German president to give statement on second term
The popular Gauck, 76, who has held the largely ceremonial post of head of state since 2012, will reportedly step down due to health concerns and his age.
Gauck, a Protestant pastor, rose to prominence as a human rights activist in communist East Germany and was instrumental in the movement which helped topple the Berlin Wall in 1989.
His decision not to run for a second mandate creates a political headache for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will have to fill the job just as campaigning for the general election, expected to be held in September 2017, kicks off.
Parliament would elect Gauck’s successor in February 2017, with conservatives mentioning Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Bavarian MP Gerda Hasselfeldt, who would be Germany’s first female president, as possible candidates.