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Federal Convention elects the Federal President

Congratulations to the Federal President-elect Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the 16th Federal Convention following his election as Federal President Berlin, 12 February 2017 Congratulations to the Federal President-elect Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the 16th Federal Convention following his election as Federal President © Steffen Kugler

On 12 February 2017, the 16th Federal Convention elected Frank-Walter Steinmeier to become the 12th President of the Federal Republic of Germany. Frank-Walter Steinmeier received 931 of the 1253 votes cast during the first round and accepted his election.

The term of office of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier began on 19 March, when the tenure of his predecessor, former Federal President Joachim Gauck, had ended. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier took his oath of office before the assembled Members of the German Bundestag and the Bundesrat on 22 March.

More information on the election of the Federal President

The Federal President is elected by the Federal Convention without debate. The Federal Convention is convened by the President of the German Bundestag and meets not later than thirty days before the term of office of the current Federal President expires. The President of the Bundestag is responsible for all preparatory, implementation and follow-up measures related to the Convention. The Federal Convention consists of the Members of the Bundestag and an equal number of members elected by the parliaments of the Länder. More detailed information on the Convention is available here from the German Bundestag website.

Electing the Federal President is the sole task of the Federal Convention. The details of the election are governed by the Presidential Election Act, which is based on Article 54 (7) of the Basic Law. With a 2014 ruling, the Federal Constitutional Court further specified the tasks and powers of the Federal Convention (Federal Constitutional Court ruling of 10 June 2014, 2 BvE 2/09, 2 BvE 2/10).

The Federal President must be a German national, be entitled to vote in Bundestag elections and have attained the age of forty. The term of office is five years. Re-election for a consecutive term is permitted only once (Article 54 of the Basic Law).

The Federal President may not be a member of the government or of a legislative body of the Federation or of a Land (Article 55 (1) of the Basic Law). Nor may the Federal President hold any other salaried office, or engage in any trade or profession, or belong to the management or supervisory board of any enterprise conducted for profit (Article 55 (2) of the Basic Law).

On assuming office, the Federal President takes an oath before the assembled Members of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat (Article 56 of the Basic Law).