Steinmeier is ready for a second term | free press

Berlin (AP) – Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set for a second term. The 65-year-old head of state announced this on Friday in Berlin.

“I want to run for a second term as Federal President,” Steinmeier said. He wants to guide the country towards the future, a future after the pandemic. He wants the pandemic not to leave society divided and build bridges. “These are turbulent times,” says Steinmeier. Germany faces important elections and political upheavals.

Steinmeier’s term ends in 2022. The Federal Assembly elected him the 12th federal president on February 12, 2017, with an approval rating of about 75 percent. Opposition candidates from the Left Party, AfD, Free Voters and Pirates didn’t stand a chance. The then SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel had proposed and implemented it in the grand coalition. Steinmeier, then foreign minister, succeeded Joachim Gauck, who renounced a second term in office. On March 22, 2017, Steinmeier took his oath of office in a joint meeting of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat.

A defining theme of his tenure was the defense and strengthening of parliamentary democracy in Germany and many other countries, which came under increasing pressure. In Germany, there is “no reason to panic,” Steinmeier said in his speech after the swearing-in ceremony. “But in view of what opens up on the horizon, I say with great earnestness: we don’t just have to talk about democracy – we have to learn to fight for it again.”

Steinmeier also regularly sought to strengthen democratic forces during his numerous trips abroad. For example, on his way back from his last long trip to Kenya in February last year, he visited Sudan to show demonstrative support for his new prime minister, Abdullah Hamdok.

The second half of Steinmeier’s tenure was strongly dominated by the corona pandemic. He addressed the population several times in video messages – a new format for the German head of state – and asked for support in the fight against the pandemic. In April, Steinmeier organized a memorial campaign for those who died during the corona pandemic. “We see the wounds left by the pandemic. We commemorate the deceased. And we sympathize with the living who mourn them,” he said at the time.

Relations with Israel were of particular importance to Steinmeier. He is good friends with the president, Reuven Rivlin. In January last year, Steinmeier became the first federal president to speak at his invitation at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Steinmeier at the time acknowledged Germany’s responsibility for the Holocaust and said he wished the Germans had learned from history forever. In view of incidents such as the attack on the synagogue in Halle, this is not possible. Time, words and perpetrators are no longer the same today as they were then. “But it’s the same evil.”

Steinmeier also strongly condemned the most recent anti-Jewish riots in Germany. “We do not tolerate anti-Semitism – no matter who – in our country,” he stressed.

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