Gauck Becomes Germany's President

BERLIN (TheStreet) -- Former East German prodemocracy activist Joachim Gauck became Germany's president Sunday.

An overwhelming majority in the nation's Federal Convention voted for Gauck's presidency. The body consists of the lower house of Parliament as well as representatives of Germany's 16 states.

The president's office is largely ceremonial in Germany, but Gauck's election ends a conflict in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition.

Although Gauck, 72, had enjoyed widespread support to become president in 2010, Merkel had championed Christian Wulff instead.

Wulff resigned this month amid corruption allegations and a criminal investigation.

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Merkel initially attempted to thwart Gauck's accession to the president's office this year. But her party's coalition partners pushed for Gauck, and she was forced to back him in order to keep the coalition intact.

Gauck was a Lutheran pastor who championed democracy and civil rights in the former East Germany, even in the face of intimidation by the Stasi, the former nation's notorious secret police.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.

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