Lutheran pastor Joachim Gauck takes on German presidency
bbc / Stephen Evans

Who would ever have thought that the two highest posts in Germany would be held by products of the old communist state?

After Joachim Gauck was elected to the presidency on Sunday, both the head of state and the chancellor grew up in the old German Democratic Republic. East Germans will symbolise the united country itself and actually run it.

Mr Gauck and Chancellor Angel Merkel were both raised in the East, which crumbled in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Both too have backgrounds in the Lutheran Church - she as the daughter of a pastor, he as a pastor himself and the son of a pastor.

And both give a very untypical tenor to the public life of the unified Germany - unflashy, feet-on-the -ground and independent of mind and spirit.

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