German President Horst Koehler has been re-elected for another five years as Head of State by the country’s parliament the Budestag.
Favourite running up to the vote Koehler scrapped home after winning the minimum 613 votes required. His closest rival, social democrat candidate Gesine Schwan, won 503 votes. She had hoped to siphon off enough votes from wavering conservatives to win or at least force a second or third round. The victory for the 66-year-old Koehler, a former head of the International Monetary Fund, is expected to give Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats a boost ahead of elections in September later this year. Germany’s Presidential elections are usually sedate affairs but this year, for the first time in decades the outcome was not a foregone conclusion. The election, which always falls on the same day as the birth of Germany’s constitution also coincides this year with the 60th anniversary and people were out in Berlin soaking up the Birthday atmosphere.