CDU hails Polish vote - Schroeder 'no comment'

26th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

26 September 2005, BERLIN - Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, who won the most votes in German elections, on Monday hailed the conservative winners of Polish elections while Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's outgoing centre-left Berlin government said "no comment". "We are convinced a Christian Democratic-led government in Germany and a centre-right coalition in Poland will lead to a clear improvement in German-Polish relations," said Friedbert Pflueger, a foreign policy expert for Merkel's Christian Democ

26 September 2005

BERLIN - Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, who won the most votes in German elections, on Monday hailed the conservative winners of Polish elections while Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's outgoing centre-left Berlin government said "no comment".

"We are convinced a Christian Democratic-led government in Germany and a centre-right coalition in Poland will lead to a clear improvement in German-Polish relations," said Friedbert Pflueger, a foreign policy expert for Merkel's Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU).

Pflueger called for closer future consultations between Germany and Poland on European Union (E.U.) issues.

Ties between Warsaw and Berlin have been strained in recent years over a series of issues.

These include discord over the Iraq war which Poland backed and Germany strongly opposed; disagreement over the E.U. constitution; Polish anger over plans by ethnic Germans expelled from Poland in 1945 to open a centre against expulsion in Berlin; and Polish fears over calls by some expellees for lawsuits to get back former properties.

Contrasting the CDU/CSU's warm words, Chancellor Schroeder's spokesman did not even raise Poland's Sunday parliamentary elections at his regular government briefing until asked to do so by reporters.

"It's not yet final," said Berlin's chief spokesman Bela Anda in response to Polish voters forcing out the ruling ex-communists and handing victory to the conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), which won 26.8 per cent of the vote ahead of the liberal Civic Platform (PO) which got 24.2 per cent.

The two parties, with roots in the 1980s Solidarity anti-communist opposition, plan to set up a coalition government.

Anda would only say Germany was closely watching developments in Poland. He added that Berlin did not generally comment on parliamentary election results.

But the real view of Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) was made clear in a statement by Markus Meckel who briefly served as the first and last freely elected foreign minister of former East Germany in 1990 before the German reunification that year.

"I view the overall election results with concern," said Meckel who warned that the PiS had run a "nationalist and populist" election campaign by staking out "anti-European Union and also anti-German positions."

Meckel warned that ties between Germany and Poland "will certainly not get easier with this result".

Both Angela Merkel and Gerhard Schroeder are still battling over who will be the next German leader but given Merkel's plurality of 225 seats in parliament to Schroeder's 222, she is tipped as being more likely to head the next government.

DPA

Subject: German news

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