Schroeder asks own coalitionto abstain during key vote

29th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 June 2005, BERLIN - Embattled German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday issued an appeal to MPs of his own centre-left coalition to abstain from voting in Friday's scheduled no-confidence vote in the Bundestag parliament. Faced with a number of Social Democrats and Greens who object to his call for an early general election, Schroeder was in the awkward position of asking his own party and coalition partners at a cabinet meeting in Berlin Wednesday to send him down to defeat in Friday's vote. Exp

29 June 2005

BERLIN - Embattled German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday issued an appeal to MPs of his own centre-left coalition to abstain from voting in Friday's scheduled no-confidence vote in the Bundestag parliament.

Faced with a number of Social Democrats and Greens who object to his call for an early general election, Schroeder was in the awkward position of asking his own party and coalition partners at a cabinet meeting in Berlin Wednesday to send him down to defeat in Friday's vote.

Explaining his rationale, Schroeder reportedly told MPs he would base the vote on the issue of his government's "inability to act effectively" following a string of embarrassing election setbacks in key states in recent months.

Schroeder's spokesman Béla Anda declined to confirm that report, saying only that the chancellor would reveal the reasons for the no-confidence vote on Friday.

If, as he hopes, Schroeder loses the vote of no-confidence on Friday, he will immediately ask German President Horst Koehler to dissolve parliament and call for a general election on September 18. Koehler has 21 days in which to do so.

Despite dissent from SPD and Greens MPs, sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur it seemed likely that the no-confidence vote will go the way Schroeder wants it to go - that is, against him.

However, at least four of the 304 coalition MPs have vowed to vote to keep Schroeder in power, saying they object to what they call a "pseudo-legal" bid to bring about a general election.

There are 601 delegates to the Bundestag.

Schroeder travelled to Washington Monday weakened by his widely expected defeat in the general election.

Polls show Schroeder trailing Angela Merkel's opposition conservative bloc by up to 20 percentage points.

Still, the Chancellor is not nicknamed the comeback kid for nothing. In 2002 he stormed from behind and narrowly won re-election after using fierce opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war to rally support.

DPA

Subject: German news

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