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German coalition agrees on Steinmeier as president

The parties which make up Germany's coalition government are reported to have agreed to support the foreign minister becoming the country's next president.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier would take over the largely ceremonial role as head of state from Joachim Gauck, whose five-year term ends in February.

German news agency dpa reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Union bloc would back Mr Steinmeier for the post.

The 60-year-old Social Democrat is among Germany's most popular politicians.

While normally studiously diplomatic, Mr Steinmeier strongly criticised US President-elect Donald Trump during the election campaign, describing him as one of the world's "hate preachers".

Mr Steinmeier's promotion to Germany's highest office would leave a void in the foreign ministry, where he led efforts to resolve conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

A possible replacement there has not been announced.

AP

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