The search for Germany's next president continues, as the main government parties failed to agree on a nominee. The Federal Assembly is due to elect the next president in February 2017.
Germany's three government coalition partners failed to come up with a nominee for the largely ceremonial post of the German President after a long meeting. Chancellery Angela Merkel's CDU and her sister party, the CSU, alongside their coalition partner SPD decided to postpone the talks until next week - three months before the Federal Assembly is due to convene to elect the new president.
The AFP news agency reported that representatives returning from the meeting said they had not managed to reach an agreement and that "talks would continue."
SPD-leader Sigmar Gabriel was meanwhile quoted as saying that he would "continue to not rule out the possibility of still reaching an agreement."
Incumbent president Joachim Gauck announced earlier this year that he would not seek a second term in office on account of old age.
Merkel is up against considerable opposition from her grand coalition partner, the SPD, which would like to nominate a candidate from within its own ranks - despite only being the junior partner in government. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) has long been touted as a possible candidate.
Meanwhile the CDU's sister party, the Bavarian CSU, appeared to hope to use the talks to express its aversion to Merkel's open-door policy toward refugees by blocking consensus. Merkel hopes to find a candidate from the CDU, and has been suggesting incumbent finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble as well as incumbent defense minister Ursula von der Leyen. Her preferred candidate, however, could also be future contenders in her own role as chancellor.
The parties are each allowed to present their own nominees; however, Merkel is hoping to present a candidate that all the major parties can back, to show a sense of unity ahead of legislative elections next year. While the CDU/CSU faction remains the biggest group in the Federal Assembly it does not have an absolute majority to guarantee that its preferred candidate gets elected.
ss/rc (AFP, dpa)