal politics, he has known three chancellors: first he was the man in the shadow of the Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder (1998-2005), then a minister and also a rival of Merkel (2005-2021) and now he has seen how social democracy recovered power, through Scholz. With each of these heads of government he behaved like a loyal politician, which in the case of Merkel led to extremes difficult to imagine in other contexts.

He became president in 2017, as successor to the Protestant pastor and dissident in times of communist Germany Joachim Gauck. Already then he had the votes of Merkel’s conservative bloc and her Social Democrat partners, as well as the opposition Liberals and Greens. He had been foreign minister in Merkel’s first and third governments and was among the country’s most highly regarded politicians.

His cordial character, as well as his diplomatic skills, predestined him to the position of president of the country, a position that in Germany is identified with neutrality and to which a character of moral authority is attributed.

a long run

Born on January 5, 1956 in Detmold (centre of the country), Steinmeier joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 1975, but did not make a career in the formation until he became an adviser to Schröder, then Prime Minister of the “Land ” from Lower Saxony. From that position he went on to become Secretary of State for the Foreign Ministry and in July 1999 to head of the department, a key position, since he directs the cabinet of the head of government. From this discreet position he coordinated government policy, including intelligence services, and organized Agenda 2010, the tough plan for social reforms, which part of the SPD electorate accepted as a betrayal.

With Schröder’s defeat in 2005, he jumped to the post of foreign minister in Merkel’s grand coalition. He was the perfect head of German diplomacy for the chancellor, eager to show off a powerful but conciliatory Germany. Four years later, after prevailing over the most leftist wing of the SPD, he was appointed as a candidate for the Chancellery in the general elections. He fell to Merkel and sank his party in what, at the time, was his worst ever result in a general election. He went on to lead the opposition in the Bundestag (Federal Parliament), while Merkel recovered her theoretical natural ally, the Liberal Party (FDP), as a government partner.

In the following general elections in 2013, it was the liberal partners who were punished by the polls, while Merkel strengthened her power. The conservative chancellor returned to the grand coalition, with Steinmeier in Foreign Affairs. Despite being a social democrat, Merkel backed him to succeed the independent Gauck. Months after becoming president, Steinmeier gave a test of loyalty that put Martin Schulz, the last Social Democrat who tried to defeat Merkel at the polls, on the ropes.

Schulz had dragged the SPD to the next record low. He refused to even grope for another grand coalition with Merkel, despite being the only stable majority possible to avoid early elections. Steinmeier intervened there. After several meetings behind closed doors at the Bellevue Palace, the presidential seat, Schulz agreed to the following coalition pact, without him in the Government or at the head of the SPD. Steinmeier, the former soldier of the Social Democrat Schröder, was the best ally of the conservative Merkel.



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