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Frank-Walter Steinmeier set for second term as Germany's president

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By Euronews  with AP, DPA
Before becoming president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier served as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign minister.
Before becoming president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier served as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign minister.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File

Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set to be elected for a second term after receiving support from the Greens.

All three coalition parties in Germany's government have now endorsed Steinmeier -- a longtime Social Democrat -- to serve another five years in office.

The president will be elected on February 13 by a special assembly made up of the members of parliament’s Bundestag and representatives of Germany’s 16 states.

The Social Democrats, the Greens, and the pro-business Free Democratic Party are expected to have a majority in the assembly.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Greens described Steinmeier as "a very good and highly regarded president who has done great service to our country".

Steinmeier announced that he would seek a second term last May -- before the parliamentary election that brought Germany's new coalition to power -- and pledged to help heal divisions widened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany’s president has little executive power but is considered an important moral authority.

Before becoming president in 2017, Steinmeier served two stints as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign minister and was previously the chief of staff to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Some figures in Merkel’s center-right opposition CDU have called for their party to nominate a woman to become Germany's first-ever female head of state.

But on Wednesday, the CDU also announced that it would support the incumbent President for another term, with outgoing leader Armin Laschet praising Steinmeier's “great foreign policy expertise.”

“After weighing the different arguments, we decided in this phase in which Germany now stands to give our support to a president who is prepared to carry on doing his duty for the country,” Laschet said. “But I think that the time will come when a woman becomes president.”

If elected, 66-year-old Steinmeier will serve until 2027 before completing the maximum two terms in office.