EUROPE

Trump critic, Frank-Walter Steinmeier is Germany’s new president

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Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a social democrat is Germany’s new president. He was elected by a vast majority of the parliamentary assembly, receiving 931 out of 1,253 votes. His predecessor Joachim Gauck did not seek a fresh term.

Steinmeier served as vice chancellor and foreign minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Although the presidential election was won in a decided vote, the position of president in Germany is largely ceremonial, because the Chancellor is the head of government and has a higher profile on the world stage.

Steinmeier has been a vocal critic of US President Donald Trump. He described Trump as a “hate preacher,” likening him to right-wing populists in Europe who “make politics with fear,” German news agency DPA reported.

Germany is the largest economy in Europe, the fourth largest in the world by nominal GDP and has played a major role in the region’s refugee crisis.

The Merkel government implemented an open-door policy that welcomed more than 1 million asylum-seekers over the past two years, causing uncertainty of her success in the upcoming election in September.

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