Since Gauck is retiring in the spring of 2017.....the office of President in Germany will come up.
Being President is different from the Chancellor's job. You avoid politics and generally have a pleasant attitude to all political groups in Germany.
To be elected to the office of German President....a Convention is held (usually every five years unless there's a early dismissal or death). The Convention will occur in the Reichstag building.
The head of the Bundestag will convene the meeting. He will direct the date and be held responsible for the preparation of the vote.
The Basic Law (the German consititution) says that this Convention must occur 30 days before the end of the President's term of office.
Who meets at the Convention? Every member of the Bundestag and an equal number of the 16 states (50-50 split). The number of representatives sent.....is based off a running tally of each of the 16 states (hence, the polling info is kinda important). The states will then do a proportional represenation of the parties within their state group.....so oddly enough....the Pirate Party and the AfD will show up.
One odd factor in this election? No open debate. Anyone in the audience can vote for anyone, as long as they are forty years old and a German citizen. In some theory.....there could be several votes for soccer coaches, TV moderators, and even actors.
You have to receive an absolute majority on the first or second ballots. But the rule says as you get into a third ballot.....a "relative" majority is enough. This is interpreted in various ways.....so you might end up on the third ballot with six different players, and one is able to get 33-percent of the vote and they end the talks right there.
Could new names be added on the second and third ballot? In theory, yes.
Could some devious CSU guy put up Jan Bohmermann.....the satire guy who upset Erdogan from Turkey? Yes.
What the intellectuals said last night on TV news was that the Greens are now hopeful that they can run up a deal where they talk the SPD into voting for their guy, in return for support. The question would be....why would the SPD dump their chance to get their guy into the position.
The odds are that there will be three ballots, and some shocker of a name will show up on the first ballot which interests everyone (like some female soccer coach), and everyone suddenly jumps up to push their secret vote for this gal. Then she'd get some phone call and be kinda shocked that any idiot would vote for her as German President.