Elections green light due from high court: report

15th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 August 2005, BERLIN - Germany's highest court is set to give a final green light for national elections called for September 18 by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a report said Saturday.

15 August 2005

BERLIN - Germany's highest court is set to give a final green light for national elections called for September 18 by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a report said Saturday.

The weekly Der Spiegel - citing sources in Germany's Federal Constitutional Court - says there appears no chance the chamber will muster an election-blocking majority of five judges.

At least four of the court's eight judges already appear to back early elections with only one judge opposing the move, said the magazine.

Following Schroeder's decision to seek an early vote, the first hurdle was cleared last month when Federal President Horst Koehler approved the move.

But two members of Schroeder's own Social Democratic-Greens coalition lodged complaints with the high court, saying that the Chancellor still had a slim parliamentary majority and that early elections were thus unconstitutional.

In a related election development, arch-conservative Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber who drew anger for dubbing eastern Germans as "frustrated" and saying he did not want them to decide the election, was back in the news again with another gaffe.

Stoiber allegedly referred to backers of a new Left Party comprised of former East Germany's neo-communists and the smaller western WASG leftist movement, as "stupid cattle".

According to Der Spiegel, Stoiber told a rally in Bavaria on August 5 it was unbelievable that eastern Germans could vote for WASG figurehead, Oskar Lafontaine, who as the former leader of Schroeder's SPD largely opposed the 1990 German reunification.

"Have they gone crazy? Only the most stupid cattle vote for their butchers themselves," said Stoiber as quoted by Der Spiegel.

An opinion poll on Friday gave opposition Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) challenger Angela Merkel a slim 50 per cent majority with her designated Free Democratic (FDP) ally.

Schroeder's ruling Social Democratic (SPD)-Greens government continues to trail with 38 per cent, the poll showed.

The Left Party is at 9 per cent, the poll showed. This is down from highs of up to 13 per cent in other recent voter surveys.

But with Merkel's dipping support, some observers predict the Stoiber stumbles may hinder her from mustering a majority in parliament on election day.

This could force creation of a grand coalition of Merkel's CDU/CSU with Schroeder's SPD - which both leaders insist they do not want.

DPA

Subject: German news

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