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Merkel, a nun and a missing candidate: how Steinmeier was re-elected president of Germany

66-year-old Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been re-elected Federal President of Germany. The procedure for voting in the Federal Assembly, which meets specifically every five years for the election of the head of state, was broadcast live. It started on Sunday, February 13 at noon local time.

As expected, one round was enough for Steinmeier to win. According to Spiegel online, he received 1,045 out of 1,425 valid votes. At the same time, 12 votes cast were declared invalid, and 86 delegates abstained. The politician came along with his wife and like-minded Elke Büdenbender. The couple have been together for many years, and in 2010 the Social Democrat even left politics for a while to become a kidney donor for his wife. As soon as the results were announced, the re-elected president embraced his soulmate.

His solemn speech on democracy was greeted by the delegates with applause and a standing ovation. Formal, at first glance, the event turned out to be not boring and even brought surprises. Perhaps the main one was the appearance on the political scene of Angela Merkel - the first after leaving the post of chancellor. In addition, one of the presidential candidates F before the vote ... got lost.

The pandemic forced a departure from tradition: this time, the 1,472 electors gathered not in the plenary hall of Parliament, where it would be impossible to ensure social distancing, but in an auxiliary administrative building next door. The delegates dispersed over several tiers of the modern high-tech Paule Löbe House. Their chairs, Spiegel online found out, were firmly bolted to the floor. However, this did not prevent everyone from communicating closely on the sidelines, where real political pandemonium reigned.

The 17th Federal Assembly was opened by Bundestag President Berbel Bas. She gave a long speech about the challenges facing the country. There were also informal moments in it - Mrs. Bas wished happy birthdays to three electors at once, who had to work on a holiday.

Of course, all attention was focused on the ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was delegated to the ranks of the electors by the Christian Democrats of the land of Mecklenburg - Vorpommern. Frau Merkel in a dark blue trouser suit and a dark mask really sat in the hall, and the audience greeted her with applause that did not subside for a long time. Merkel was clearly back in her element, and everyone strove to exchange at least a couple of words with her while the vote was going on. She also spoke with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with her failed successor Armin Laschet and with other politicians. The pictures, in which recently the most powerful woman in Germany seems to be once again giving instructions to men, have gone viral on social networks and have become a new meme.

Among the electors who flooded the halls of the House of Loebe were not only current politicians with deputy mandates (the same Chancellor Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock), but many veterans of the political scene, as well as other celebrities - by law, parties have the right to delegate any of their supporters. The list includes more than two dozen former prime ministers, influential virologist Christian Drosten, Biontech founder Özlem Turechi, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Benjamin List, astronaut Alexander Gerst, head coach of the German football team Hans-Dieter Flick, as well as musicians, writers , pop singers. A woman in monastic garb, a transvestite with crimson hair and an outrageous rapper with Turkish roots got into the camera lenses - she appeared in the image of a bride with a veil and in white boots under a snow-white mini.

Perhaps the outcome of the vote was the least intriguing. The current president and former German foreign minister, Steinmeier, announced on May 28 last year that he was ready to be re-elected. By law, this post can be held for no more than two terms. On the same day, his native Social Democratic Party expressed support for him (the politician’s membership in it was suspended for the duration of the presidency), by December the liberals pulled themselves up, and in January of this year the Greens and the CDU / CSU bloc also decided, promising their votes to Steinmeier. Until the last moment, he had no rivals, but then unexpected candidates arrived (however, the experts did not give them any chances). As she wrote, on January 11, 2022, the "Left" proposed the candidacy of a non-partisan general practitioner and emergency physician from Mainz, Dr. Gerhard Trabert, who dreams of settling the homeless in the Bellevue Palace, on January 25, "Alternative for Germany" nominated the economist and publicist Professor Dr. Max Otte for president ( the decision caused a scandal, since the eccentric politician has actually been a member of the CDU for 30 years), and on February 3, 41-year-old astrophysicist Dr. Stefanie Gebauer decided to run from the Free Voters. Until now, women have not become presidents of F.It is noteworthy that one of the candidates - Mr. Otto - suddenly disappeared. He was seen before the start of the meeting, but when the president of the Bundestag announced the names of the contenders for the presidency, the politician's chair turned out to be empty. Journalists suggested that he might not want to take a mandatory rapid test for coronavirus, but this is not certain. By the way, in order to test all participants in the Federal Assembly (delegates and staff), a first-aid post was set up in front of the Reichstag building. On the eve of Saturday, February 12, 2150 people passed through it, 12 found coronavirus.

Voting took place secretly, by name and for a very long time. The names of the members of the Federal Assembly who filed ballots were read out in an endless stream in alphabetical order. Then the votes were counted for about an hour. It was strictly forbidden to voice your choice aloud in advance - as well as photograph ballots behind curtains, enter extraneous names in them, leave some other inscriptions and, of course, tick off several candidates at once. If none of them won an absolute majority (that is, more than half of the votes) in the first or second rounds, then a third would be needed. In this case, a relative majority would be enough to win.

As a result, Professor Otto, nicknamed "the harbinger of collapse" for his gloomy forecasts in economic articles, received 140 votes, the doctor Trabert - 96, the astrophysicist Gebauer - 58.

Immediately after the announcement of the voting results, the orchestra played the German anthem (the President of the Bundestag asked those present not to sing along), and Frank-Walter Steinmeier began to accept congratulations and bouquets of flowers. Recall that the text of the oath of the president and other top officials is spelled out in the German Constitution: "I swear that I will devote my strength to the good of the German people, increase their well-being, prevent damage, observe and protect the Basic Law and federal laws, conscientiously fulfill my duties and exercise justice to all. God help me." An oath can be taken without a "religious formula", but back in 2017, Frank-Walter Steinmeier did not refuse to mention God when taking office. But another Social Democrat - Chancellor Olaf Scholz - left only the secular part during the oath.

Merkel, a nun and a missing candidate: how Steinmeier was re-elected president of Germany