Schroeder predicts Stoiber to be main challenger

10th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 January 2005 , WEIMAR - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder predicted on Monday that Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber would be his likely challenger from the opposition conservatives in Germany's 2006 general election. Schroeder told leaders of Social Democratic Party (SPD) that Stoiber had never recovered from his defeat in the 2002 election and that his "burning ambition was warming up." Only a year ago, Stoiber's opposition Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) was far ahead of Schroeder's SPD in the polls

10 January 2005 

WEIMAR - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder predicted on Monday that Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber would be his likely challenger from the opposition conservatives in Germany's 2006 general election.

Schroeder told leaders of Social Democratic Party (SPD) that Stoiber had never recovered from his defeat in the 2002 election and that his "burning ambition was warming up."

Only a year ago, Stoiber's opposition Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) was far ahead of Schroeder's SPD in the polls.

But support for the conservatives has melted amid ongoing wrangles between Stoiber, who heads the CSU, and CDU leader Angela Merkel, who is also keen to run against Schroeder in the next election. A final decision on the candidate is not expected until early 2006.

The CDU has also lost a number of top members in past months. Bitter infighting led to the resignation of respected finance expert, Friedrich Merz. A scandal over payments from private industry forced the resignation of the party's number two, Laurenz Meyer.

After having been at a solid 50 percent at the start of 2004, the CDU/CSU has steadily declined in popularity and last week hit 38 percent - its lowest rating since 2002.

Meanwhile, Schroeder's SPD has bounced back after historic lows of just over 20 per ent in the polls one year ago and is now at 33 percent, according the latest Infratest dimap poll for ARD television.

DPA

Subject: German news

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