By Ria Novosti
Former East German Lutheran pastor and pro-democracy activist Joachim Gauck was on Sunday elected German president with an overwhelming majority in a first round of voting.
This is the first time a candidate from the former communist east will take over the largely ceremonial presidential post.
Parliament speaker Norbert Lammert said Gauck claimed 991 votes out of 1232 from a special assembly consisting mostly of lawmakers from Parliament and the state legislatures.
The 72-year-old Gauck, a prominent member of the peaceful protest movement, opposed East Germany’s then-communist regime and after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 became head of a federal agency overseeing the files of the Communists’ domestic intelligence.
Gauck, who has no political affiliation, won wide backing from Germany’s mainstream parties for the presidency after predecessor Christian Wulff resigned in a financial scandal last month.