"The decision of the CDU to label Steinmeier as a candidate for the Federal President's office and to characterize this choice as 'reasonable' is symptomatic to the desperate state of the CDU and consistently unreasonable," Jorg Meuthen, who is also the party's chairman in the southwestern Baden-Wurttemberg state, said in the statement.
AfD cited failures of the government's reforms to the welfare system under the Agenda 2010n championed by Steinmeier as Chancellor Gerhard Schroder's chief of staff and criticized Steimeier's foreign policy record, in particular, his voting against the resolution on recognition of the Armenian genocide in Bundestag this summer "in order not to expel potential voters for the SPD among Turks."
"Steinmeier did not even have the decency to congratulate the elected President of the United States and Brexit supporter Donald Trump on the election victory," AfD lawmaker Emil Sanze said.
During the US election campaign, Steinmeier said that possible victory by Trump was a "frightening" prospect for the world, and a day after Trump's surprisingly won he stated that transatlantic relations would become "more difficult".
The new German president will be elected on February 12 by a special assembly of lawmakers from Germany's 16 federal states. Other possible contenders for this largely ceremonial post that had been circulated in the media included conservative Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble and and Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.