Centre-left Frank-Walter Steinmeier elected German president

German chancellor Ms. Merkel congratulated the new president on Sunday.

Mr Steinmeier succeeds Joachim Gauck, a 77-year-old former pastor and East German pro-democracy activist who did not seek a second five-year term because of his age.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev congratulated President-elect of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier on February 13.

The election of the usually impeccably mannered diplomat, who spent seven of the last 11 years leading the foreign ministry, marked a setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrats, who had failed to agree on their own candidate. He won 931 out of 1,260 votes.

"I have faith in him to lead our country in these hard times", Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term, said after the vote.

Steinmeier, one of Germany's well known politicians, have served twice as foreign minister, from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 until this year.

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"This country for many in the world has become an anchor of hope", Steinmeier said after his election.

Germany's presidency mostly involves representing the country overseas, though Mr. Gauck has also intervened in domestic politics, including on Ms. Merkel's handling of the refugee crisis.

Germany's presidential post is more ceremonial than executive, giving direction to general political and societal debates.

Since Mr Schulz took over the candidacy in late January, the SPD has risen sharply in the opinion polls. Both sides hope to end the "grand coalition".

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) said on Twitter Steinmeier is a guarantee of reason and prudence that are needed very much in the current world. Two main parties in the coalition hold 923 seats in the assembly, which should assure Steinmeier's election.

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