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Merkel's candidate narrowly wins the presidency

Rebellions in the ruling centre-right coalition forced presidential election into a close third roun

Christian Wulff, the candidate selected by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has won a tight election to become president of Germany.

Wulff, the state governor of Lower Saxony and deputy leader of Merkel's ruling Christian Democrat party, won a narrow victory in the third round of voting. Rebellions from the ruling coalition meant that Wulff failed to gain a majority over his opponent, Protestant pastor Joachim Gauck, in the first two rounds of voting.

After nine hours, Wulff eventually won with 625 votes to Gauck's 494. However, the marathon vote, which was the longest ever in Germany's history, is seen as a setback to Chancellor Merkel's authority, who was unable to command her coalition to back her candidate, despite having a majority in the Bundestag.