The German president limit limit is "Renewable once, consecutively".

Does this mean the he can only be re-elected once and only if immediately after his first term.


Does it mean that he can be re-elected as many times as he can just as long as no more than two consecutive terms.

2 Answers 2


There is no precedent for either scenario. It seems that legal commentary reads this as "no more than two consecutive terms, unlimited total terms."


The English translation of the Basic Law (a document that is for all intents and purposes an long term interim constitution) states in Section 5, Article 54, Clause 2 (emphasis mine):

The term of office of the Federal President shall be five years. Re-election for a consecutive term shall be permitted only once.

This wording appears to state that the President of Germany can be elected to an unlimited number of terms but can not run for a third consecutive term (i.e. they must sit out for a term before being able to be elected again).

Link to the English translation in PDF form

English translation from the German Cabinet's website

  • I agree with this interpretation. If no article states otherwise than it should be possible for the same person to do a third term after an election gap. Incidentally this has happened in another country, US, where Gover Cleveland has won non-consecutive terms. I don't think this is possible nowadays (22nd amend.) but the powers of this position in a Presidential system (i.e. US) is very different from the same position on Parliamentary republics (or semi-presidential, i.e. EU).
    – armatita
    Nov 26, 2018 at 13:01
  • @armatita The US has had few who tried to beat the accepted convention of two terms. but the 22nd amendment was brought in because FD Roosevelt managed 4 consecutive elections and Congress wanted to clamp down on that as hard as possible so limited all the ways a president could last >8 years.
    – matt_black
    Nov 26, 2018 at 13:56

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