German elections - 23 September, 2002

Gerhard Schroeder and Edmund Stoiber go into today’s legislative elections in Germany neck-and-neck. The postal votes of emigrants could win the day. On the table is Schroeder’s promise of more jobs, the second time round, and Stoiber’s claim of competence to handle the German economy.

Germany’s 61.2 million voters will choose their Chancellor today (Sunday) in the hottest elections the country has known. After Schroeder (PDS, Social Democrats, Centre-left) failed to deliver on his promise of “Work, work, work” at the last election, his main rival, Stoiber (CDU-CSU, Christian Democrats, Conservatives), played the “competence” trump card, but maybe too early. The flood factor may have helped Schroeder, who as Chancellor, had the lion’s share of media coverage during the country’s recent disaster.

The most recent opinion polls gave a slight advantage to Schroeder, by 38.5% to 39.5% against the 37% to 38% of voting intentions in favour of Stoiber. The flood factor might give Schroeder a new lease of life, but certainly it will be his last chance.


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