Theodor Heuss, Heinrich Lübke, Gustav Heinemann, Walter Scheel, Karl Carstens, Richard von Weizsäcker, Johannes Rau, Roman Herzog, Horst Köhler, Christian Wulff, Joachim Gauck.


The German President is the head of state of Federal Republic of Germany. 11 Presidents have held office as the head of state since the Federal Republic was founded in 1949.


Insert: Election of the new German President on 12.02.2017 in Berlin


Now a new President begins his term in office. But what does the German President do and how is he chosen?


Insert: German President


His official residence is Bellevue Palace in Berlin. But the German President holds less sway politically than his counterparts in the USA or France for example. The President travels a lot, going on state visits around the world to represent Germany.


The German President represents Germany internationally and signs agreements with other nations in the name of the government. He swears in Constitutional Court Judges, government ministers and the German Chancellor. He inspects laws passed by the first and second chambers of the German parliament and approves them if they conform with the constitution. A new law takes effect once he has signed it.


Insert: Every 5 Years


Every five years in the Reichstag building, the Federal Convention elects a new President. That ist he sole function of the Federal Convention, 50% of which is made up of all members of the first chamber of the German parliament, with the other 50% consisting of representatives sent by the parliaments of Germany’s federal states. 


 Insert: Representative from Every Federal State


The number of representatives sent to the Federal Convention by each German state depends on the population of each state. Most of them are members of the state parliament, but they can also be people from the worlds of sport, business or other sectors of public life.


Insert: Who can be Elected?


Any German citizen over the age of 40 who has the vote can be elected German President.

Frank Walter Steinmeier is the 12th President of the Federal Republic of Germany.


O-Ton: Frank-Walter Steinmeier - German President:

“My dear countrymen, let’s be couragous, for I certainly do not fear the future.“