German president Joachim Gauck won’t seek second term

 German-president-Joachim-Gauck-wont-seek-second-term. BERLIN,  German President Joachim Gauck announced Monday that he won’t seek a second five-year term as the nation’s head of state.

German President Joachim Gauck visits the Yad Vashem Archives during his visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem on May 29, 2012. Gauck announced Monday he will not be seeking a second, five-year term next year. File photo by Maja Hitu/Pool/UPI | License Photo

“This decision was not easy for me,” the nation’s 11th president said at Bellevue Palace in Berlin. “I do not want to commit myself, for another period of five years, to levels of energy and vitality that I cannot guarantee.”

The 76-year-old leader’s term will end in March 2017.

The former pastor in East Germany noted he is healthy now but was concerned about remaining in office until 82 if he served two terms.

Gauuck called it “political normality” to select a new leader.

The position, generally not political and ceremonial, is selected by a special convention of the 631 members of the federal Parliament and 631 members of legislatures in Germany’s 16 states.

He will leave less than six months before the general election.

Bild newspaper conducted a poll that showed that the coalition, led by ChancellorAngela Merkel, had an approval rating that dropped below 50 percent for the first time.

Merkel is expected to seek a fourth term. But the survey found her conservative bloc would receive 30 percent of the votes in an election and her Social Democrat partners 19 percent.

By Allen Cone