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Germany's presidential election has started, with three candidates competing for the position serving as a ceremonial head of state.
A federal assembly, formed by 1,244 delegates from both houses of parliament and states will elect the president. Candidate Christian Wulff, who was nominated by Chancellor Angela Merkel, has the best chance to win. His major competitor is Joachim Gauck, nominated by the major opposition. The third candidate is nominated by the Left party. Wednesday's election follows former President Horst Koehler's resignation on May 31 over controversial remarks about the Afghanistan war. This election is seen as a serious test for Angela Merkel's troubled government.