Steinmeier elected German president

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected the twelfth president of the Federal Republic of Germany on Sunday. In his acceptance speech the former foreign minister called on his compatriots to show courage. His election could above all inject his party the SPD with new optimism in the run up to the election, some journalists point out. Others are disappointed that the new president isn't the type to seek confrontation.

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Denik (CZ) /

Right time for competent diplomat to take over

Steinmeier's extensive experience in the area of foreign policy will be particularly valuable for Germany and Europe during the Trump era, Denik is sure:

“Frank-Walter Steinmeier has become German president in a situation where it is unclear how Germany's and Europe's relations with a Trump-led America will develop. So it is good that Steinmeier is well versed in foreign policy. At a time when the US is directing harsh words at Germany over the migration issue and trade and Germany is criticising Trump for his isolationism and protectionism, any experienced diplomat is welcome. Transatlantic relations will also give Europe the opportunity to define its own interests. This European debate needs a respected moderator like the future German president.”

Cicero (DE) /

Boringness instead of revolutionary fervour

Germany could have done with a president with more character, Cicero sighs:

“The way our state is constituted the occupant of Schloss Bellevue doesn't play the role of a revolutionary like Danton or Robespierre. Nevertheless one could wish for a little more flair. Joachim Gauck had that quality. Under his pastoral airs there was always a dash of revolutionary fervour, something of the spirit of the Church in the German Democratic Republic, behind whose walls as we know the communist system started to crumble. From Frank-Walter Steinmeier we'll hear the same message he preached as foreign minister: that it's important to talk with all parties. Apart from Donald Trump, of course, who Steinmeier called a hate preacher and didn't congratulate on his election victory. Frank-Walter Steinmeier is good will personified - that's why people like him so much, that's why he's right up at the top of the political ladder. But he also has another quality: he's dead boring.”

Polityka (PL) /

A signal for the German elections

Steinmeier's election could be a sign that the Social Democrats now have the upper hand in Germany, writes Polityka:

“When Steinmeier's candidacy for president was announced in November, many commentators interpreted this as continuity for the joint Social Democratic and Christian Democratic government led by Chancellor Merkel. But that is just one of several scenarios. The SPD, which today is led by former EU parliamentary president Martin Schulz, has just made a huge leap in the polls. It even has hopes that its candidate could become chancellor. … It may be tradition for the German president not to interfere directly in political conflicts, but this office confers authority, even if it doesn't give power. So Steinmeier's election could indirectly help the Social Democrats.”