Schroeder election plans may have no legal basis

21st June 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 June 2005, BERLIN - A former German supreme court chief justice cautioned on Tuesday against assuming that embattled Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will have legal grounds for calling an early general election in September.

21 June 2005

BERLIN - A former German supreme court chief justice cautioned on Tuesday against assuming that embattled Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will have legal grounds for calling an early general election in September.

Ernst Benda, one-time president of the Federal Constitutional Court, hinted that there may in fact turn out to be no legal basis for holding the general election a year ahead of time.

"The whole issue of a new election is as yet undecided," Benda told Die Welt newspaper in an interview due to hit newsstands on Wednesday.

"It would be premature to act as though everything has been decided to the Chancellor's satisfaction," Benda said.

Schroeder has said he plans to ask his own centre-left coalition of Social Democrats and Greens to ask for a vote of no confidence on July 1 and then vote against him, paving the way for a new election in September.

But legal experts have warned that the German constitution makes no provision for a government voting itself out of power in such a way.

It is not entirely certain whether German President Horst Koehler would recognise such a vote of no confidence and agree to call a new election.

Amid the legal confusion, Koehler summoned leaders of the nation's major political parties on Tuesday to discuss Schroeder's plans. No details of the talks were disclosed.

DPA

Subject: German news

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