Merkel backs opposition's choice for president- sources

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 19, 2012 2:48 PM

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have backed popular opposition candidate and former East German rights activist Joachim Gauck to become president, senior coalition sources said on Sunday.

Merkel's backing effectively secures the largely ceremonial but influential post for Gauck, who already had the support of her junior coalition allies the Free Democrats (FDP) and the opposition Social Democrats (SPD).

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Thorsten Severin; Writing by Sarah Marsh)