Schroeder will hold debate'by myself' if necessary

1st August 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 August 2005, BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Monday said he would be willing to stage two nationally televised debates "by myself if needs be" should conservative challenger Angela Merkel refuse to participate.

1 August 2005

BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Monday said he would be willing to stage two nationally televised debates "by myself if needs be" should conservative challenger Angela Merkel refuse to participate.

His remarks came after representatives for both the Schroeder and Merkel teams failed to make headway in weekend talks with four national television networks on whether the two standard bearers will square off in two debates, or only one.

Merkel, the centre-right leader widely tipped to win Germany's chancellorship in the September 18 general election, has insisted she will take part in only one television debate with Social Democratic incumbent Schroeder.

The chancellor's spokesman suggested Monday that Merkel "might be a bit wary" about her political chances against media-savvy Schroeder.

"The chancellor is prepared to appear at two debates by himself if needs be," said spokesman Bela Anda.

The negotiations, called by ARD and ZDF public television and the RTL and Pro7/Sat 1 commercial broadcasters, are to continue on Wednesday.

Merkel has said she fears preparing for two debates would take too much time and energy away from the campaign itself.

DPA

Subject: German news

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