The West German Foreign Minister, Mr. Walter Scheel, was elected President in succession to Doctor?
The West German Foreign Minister, Mr. Walter Scheel, was elected President in succession to Doctor Gustav Heinemann on Wednesday (15 May). The vote taken in the Federal Assembly, is seen as a demonstration of solidarity within the ruling two-party coalition.
At 54, Mr. Scheel is the youngest of the country's four Presidents to date. He was also the first to win the largely titular office of Head of State on the first ballot for which an absolute majority of the 1,036 member of the Federal Assembly is required. He obtained 530 votes; his opponent, Mr. Richard von Weiszaecker polled 498 votes. Five voters abstained and three were absent.
Mr. Scheel took over as acting Chancellor when Mr. Willy Brandt resigned nine days ago over the discovery of an East German spy among his close personal aides. On Friday (17 May), Mr. Scheel will make way for Mr. Helmut Schmidt, who is due to be sworn in as the new Chancellor.
In a brief statement to the Assembly after the voting, Mr. Scheel said it was a moving experience for him to be elected just before the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Federal Republic.