Monday 19 March 2012

East Germans dominate the top of German political system

So there you have it: two former East Germans now occupy the two highest posts the re-united Germany has to offer. Former East German pastor Joachim Gauck was elected President on Sunday with an overwhelming majority of votes of the Federal Assembly.

Although the former East Communists opposed his candidacy and put up a late opposing candidate (a West German whose claim to fame consisted in having once slapped a leading politician in the face at a public meeting), Gauck was elected with support from all other political parties.

The office of the president brings mainly ceremonial duties so speculations whether Gauck will be a critical voice to the current centre-right government are, I think, overplayed. Yet, Germans clearly wanted not just a safe pair of hands in the Castle Bellevue, the residence of the German President, but also somebody who had views and was not shy to articulate them.

If anything, this should close the chapter on the unfortunate string of candidates for this highest German office, with two presidents in a row resigning before their tenure ran out.

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