The conservative CDU and CSU parties have backed Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier to replace Joachim Gauck as president, paving the way for him to take up the post without a serious challenge.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has backed Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be the ruling coaliton’s candidate for the German presidency, following talks among party leaders on Monday morning.
Speaking in Berlin on Monday, Merkel said the current foreign minister is “extremely suitable” for the position, describing him as “reliable and a politician oriented by balance and solutions.”
He is a “man from the center of politics, respected in business and society, both at home and abroad,” the chancellor added.
The CDU’s Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), also gave its backing for Steinmeier. “We have come to an agreement, CSU and CDU,” CSU leader Horst Seehofer said. “That is what’s important.”
The conservative Union’s support clears the way for the current foreign minister to go unchallenged in taking over the presidency from Joachim Gauck on February 12. The grand CDU-SPD-CSU coalition enjoys an overwhelming advantage in the electoral assembly that will choose the new president, meaning challenges from a candidate fielded by the Left party or the Greens should be easily overcome.
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Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Wikipedia
Frank-Walter Steinmeier ([ˈfʁaŋkˌvaltɐ ˈʃtaɪ̯nˌmaɪ̯.ɐ]; born 5 January 1956) is a German politician and the current Minister for Foreign Affairsand Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). He is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In November 2016 he was announced as the candidate of both his own party and the CDU/CSU for President of Germany.
Steinmeier holds a doctorate in law and was a career civil servant. He was a close aide of Gerhard Schröder when Schröder was Prime Minister of Lower Saxony during most of the 1990s, and subsequently served as his Chief of Staff at the German Chancellery from 1999 to 2005 during Schröder’s tenure as Chancellor of Germany. He served as Foreign Minister (2005–2009) and Vice Chancellor (2007–2009) in the grand coalition government of Angela Merkel. In 2008, he briefly served as acting chairman of his party, and he was the SPD’s candidate for Chancellor in the 2009 federal election. Following the 2013 federal election he became Minister for Foreign Affairs in Merkel’s second grand coalition.