World

Germany’s President Steinmeier reelected for second five-year term

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected to a second five-year term Sunday by a special assembly of lawmakers and state-nominated delegates.

As president, Steinmeier has encouraged historical reconciliation and dialogue aimed at resolving political polarization, including through hosting opponents with opposing views to try to overcome the divisions in society resulting from the pandemic.  

Steinmeier previously served two stints as foreign minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel and prior to that was chief of staff to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. He unsuccessfully challenged Merkel for the chancellorship in 2009, prompting his party’s worst result since World War II at the time.

The position of president in Germany is largely symbolic, but it remains the country’s highest authority.

When coalition talks collapsed after the 2017 federal election, Steinmeier stepped in and convinced politicians to form a new government rather than head to a fresh vote. 

This year’s assembly casting votes included former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and BioNTech co-founder Özlem Türeci.

The German president used his acceptance speech to condemn Moscow for its military brinkmanship near Ukraine. “We are in the midst of the danger of a military conflict, a war in Eastern Europe — Russia bears the responsibility for this,” Steinmeier said, according to the Associated Press.

“Russia’s troop buildup cannot be misunderstood; it is a threat to Ukraine and it is supposed to be one. But the people there have a right to live without fear and threat, to self-determination and sovereignty,” he added. “No country in the world has the right to destroy that, and whoever tries to do so, we will answer you decisively.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: FRANCE24.COM

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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