PM welcomes election of Steinmeier as new German president

Prague, Feb 12 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka welcomed the election of Frank-Walter Steinmeier as the new German president on Sunday and he said Steinmeier has been promoting European cooperation and good Czech-German relations for a long time.

“Steinmeier is an experienced social democrat politician, an advocate of European cooperation and a man who has been promoting good neighbourly relations between the Czech Republic and Germany for years,” Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told CTK through the Czech Government Office.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) said on Twitter Steinmeier is a guarantee of reason and prudence that are needed very much in the current world.

“I congratulate Frank-Walter Steinmeier to his new post of German president,” Zaoralek said.

The 61-year-old Steinmeier (Social Democrats, SPD), former German foreign minister, will replace outgoing President Joachim Gauck in March. Gauck was not defending his post. The post of German president is mostly ceremonial.

Czech MEP Pavel Telicka, ANO’ foreign affairs expert, said he believes Steinmeier will continue with the legacy of Gauck who was a wise president.

The German government coalition of the SPD and CDU/CSU agreed on Steinmeier’s candidature last November, and he smoothly defeated his four rival candidates on Sunday. Steinmeier won 931 of the 1239 votes.

PM Sobotka said he appreciated what Steinmeier managed to do for his seriously ill wife.

In 2010, Steinmeier donated his kidney to his wife.

TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek, former Czech finance minister, said Steinmeier will definitely be a dignified representative of Germany.

“Undoubtedly, he will keep contributing to the good relations between the Czech Republic and Germany, like he contributed when he was foreign minister,” Kalousek told CTK.

Right-wing opposition leader Petr Fiala (Civic Democrats, ODS) said Steinmeier was an experienced politician and diplomat.

Czech President Milos Zeman will send Steinmeier a letter congratulating on his election in the next few days, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said.