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East German former Lutheran pastor Joachim Gauck has been chosen to be the next president of Germany, after reluctantly being backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Winning with an overwhelming majority, he got 991 votes, to his closest opponent, Beate Klarsfeld’s 126.

Known for being a pro-democracy activist allied to no specific party, the 72-year-old is Germany’s third president in two years and its first one from the former communist East.

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