19:54 Nov. 14, 2016
Current European Parliament president Martin Schulz may replace Steinmeier in office
German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to leave his office to stand as a candidate for the country's president, the Reuters agency reports on Monday.
Quitting the diplomatic office at a critical moment in relations with Russia and the United States, Steinmeier received support from the German chancellor Angela Merkel, who claimed him a perfect candidature for leadership.
"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," she said.
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The present German president Joachim Gauck's term expires in March 2017, when the country's Federal Convention, an assembly of members of the federal parliament and delegates from state parliaments is expected to elect a new president, a rather ceremonial figure in Germany.
After Steinmeier called the U.S. president-elect Donald Trump a "preacher of hate" and condemned his anti-immigrant isolationism rhetoric, a new foreign minister is expected to unite a divided post-Brexit European Union, contain an assertive Russia and work out a new relationship with Washington under Trump, Reuters noted.
According to media reports, the European Parliament President Martin Schulz is most probable candidature to replace Steinmeier in office.