Germany 'will have two female leaders'
Germany's labour minister is an early favourite for the presidential nomination -- a day after President Horst Koehler's surprise resignation, according to reports.
Ursula von der Leyen would become the country's first female president if nominated by Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government and then approved by lawmakers.
Ms Merkel launched a fast-track process to find a candidate. The new head of state has to be elected by June 30.
Following initial consultations between Mrs Merkel and her coalition partners, German news agency DAPD reported that Ms Von der Leyen appeared to be the chancellor's favourite candidate to replace Mr Koehler in the largely ceremonial post.
Ms Von der Leyen (52) is a member of Ms Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union. The mother of seven has served in Mrs Merkel's cabinet since 2005 and is considered a pragmatist. A coalition official told DAPD that Ms Merkel's party and its Bavarian-only sister party CSU support Ms von der Leyen. The third coalition partner, the Free Democrats, has yet to decide, DAPD reported.
Mr Koehler stepped down on Monday because of what he thought was unduly harsh criticism after an interview he gave on the German military's role in the world.