Schroeder and Merkel wrangle over TV debates

3rd August 2005, Comments 0 comments

3 August 2005, BERLIN - Negotiators for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his conservative front-runner Angela Merkel sat down with representatives of the nation's four main public and commercial broadcasters Wednesday to break a deadlock over the airing of campaign debates for the September 18 general election.

3 August 2005

BERLIN - Negotiators for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his conservative front-runner Angela Merkel sat down with representatives of the nation's four main public and commercial broadcasters Wednesday to break a deadlock over the airing of campaign debates for the September 18 general election.

At issue are Schroeder's demands for two nationally-aired debates.

Merkel, the centre-right leader widely tipped to win Germany's chancellorship in the general election, has insisted she will take part in only one television debate with Social Democratic incumbent Schroeder.

Citing what she called the "inordinate amount of time" that must be taken from a tight campaign schedule to prepare for such debates, she has indicated that she might withdraw completely, should Schroeder insist on two debates.

With the campaign well underway, the chancellor has accused Merkel of being afraid to face him and hinted through a spokesman that he would be prepared to appear at two debates all by himself.

The negotiations were called by ARD and ZDF public television and the RTL and Pro7/Sat 1 commercial broadcasters.

DPA

Subject: German news

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