Tiny party holds balance after state poll

1st March 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 March 2005, KIEL - In an unprecedented move, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats have agreed to enter into negotiations with a tiny party representing ethnic Danes in a bid to break a political stalemate in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The SPD will seek tacit approval from the Southern Schleswig Electoral Union (SSW) for a minority government of Social Democrats and Greens. While prohibited by law from actually being part of a governing coalition, the ethnic grouping's two re

1 March 2005

KIEL - In an unprecedented move, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats have agreed to enter into negotiations with a tiny party representing ethnic Danes in a bid to break a political stalemate in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

The SPD will seek tacit approval from the Southern Schleswig Electoral Union (SSW) for a minority government of Social Democrats and Greens.

While prohibited by law from actually being part of a governing coalition, the ethnic grouping's two representatives in the Schleswig-Holstein state legislature could allow a SPD-Greens coalition to remain in power with one seat short of a bare majority.

The SPD and Greens lost their majority in a 20 February election in Germany's northernmost state, which borders on Denmark.

In that election, the opposition Christian Democrats and Free Democrats won 34 seats, one more than the coalition led by Premier Heide Simonis, but one short of a majority.

Simonis, 61, refused to concede defeat. The Social Democrat, known nationwide for wearing flamboyant hats, has led the state since 1993.

The state Christian Democrat (CDU) leader, Peter Harry Carstensen, predicted that he would be the state's next premier.

Even if the SPD holds on, the outcome is another setback for the Social Democrats at the national level.

Schroeder's SPD has fallen sharply in opinion surveys amid high unemployment and the unpopular social and labour reform programme put through by the Schroeder federal government, also a coalition with the Greens.

The chancellor's next test comes on 22 May in the heavily industrial state of North Rhine-Westphalia, traditionally an SPD bastion, where the party also shares power with the Greens.

DPA

Subject: German news 

 

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