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German Presidential Vote Set For March 18

Joachim Gauck has the backing of all government and major opposition parties for the post of president.
Germany's speaker of parliament says a special assembly will vote on March 18 on a successor to former President Christian Wulff who resigned on February 17.

The vote was announced by Speaker Norbert Lammert on February 20.

It is seen as a formality because Germany's governing parties and major opposition have agreed to jointly nominate Joachim Gauck, a former Protestant pastor in East Germany who opposed the communist regime.

Wulff resigned after prosecutors demanded his immunity be lifted over corruption allegations.

He was Chancellor Angela Merkel's handpicked choice for president.

On February 19, Merkel agreed to the nomination of Gauck after the junior partners in the ruling coalition, the Free Democrats, joined the opposition in backing him for the mostly ceremonial post.

Compiled from agency reports