Former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been elected President by a Parliamentary Assembly. The Social Democrat, 61, is one of Germany’s most popular politicians.
Mr Steinmeier was chosen by the Federal Assembly meeting in Parliament in Berlin. He won 931 out of 1,260 votes.
Lawmakers and representatives from various social fields delegated by Germany’s 16 states are represented in the assembly.
The post is largely ceremonial, but the president represents Germany abroad and is seen as carrying moral weight. Electors include Joachim Loew, the national football coach, and Olivia Jones, a colourful drag queen sent to vote by the Green Party in Lower Saxony. Mr Steinmeier, who takes up the job on 19 March, held the post of foreign minister twice for a total of eight years. Steinmeier replaces current President, Joachim Gauck.
In 2009, he stood unsuccessfully against Mrs Merkel in the federal election. Mr Steinmeier is seen as straight-talking, and as foreign minister was widely respected for taking a strong stance on issues important to German voters.Many expect he will work to support Germany’s reputation as global defender of tolerant liberal values.