A Trump Critic Appointed to be Germany’s next President

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Trump Critic Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, attends a press conference in Berlin (Germany) today, MICHAEL KAPPELER EFE

The German government’s coalition has appointed a Trump Critic foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as the country’s next head of state, a Social Democrat who has been singled out for his strong criticism of Donald Trump, the future president of the United States.

After weeks of blockade, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian wing, the Christian Social Union (CSU) finally decided to endorse the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

The chancellor had to accept the candidate of the SPD, its minority partner in the coalition, not managing to convince its own side to succeed Joachim Gauck, whose term ends in March 2017.

Gauck, a communist and former GDR ex-president, has decided at the age of 76 that he will not be re-introduced into the system.

The political tradition in Germany wants the parties of the coalition in power to agree on a common candidate for this eminently honorific position.

Steimeier, 60, is the most popular political personality in Germany, according to opinion polls, and is therefore likely to eclipse the chancellor, who is likely to be a candidate for his own succession in September 2017.

Known for his frankness, Frank-Walter Steinmeier – who will be elected on February 12, 2017 by German parliamentarians – has harshly criticized Donald Trump.

Not only did he do so during the election campaign in the United States, calling the millionaire a “preacher of hatred”, but especially after his election, saying he expected “more difficult” times at the international level, and ostensibly refusing to congratulate the Republican for His victory.

The SPD president alluded to the mission that awaits Steinmeier next year, in the face of the emergence of populism.

“The next president of our country has the responsibility to defend the liberal, social and democratic values of our constitution,” Sigmar Gabriel said. He added that preserving those values “is undoubtedly the greatest challenge of our time.”

Steinmeier is Merkel’s foreign minister since 2013. He could be replaced in office by European Parliament President Martin Schulz, according to the German press.

With it, Germany is going to endow itself with a more flexible president than the chancellor. Steinmeier, who embodies a kind of diplomacy that wants to preserve dialogue with the Kremlin, did not hesitate to criticize NATO’s too-warm-hearted policy towards Moscow.

“What we must avoid today is to poison the situation with war cries and boot noises,” he declared in the summer of 2016.

Doctor in law, Steinmeier began in politics in the shadow of its mentor Gerhard Schröder, with which he was director of the cabinet in the chancellery.

In the position, he participated in the elaboration of economic reforms, denounced by the radical left as generators of poverty but considered by others as the origin of the good health of the German economy.

As the Foreign Ministry, from 2005 to 2009, Steinmeier could not be an alternative to the chancellor, having suffered a hard defeat in the 2009 legislative elections, as head of the SPD list.

Father of a teenager, in 2010 he retired briefly from political life to donate a kidney to his seriously ill wife.

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