Frank-Walter Steinmeier Assumes Office As German President

Frank-Walter Steinmeier became Germany's new president on Sunday after a symbolic transfer of power from his predecessor, Joachim Gauck. The former foreign minister has taken on the largely ceremonial role during what promises to be Germany's most intense election campaign in decades.
On Steinmeier's first day in office, he and his wife Elke Büdenbender were greeted by Gauck and his partner Daniela Schadt on the steps of the presidential residence, Berlin's Bellevue Palace. The leaders declined to give details about the ensuing half-hour conversation, though it was likely advice from Gauck's five-year term in office.
The Social Democrat (SPD) politician was elected 12th president of the federal republic by parliament on February 12 after Gauck declined to take on a second term due to his advanced age of 77. (DW)