Merkel coalition seeks joint candidate for German president

A senior figure in Germany's governing coalition says it will try to agree on a joint candidate to be the country's next president, but may not succeed amid tensions ahead of next year's parliamentary election.

President Joachim Gauck, who is 76, is stepping down. An assembly of lawmakers and representatives of Germany's states will elect his successor on Feb. 12.

That's about seven months before Germans elect a new government. The presidency is largely ceremonial but politicians' past choices have often sent political messages. Gauck is unusual in having no party affiliation.

Horst Seehofer, the leader of the conservative Christian Social Union, said Monday that Chancellor Angela Merkel's current coalition of center-right and center-left intends to nominate one candidate, "but there are rocky roads in politics between intention and agreement."