German ruling coalition backs FM Steinmeier as President

Germany‘s ruling coalition has backed Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as the country’s next president, party sources said Monday, paving the way for a sharp critic of Donald Trump to become head of state, AFP reports.

Party leaders have been wrangling for months over whom to nominate as a potential successor to President Joachim Gauck, a 76-year-old former pastor from the ex-communist East Germany who is stepping down due to his advanced age.

On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) agreed on Germany‘s most popular politician, Steinmeier, whose name had been put forward by his Social Democratic Party (SPD).

The third party in the coalition — the CDU’s Bavarian allies CSU — backed the decision soon after.

“Now it’s official,” a CSU party source told AFP.

The new president — a figure who is meant to transcend party politics and serve as a moral standard bearer for the nation — will be elected on February 12 by a special assembly of MPs, delegates from Germany‘s 16 federal states and other notables.

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