The German chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder looks set to lead his party’s campaigning for the next elections without the leader of the Greens, Joschka Fischer. The chancellor and the foreign minister usually campaign side-by-side as part of a Green and Social Democrat coalition. But Schroeder has announced that this time the democrats will go it alone in the hope of winning as many votes as possible for themselves.
Fischer now says he is counting on his party and its leaders to “stand together and be decisive” as the Greens battle to win votes. “I will tackle this task with enthusiasm and all my energy,” he said at a news conference.
Schroeder has called for an early federal election following a disastrous result for the social democrats in Sunday’s elections in North Rhine-Westphalia. The SPD had ruled there for nearly four decades, but suffered a crushing defeat by the Christian Democrats.
Schroeder is facing fierce competition from the conservatives. On Monday Angela Merkel is expected to be officially chosen as their candidate and is looking a promising prospect for Germany’s first woman chancellor. A fresh poll has her party leading at 53 per cent, ahead of the ruling coalition, which scored just 37 per cent.