Steinmeier elected German president

The vote is due at 12:00 local time (CET).

Mr Steinmeier, Germany's former foreign minister, was elected by a parliamentary assembly in Berlin with 931 of the 1,260 votes. With the support of Merkel's Christian Democratic-led bloc and the Social Democrats in a special assembly on Sunday, Steinmeier is all but assured victory to the mostly ceremonial post.

Steinmeier is usually diplomatic, but has strongly opposed United States president Donald Trump and described the 70-year-old USA leader as "a hate preacher" during the recent U.S. election campaign.

US president Donald Trump told The Times that Merkel made a "catastrophic mistake" when she opened the doors to an unlimited number of migrants in 2015. As head of state, Steinmeier will be Trump's counterpart according to protocol, even if the German presidency lacks the political or policymaking power held by the chancellor.

Opposition parties, The Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), also backed Steinmeier as the country's next president.

Steinmeier was the Social Democractic Party candidate who challenged Angela Merkel in the Federal Election in 2009, and the chancellor gave her backing to the elected man.

Former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been elected Germany's president.

"I have faith in him to lead our country in these hard times", Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term, said after the vote.

Merkel has had little luck in German presidential politics during her 11-year chancellorship.

  • Leroy Wright