Lukashenko sends greetings to Germany president-elect Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Steinmeier succeeds Joachim Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor and civil rights activist in the former East Germany.

Steinmeier, who was formerly a foreign minister, is from the center-left Christian Democratic Party.

Before the vote, Steinmeier said he would, if elected, work to counter a heightened sense of insecurity in today's society.

"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.

They reluctantly threw their weight behind Steinmeier after criticizing his uncharacteristically sharp comments about Trump, made during the US presidential campaign past year.

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

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Steinmeier, one of Germany's well known politicians, have served twice as foreign minister, from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 until this year.

"Isn't it a wonderful thing that Germany has become an anchor for hope for many people around the world?" said Steinmeier.

He said the world faces "rough times", but that Germany, as a functioning democracy, had the responsibility to fight for stability.

For German chancellor Angela Merkel, Sunday was a bittersweet moment for two reasons. The Social Democrats hope to thwart Merkel's fourth bid in the vote as the coalition partners have announced that they want to finally end the so-called grand coalition.

The president used to be a foreign minister and is very popular.

"It is hardly surprising that Steinmeier has branded himself as the essential anti-Trump", he added. And in 2007, he was appointed vice chancellor in the grand coalition.

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