- Title: Germany's foreign minister accepts presidency nomination
- Date: 16th November 2016
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (NOVEMBER 15, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF GERMAN PARLIAMENT, BUNDESTAG GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER AND PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER ARRIVING FOR STATEMENT WITH CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, ECONOMY MINISTER AND SPD CHAIRMAN, SIGMAR GABRIEL AND CSU HEAD HORST SEEHOFER MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "I am happy that the we three party leaders have chosen you Frank-Walter Steinmeier as our mutual presidential candidate for the big coalition as the successor for President Joachim Gauck. I am happy because I am convinced that Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the right candidate at this time and he is a candidate who will have the support of many citizens. People can sense, that which we who have worked with him for many years know, he is a man that you can trust. His experience, his ability to find balance, his groundedness and his knowledge of the world outside our own borders makes him a very good candidate for the office of the president of Germany." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS STEINMEIER LISTENING MERKEL TALKING MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER AND PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE, FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, SAYING: "It is a great honour to be nominated for this high office in these stormy times. My pleasure at the task is big and my respect of this office even bigger." WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE MEDIA PAN FROM STEINMEIER HANDS TO HIS FACE (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER AND PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE, FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, SAYING: "I am grateful for the immense trust but I also understand the breadth of the responsibility of the future president. The uncertainty in our really very turbulent world is immense and therefore trust in democracy and the democratic institutions and their representatives is a valuable asset. Trust is a central resource and one that is never guaranteed in a democracy, that is often scant and an asset that we have to continuously fight to retain. I want to take on the responsibility of this trust and want to uphold it for society." MERKEL LISTENING TO STEINMEIER TALKING CLOSE OF MERKEL LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER AND PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, SAYING: "The events of our time: Brexit, the consequences for Europe, the election in the U.S., the situation in Turkey. All these things are political earthquakes, they have shaken us but they can also shake us awake. Now it will be about sustaining a lively and alert political culture and I want to work to achieve this with everyone: overreaching party loyalties and above all overreaching social differences. For a political culture where we can argue with one another but can treat each other with respect, where we do not entrench ourselves in our prejudices but rather where we have an open heart to the people around us and know that we need other friends and partners to achieve all our goals." WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER AND PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, SAYING: "A federal president cannot make the world simpler than it is, a president can not be a simplifier, he has to give courage. I, at any rate, want to awaken the strengths in this society. I want to value them, promote them and for these values ladies and gentleman, I will do the best I can." WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE MERKEL, STEINMEIER, GABRIEL AND SEEHOFER LEAVE NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 1st December 2016 12:35
- Keywords: Steinmeier German president Merkel
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00158P1GSN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: All three of Germany's coalition leaders on Wednesday (November 16) presented current German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as their candidate for president, making him a shoo-in to take over the post from incumbent President Joachim Gauck.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives agreed on Monday (November 14) to back Social Democrat Steinmeier as Germany's next president, creating a vacancy at the foreign ministry at a critical moment in relations with Russia and the United States.
Merkel's camp had hoped to promote its own candidate but chose to back political rival Steinmeier for the largely ceremonial post to avoid a long fight with his party, its partner in the ruling 'grand coalition'.
Steinmeier, who called U.S. president-elect Donald Trump a "preacher of hate" before the election, said on Wednesday that he hoped to rise to the challenge of a world in crisis.
Merkel said Steinmeier was excellently suited to be head of state.
Wednesday's announcement paves the way for Steinmeier to be elected on February 12 to the post now held by Joachim Gauck, a Lutheran pastor who made his mark as an anti-communist leader in the former East Germany. Both of Gauck's predecessors in the job had resigned, creating headaches for Merkel.
Steinmeier, in his first interview after the news, said he worried about the rise of populist candidates in the United States and across Europe, with their anti-immigrant and nationalist rhetoric, mistrust of the media, and isolationism.
Steinmeier is well-liked and respected in Germany despite losing out as the SPD's chancellor candidate in 2009. His popularity surged in 2010 when he took a break from politics to donate a kidney to his sick wife.
Gauck's term expires in March, six months before Germany holds a parliamentary election. Merkel, 62, is widely expected to run for a fourth term as chancellor, and a poll last week showed more than half of Germans want her to do so.
Steinmeier raised concerns among U.S. and NATO officials earlier this year when he said Western military exercises in eastern Europe could be seen as "saber-rattling" against Russia.
He has pushed hard to end fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, and condemned Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. At the same time, he backs continued dialogue with Russia, a view shared by Trump.
The president is not directly elected by the people, but rather by the Federal Convention, an assembly of members of the federal parliament and delegates from state parliaments.
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