Berlin: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Friday that he has planned to stand for a second term for the largely ceremonial post.
A former foreign minister and senior adviser to former Social Democrat (SPD) Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the 65-year-old Steinmeier has occupied the President’s office since 2017, reports DPA news agency.
A trained lawyer, Steinmeier’s term is due to expire in 2022, which is after the next election in September when a new national parliament will to be voted in.
Steinmeier also headed up the SPD’s election campaign in 2009 as the party’s chancellor candidate, losing to the conservative Christian Democrats headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Announcing his plans, Steinmeier said he hoped to accompany the country into its post-pandemic future.
He said he wanted to ensure the pandemic does not leave German society divided and to try to build bridges between different groups.
“These are turbulent times,” Steinmeier said, adding that Germany is facing important elections and the risk of political upheaval.
The German President is elected by a special forum of voters comprising members of the government and parliament, as well as leading public figures.
A key feature of Steinmeier’s term has been his call for a strengthening of parliamentary democracy, both in Germany and around the world.
He has also led condemnation of any acts of anti-Semitism.