Merkel says Steinmeier excellent candidate for German presidency

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is "excellently suited" to the role of president.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is "excellently suited" to the role of president.PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was "excellently suited" to the largely ceremonial post of president after her conservatives agreed to back the Social Democrat as a candidate. "At a time when there's unrest and instability around the world, sending a signal of stability - and so the conservatives supporting Steinmeier's candidacy - is in my view right and important," Merkel said.

Merkel's camp had initially hoped to promote its own candidate for the position that will become vacant in March - when current president Joachim Gauck retires - but chose to back political rival Steinmeier to avoid a long fight with his party, which is the conservatives' partner in the ruling 'grand coalition'.