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The next German presidential election will take place to elect a successor to Joachim Gauck, the current Federal President of Germany. Under normal constitutional circumstances, it must be held not later than 16 February 2017.

Background

After former President Christian Wulff had resigned the presidency on 17 February 2012, Joachim Gauck was elected President in the first ballot on 18 March 2012.[1] Upon his acceptance of the election, Gauck immediately become Federal President in accordance with § 10 of the Law governing the election of the Federal President by the Federal Convention.[2] This is independent of his being sworn-in only a few days later.

According to Article 54 of the Basic Law,[3] the term of office of the President "shall be five years." In accordance with general German law, the day of election is not taken into account for the determination of the five-year term (§ 187 of the Civil Code).[4] Thus, the term of the current President expires at the end of 18 March 2017.

Date of election

Normal circumstances

Assuming normal circumstances, i.e. assuming that there is neither a premature end to the current President's term (by way e.g. of death or resignation, see below) nor the declaration of the State of Defence, the date of election is determined again by Article 54 of the Basic Law.[3] Its paragraph (4) states that "[t]he Federal Convention shall meet not later than thirty days before the term of office of the Federal President expires [...]." Given that the term of office of the current President expires at the end of 18 March 2017, the latest possible date for an election under normal circumstances is 16 February 2017.

The Basic Law does not specify any earliest possible date for an election.

Premature end

The term of office can end prematurely. There are four possible events triggering the end of the term of office, namely

  • the death of the Federal President,
  • the resignation of the Federal President,
  • the President losing eligibility for the office, e.g. by renouncing German citizenship or by losing the right to vote due to incapacitation,
  • the President being impeached according to Article 61 of the Basic Law.[3]

In all these situations, a fresh election would be required to be held "not later than thirty days after that date", according to Article 54 (4) of the Basic Law.

State of Defence

If the President's term of office were to expire during the State of Defence, the term of office would be prolonged according to Article 115h of the Basic Law which statest that "[a] term of office of the Federal President due to expire during a state of defence [...] shall end nine months after the termination of the state of defence."[3]

Eligible persons

According to Article 54 (1) of the Basic Law, "[a]ny German who is entitled to vote in Bundestag elections and has attained the age of forty may be elected."[3]

While Article 54 (2) states that "[r]e-election for a consecutive term shall be permitted only once", this does not prevent any person, including the current President Joachim Gauck who is in his first term of office, from seeking office again as the Basic Law explicitly refers to a consecutive term.

References

  1. Stenographic protocol of the fifteenth Federal Convention to elect the Federal President. 18 March 2012
  2. Gesetz über die Wahl des Bundespräsidenten durch die Bundesversammlung. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 [www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_gg/englisch_gg.html Translation of the Basic Law]. Juris. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  4. § 187 of the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch. Juris. Retrieved 5 January 2013.


German presidential elections
Weimar Republic (1919–1933)
West Germany (1949–1990)
Reunified Germany (since 1990)
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Next German presidential election, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Next German presidential election, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): Shadowjams Search for "Next German presidential election" on Google
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