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German state election litmus test for national vote next year

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German state election litmus test for national vote next year

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If the opinion polls are to be believed, the voters in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein are set to give a boost to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats ahead of next year’s national elections.

However, commentators warn that while Schroeder’s party heads the polls the vote is far from being a foregone conclusion. High unemployment and an emerging visa scandal has got the Social Democrats and their Green Coalition partners a little nervous that the vote will not be the shoo-in it might have been. It might all come down to the personalities of the candidates. Heide Simonis, who leads the governing state coalition, is currently polling at 46 percent. That is against 44 percent for the opposition coalition led by the gaffe-prone Peter Harry Carstensen.