It is so far so good for German leader Gerhard Schroeder in his bid to bring about an early general election.Just as the Chancellor intended, he lost a parliamentary vote of confidence – paving the way for polls a year ahead of schedule. But whether they go ahead now depends on the German president who will decide if sufficient grounds exist to call a national ballot.
Angela Merkel would win any such election, according to opinion polls. The conservative oppostion leader would then step into Schroeder’s shoes, becoming the first woman to take on the job of Chancellor. Surveys indicate 70 percent of Germans support early elections. One man interviewed on the streets of Berlin criticized the Social Democrat Chancellor and applauded his defeat in the parliamentary vote of confidence.“He said years ago: ‘with me everything will be better,’ but things are getting worse.” Another man was unenthusiastic, whatever the outcome of any fresh ballot.“Nothing will change with another person,” he said. Under pressure over high unemployment, unpopular reforms and a string of local election defeats, Gerhard Schroeder says he needs a new mandate. But even if the president decides to dissolve parliament, setting the stage for a poll in September, the final say could rest with Germany’s Constitutional Court.