It might be the middle of summer but Germany’s Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has no holiday plans. He has officially launched the Social Democrats election campaign at a rally in his home town of Hanover. The contest is due to be held next month subject to confirmation from Germany’s Supreme Court. Schroeder’s party is well behind the opposition Christian Democrats, but the Chancellor is confident of closing the gap.“We have a big job to complete and we must unite and not separate the country, “he said. “We have to reveal Edmund Stoiber’s ugliness and bad taste and show that Merkel will not be good for preserving the strength of our country,” Schroeder added. Polls suggest the opposition CDU will not win enough support for its leader, Angela Merkel, to become Chancellor. Senior Social Democrats have spoken of forming a grand coalition with the party, but if that happens Schroeder is unlikely to play any part in it.