It is a vote that makes history in modern-day Germany. Members of the lower house of parliament have approved a law giving the government power to take control of banks hit by the financial crisis. The temporary legislation gives the state the right to seize all shares in stricken banks.
It is anticipated the move will only be used for Berlin to take over ailing lender Hypo Real Estate. It has received 102 billion euros in guarantees from the state and fellow banks but its financial condition remains uncertain. Some 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, this step is highly controversial in Germany. It is linked in many minds to seizures of property by East German communists and earlier by the Nazis.