Close up: Joachim Gauck - The People's President
If Germans elected their president directly, many would have chosen Joachim Gauck. A Lutheran pastor and anti-communist civil rights activist in former East Germany, Gauck is eloquent and a champion of freedom. Often passionate, it is said he can sometimes even be a little vain. Joachim Gauck was chosen Germany's 11th president in March 2012 and the first to come from former East Germany. President Gauck was supported by the country's major political parties, with the exception of the Left Party, successors to the former East German communists. After the ignominious resignation of his two predecessors, Christian Wulff and Horst Köhler, there is a clear expectation that the prestige of the office of German Federal President will be restored by Joachim Gauck.