After coalition talks to form a new government unexpectedly collapsed late on Sunday, dealing a blow to longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel, it was President Steinmeier — a man more accustomed to unveiling monuments than dirtying his hands with parliamentary politics — who was given the unenviable task of restoring order.
This week he’s meeting with five party leaders, urging them to restart talks — or begin new ones.
If they refuse, Steinmeier is the man who could set the country on a complicated path to new elections — unprecedented in post-war German history.
“Courage is the lifeblood of democracy,” he said in his first speech as President in March this year. He’ll need plenty of that in the days and weeks ahead.
So who is Frank-Walter Steinmeier?