Former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected Germany’s president on Sunday, the 12th person to hold the largely ceremonial post in the post-war era. Steinmeier, a Social Democrat who had served as foreign minister until last month, won 931 of the 1,260 votes by lawmakers and representatives of Germany’s 16 federal states. His predecessor, Joachim Gauck, steps down on March 18. The German constitution mandates that a special assembly is convened to elect presidents. It includes 630 lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house and an equal number of representatives from the federal states
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Germany’s new president-elect, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on his victory, and invited him to visit Russia at his earliest possible convenience. “Vladimir Putin has confirmed his interest in continuing a constructive dialogue on international and bilateral issues, and invites Steinmeier to visit Russia at a convenient time for him,” an official press release from the Kremlin read. A member of the Social Democrat party, Steinmeier won the presidential election with a total of 931 out of 1,260 votes. He will succeed Joachim Gauck, a 77-year-old former pastor and pro-democracy activist from east Germany.