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SPD slumps, opposition withbig majority in latest poll

30 March 2005

BERLIN – Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats have fallen to their lowest approval ratings so far this year, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday.

The chancellor’s Social Democrats (SPD) would currently win just 28 percent with their Greens coalition ally at 8 percent, said the weekly Stern magazine and RTL TV poll.

The main opposition Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) are at 46 percent and their likely Free Democratic Party (FDP) ally would currently get 8 percent, the poll said.

This means the conservative opposition has expanded its lead to 54 percent, compared to 36 percent for Schroeder’s ruling centre-left government.

Schroeder had hoped a jobs summit he hosted with the opposition earlier this month, which agreed a corporate tax cut, would give his government a boost.

But the meeting was marred by the failure on the same day of the SPD premier in Schleswig-Holstein state, Heide Simonis, to win re- election in parliament after being betrayed by a member of her party in a secret ballot.

In a major setback for Schroeder, the state now looks likely to be run by a grand coalition headed by the CDU.

Schroeder’s SPD faces its next big election test in North Rhine- Westphalia state on 22 May where the incumbent government is an exact copy of the SPD-Greens alliance ruling in Berlin.

Polls show the SPD is heading for defeat in the key state which it has ruled for almost the past four decades.

Schroeder says he plans to seek re-election in Germany’s autumn 2006 general election.


Subject: German news