Monday, May 23, 2005

Schroeder Calls Early Elections in Germany

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder first popped up on my radar in 2002 when his Minister of Justice, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, compared Bush's foreign policy tactics to those of Adolf Hitler during a re-election campaign based largely on anti-American rhetoric.

"Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler used." - Herta Daeubler-Gmelin (BBC)

The rich irony in those words was their use by a German administration attempting to avoid discussions of an unemployment rate nearing ten percent and a budget deficit approaching five percent of GDP. I guess the tactics of Adolf Hitler die hard in Germany.

Chancellor Schroeder has called for a vote of confidence in the German Parliament, which could trigger a new election later this year if his government is defeated.

If parliament brings down Mr Schroeder's government, German President Horst Koehler will have 21 days to dissolve parliament.

After that, new elections must be held within 60 days - and therefore by mid-September. - BBC

If you read the BBC article, there does seem to be a focus on domestic issues that is threatening Gerhard Schroeder and his Social Democrat Party. It appears his anti-American platform is no longer enough to sustain him, and John Fund points this out in today's Opinion Journal.

Three years ago, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder cynically used opposition to liberating Iraq to play an anti-American card just before elections in which he trailed his Christian Democratic opponents. He barely won a second term. Yesterday, facing a likely loss in elections in Germany's largest state, North Rhine-Westphalia, his Social Democratic Party's union backers played another anti-American card, this time depicting U.S. investors as blood-sucking parasites. Social Democratic chairman Franz Muntefering compared hedge funds to "swarms of locusts." This time, the tactic failed. Mr. Schoeder's party went down to a stunning defeat, losing the largely working-class state, home to one out of five Germans, for the first time in nearly 40 years. Last night Mr. Schroeder announced he would hold national elections this fall, a year ahead of schedule.

READ MORE: Schroeder’s Social Democrats crushed in state elections at QandO Blog

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