DW: Steinmeier poised to be German President
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has backed Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be the ruling coalition's candidate for the German presidency, following talks among party leaders on Monday morning, according to Deutsche Welle.
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," DW reported.
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.
Read alsoBulgarian PM resigns after presidential candidate's defeat to Rumen RadevThe German presidency is a largely ceremonial role that is meant to transcend party politics and serve as a moral compass speaking hard truths to the nation. Steinmeier tends to score well in personal approval ratings, and has recently exhibited some of the hard talk expected from a president - for instance being cool towards British Foreign Minister and Brexit figurehead Boris Johnson, and towards newly-elected US President Donald Trump.
Incumbent president Gauck announced earlier this year that he would not seek a second term in office on account of old age. He is currently meeting with leaders in Japan.