German Chancellor Angela Merkel has unveiled Christian Wulff as her coalition’s candidate for the vacant president’s job after the resignation of Horst Köhler.
Wulff, the current leader of Lower Saxony, is seen as a safe pair of hands for the largely ceremonial post.
“I look forward to this task. I think the president can bring people together and can do something for the cohesion of our society,” he said.
“I hope to encourage and give some optimism in difficult times. Of course, I am a little bit sad that Horst Köhler resigned this week, and of course I am also a bit sad that I can’t continue my work in Lower Saxony.”
Still, Merkel faces a battle if she is to get her man elected. Her popularity is on the wane after a drubbing in a state election last month.
Wulff will be up against the opposition candidate Joachim Gauck, who headed research into the Stasi archives following the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The pair go head-to-head in a vote by a special parliamentary assembly on June 30.