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Germany's next president

Germany
14.11.2016
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Merkel's party backs Steinmeier for hotly contested presidency
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) will endorse Social Democrat Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as a candidate for the presidency, according to sources in the government.
GALLERY
Berlin (dpa) - The centre-right CDU, which heads a grand coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), agreed to back Steinmeier in response to a suggestion from SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Merkel‘s deputy.
Although the role of German president is largely ceremonial, the candidate is meant to represent Germany internationally; the presidency is therefore hotly contested between rival parties.

"Steinmeier is going to be an excellent president. He represents responsibility, reliability and unity," said Thomas Opperman, the head of the SPD‘s parliamentary group.

The news comes after protracted talks between the leaders of the SPD, the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

The CSU hasn‘t yet officially announced its own endorsement, but its leader, Horst Seehofer, said Monday that the parties were "in agreement."

After a candidate is officially put forward, they must be approved by a special constitutional convention on February 12. Each term runs for five years.

Although the role of German president is largely ceremonial, the candidate is meant to represent Germany internationally; the presidency is therefore hotly contested between rival parties.

 

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