The speaker of Germany's parliament says a new president will be elected by lawmakers on June 30.
Speaker Norbert Lammert called the session of a special assembly that elects the head of state Tuesday — one day after the shock resignation of President Horst Koehler. A new president must be elected within 30 days and Lammert arranged the election for the last possible day in that timeframe, The Associated Press says.
Merkel is already battling a euro zone debt crisis, sinking popularity and an increasingly awkward coalition partner.
Now she will have to find a new and successful candidate for president. Her conservatives had backed Koehler for re-election by a special assembly last year. The German President is responsible for signing bills into law but the role is largely ceremonial, NTDTV reports.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko had a telephone conversation with US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan