The Federal President
The Federal President is the head of state in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He or she is thus the highest representative of the country. In Germany and Austria he decides rather little. His main tasks are: Appointing the Federal Chancellor and Federal Ministers, signing laws, awarding medals and making speeches.
A Federal President is elected: in Germany by representatives of the people, in Austria by the people directly. The current Federal President of Germany is Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the one of Austria is Alexander Van der Bellen. These two presidents are the heads of state of their countries. In Germany, the Federal President is elected for five years, in Austria for six years. A former Federal President can be elected once again, this is called re-election.
Federal President is usually the title of the head of state of a federal republic. Such a country consists of federal states. The presidents of other countries or states are called state presidents. The President of the USA is also the President of a Federal Republic, but he is not called Federal President. As president, he is also the head of the government.
Switzerland also has a Federal President. The President of the Swiss Confederation is one of seven members of the Swiss government, the Federal Council. The members of the Federal Council elect a president every year, usually in turn.