Germany’s Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and conservative opposition leader Angela Merkel have taken part in their last TV debate ahead of elections on Sunday.
While attacking Schroeder’s record in office, Merkel maintained she would name Paul Kirchhof finance minister if she won, despite controversy about his suitability for the job.
Schroeder, who is still behind Merkel in the polls, defended his time in the job and the need to continue with reforms.
“The question is not who is better in the debate,” said one man who watched the programme, “ but who can govern the country better. Therefore I think Angela Merkel is far ahead. The problem is that Schroeder acts much more confident on television given his seven years’ experience in government.”
Both candidates are optimistic of victory and determined to fight right up until the end.
Meanwhile, the German media is considering the implications of a late vote in the eastern city of Dresden.
People there will go to the polls two weeks later due to the death of a candidate.
The nation’s constitutional court has been asked to review the situation, with some claiming a delayed election could make the national vote illegal.
The problem lies in whether the national election results should be made known on Sunday; some observers say this may influence voters in Dresden before they go to the ballot box.