Joachim Gauck elected German president

March 18th, 2012 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 18 (IANS) Joachim Gauck, a former pastor and civil rights activist, was Sunday elected Germany’s new president, BBC reported.

The 72-year-old Gauck, from the erstwhile East Germany, won 991 votes out of 1,232 at a special assembly of MPs.

He has no party affiliation, and replaces Christian Wulff who resigned last month.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had supported Wulff against Gauck when they ran against each other for president in 2010. This time she backed Gauck.

Born in Rostock in East Germany in 1940, Gauck became a pastor in 1965 after opting to study theology when other university course were denied him because of his father’s dissidence and because he was not a member of the communist youth organisation.

His father was deported to Siberia for his civil rights activism.

As a pastor, Gauck held services that preceded demonstrations that eventually toppled the communist East German government.

A father of four, Gauck is separated from his wife. His partner since 2000, journalist Daniela Schadt, will take on the ceremonial duties of first lady.

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