Germany's ex-Foreign Minister Steinmeier likely to become president

German former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected as German president by German Federal Assembly on Sunday, succeeding the outgoing President Joachim Gauck.

"Is it not wonderful that Germany has, for many in the world, become an anchor of hope?" asked Mr Steinmeier, a 61-year-old Social Democrat (SPD), former foreign minister and, before that, chief of staff to chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Voting took place on February 12 in a secret ballot among the 1,260-member Federal Convention, comprising lawmakers and leading community figures.

"Let's be fearless, because then we don't have to be afraid of the future" Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of Germany. "Nothing will be easier, many things will become more hard".

With Mr. Steinmeier's victory, the rebound of Germany's left was on full display.

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"Steinmeier is an experienced social democrat politician, an advocate of European cooperation and a man who has been promoting good neighbourly relations between the Czech Republic and Germany for years", Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told CTK through the Czech Government Office.

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.

Right-wing opposition leader Petr Fiala (Civic Democrats, ODS) said Steinmeier was an experienced politician and diplomat.

Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Steinmeier. He returned to the Foreign Ministry when Ms. Merkel formed another so-called grand coalition with the SPD in 2013.

He is aware of the fact that the world is going through tough times, his democratic country will try to create stability. Gauck decided against bidding for a second five year term due to his age - 77.

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