PM welcomes election of Steinmeier as new German president

Author

14 February, 2017

German politicians attended a church service in Berlin on Sunday, ahead of electing a new president.

A centre-left politician was elected to the position of the German presidency today. His predecessor, Joachim Gauck, did not seek another term and will step down on March 18.

He received 931 of the 1,260 votes.

"I have faith in him to lead our country in these hard times", Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term, said after the vote.

Opposition parties, The Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), also backed Steinmeier as the country's next president.

A year later, Merkel's Christian Democrats beat the Social Democrats to take back control of the government.

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The Kremlin said in a statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin had congratulated Steinmeier in a telegram and invited him to visit Moscow.

Reports on Saturday said Steinmeier, who a year ago called Trump one of the world's "hate preachers", topped the list of favorites for the Sunday election.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) said on Twitter Steinmeier is a guarantee of reason and prudence that are needed very much in the current world.

"For Germany's Social Democrats, Steinmeier's election is a prelude to something bigger to come: a victory in September's elections against Merkel", said Broening. Over two terms and seven years as foreign minister Mr Steinmeier was a key diplomat in talks on Iran, Ukraine and Syria.

Aware they are heading into election season with that open flank, Dr Merkel's CDU has vowed to switch from co-habitation to attack mode against its SPD grand coalition partners this morning.


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