26 April 2004
MUNICH – German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says his controversial economic and social reforms will go ahead, even if it costs him his job in the next election, according to a published interview.
The interview in Monday’s Focus news magazine, quotes the chancellor as saying the reforms are crucial to the nation.
“The reforms are more important than I am,” he told the magazine.
Despite opinion polls showing Schroeder’s Social Democrats at an all-time low, he said he was confident his coalition would be returned to power in the 2006 general election.
“We’ll just have to wait and see whether the reform course results in defeat at the polls,” he said.
Schroeder vowed to push through reforms of pension and nursing care programmes this year, over objections from interest groups and trade unions which accuse him of dismantling the nation’s social services at the cost of the poor and the elderly.
Opinion surveys show the SPD has the backing of just 28 percent of the voters. Together with coalition partners the Greens at 12 percent, Schroeder would still be unable to muster a majority.
In contrast, the conservative Christian Democrats have 48 percent backing and, together with the centrist Free Democrats at 6 percent, would have a handy majority.
Subject: German news