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German presidential hopeful to appear before Bavarian parliament

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Former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to appear before the Bavarian State Parliament as part of build-up exercise to his expected weekend election to be the nation’s new president.

Regularly voted in opinion polls as the nation’s most popular politician, the 61-year-old Steinmeier will take over the largely ceremonial post of president from Joachim Gauck.

This is as a result of a ballot casted on Sunday by a special federal assembly made up of lawmakers and leading community members.

A member of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), Steinmeier is facing three other candidates in the election for the post, including a former German TV judge.

However, Steinmeier has the backing of Merkel’s conservative-led coalition, which has a commanding parliamentary majority that should ensure his election to the presidency.

The SPD is the junior member of Merkel’s coalition.

Steinmeier stepped down in January as foreign minister with former Minister for Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel taking over the role of Germany’s chief diplomat.

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