German President Gauck won't run for second term

German President Joachim Gauck has announced that in view of his age he will not seek a second term in office. The 76-year-old will therefore step down as president in March 2017. Commentators commend the decision and are confident that Gauck is assured of an honourable place in history.

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He won't get any more popular or any younger

Gauck is wise not to run for a second term, writes

“In politics, a person finding the right moment to stop is a rare occurrence. The list of those who are pushed out of office instead is far longer. This is an undignified spectacle for everyone involved and it is good that the German president is sparing us and himself from having to watch it. He knows that he would only lose out if he continued in office for a second term. … If he had gone on he would still be in office at 82. Would he have had the energy for the job? Gauck is not sure and has therefore decided not to experiment. That, too, shows greatness, because it is a realistic assessment of his age. In sum, he can't get any more popular and he won't get any younger. So this is a clever decision.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Gauck assured of a place in history

Gauck is critical but always respectful, Lidové noviny writes:

“The arrival of more than a million migrants has created tensions in Germany, and the government's popularity is declining. So why would 70 percent of German voters like to have Gauck, who like Merkel stands for the 'welcome culture', go on being president? Perhaps because he also talks about unpleasant things, but with critical understanding. Gauck sees the refugees as a chance for Germany, but that doesn't make him an Islamophile. ... He knows how to criticise while at the same time respecting his opponent's point of view - a virtue so lacking here at home. The fact that for all his criticism Gauck still appeals to humaneness and the good in society assures him a place in history.”

More opinions

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) / 07 June 2016
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