The candidature of Steinmeier, nominated by the ruling coalition, was supported by 931 members of the country’s Federal Convention, which is a special body consisting of 630 members of the Bundestag and of the same number of representatives of Germany’s states.
Steinmeier, 61, stood down last month to seek presidency after 77-year-old Gauck said last June he would not run for the second term, citing old age. His term expires on March 17.
In his acceptance speech, Steinmeier called Germany “an anchor for hope,” saying that the country should take on responsibility and serve as a role model for other countries. “[Germany] inspires others to be brave, not because everything is well here, but because we’ve shown how much a country can improve,” he said.
The normally sober proceedings were enlivened by a splash of color in the form of drag queen Olivia Jones (aka Oliver Knöbel), who turned up in a huge orange wig and a bright blue dress. Jones described herself as a “statement on all things diverse.”
The Federal Convention does not consist solely of politicians, with states sometimes also sending leading community figures to vote.