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German coalition agrees on Steinmeier as president

Published 14/11/2016

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (AP)
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (AP)

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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