German Federal Assembly will convene a session on Sunday to elect a new president to succeed Joachim Gauck who has decided not to run for a second term.
The new head of state will be decided by the convention consisting of 630 lawmakers and an equal number of representatives from Germany’s 16 states.
German local media speculated former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as an obvious winner since he has gained the grand governing coalition on his back.
On Saturday evening, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Minister President of Bavaria Horst Lorenz Seehofer, representing the center-left and center-right political union, called for support for Steinmeier, saying he would be the right person to represent Germany.
Steinmeier, one of Germany’s well known politicians, have served twice as foreign minister, from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 until this year. He is known for his efforts trying to mediate the crisis in Ukraine. He also served as vice chancellor from 2007 to 2009. Some German media described him as “pragmatic, assertive and popular.”
Gauck, assuming office in March 2012, will not seek another five-year tenure citing his age as the reason. Germany’s presidential post is more ceremonial than executive, giving direction to general political and societal debates.
The vote is widely seen as a test for the unity of Merkel’s political coalition, as well as a prelude for Merkel’s campaign seeking her fourth term in the federal election in September. Enditem