German President To Stand Down Next Year

german president

BERLIN (Reuters) – German President Joachim Gauck will not run for a second five-year term in office, given his age and health reasons, the German newspaper Bild reported on Friday, citing political sources.

Gauck, 76, is expected to explain his decision in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, the newspaper reported. Gauck’s term ends in March 2017.

A spokeswoman for the president declined to comment.

The German president holds a largely ceremonial role, represents the country in matters of international law and at official gatherings.

The president is not directly elected by the people, but rather by a committee, the Federal Convention, which consists of members of the German parliament and the same number of delegates sent from the state parliaments.

The president has a term of five years and can only be re-elected once. Any German citizen over the age of 40 is able to become president.