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Germany picks Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be president

Germany picks Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be president

BERLIN — A German parliamentary assembly has elected Frank-Walter Steinmeier by an overwhelming majority to become the country’s new president.

Steinmeier, Germany’s former foreign minister, was elected Sunday in Berlin with 931 of the 1,260 votes. The special election assembly was made up of the 630 lawmakers in parliament’s lower house and an equal number of representatives from Germany’s 16 states.

The German president has little executive power but is considered an important moral authority.

Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, had the support of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “grand coalition” of centre-right and centre-left parties.

The presidential vote was likely one of the last moments of coalition unity ahead of a parliamentary election in September in which Merkel is seeking a fourth term. Both sides hope to end the “grand coalition.”

Geir Moulson, The Associated Press

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