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Search on for new German president

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Search on for new German president

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The search has begun for the next person to move into Germany’s presidential palace.

After the shock resignation of president Horst Köhler, members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition are gathered in Berlin to discuss possible candidates.

The Labour Minister in Merkel’s CDU party, Ursula Von der Leyen, is considered the Chancellor’s favourite.

A special assembly of MPs and state representatives will elect a new president at the end of June. Köhler stepped down after a gaffe in which he appeared to link military missions abroad and the country’s economic interests.

One of the possible candidates for the opposition Social Democrats or SPD is former finance minister Peer Steinbrück.

Social Democrats in Lower Saxony have even proposed a former protestant bishop, Margot Kässman, who resigned after a drink-driving incident.

Another potential SPD candidate is Gesine Schwan, although she has already lost two elections to Horst Köhler in the past.

A German president is a largely ceremonial head of state.