Doubts are growing over Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s plan to engineer an early election in Germany ahead of a confidence vote in parliament tomorrow that he wants to lose.
He has asked members of his Social Democrats-Greens coalition to abstain, in theory ensuring defeat at the hands of the opposition conservatives.
Once parliament is dissolved by the president, Schroeder will be free to call an early general election.
But his own MPs have voiced concern about the constitutional legitimacy of the vote.
Opinion polls show the opposition CDU way ahead with leader Angela Merkel on course to become the country’s first female leader.
Schroeder’s rationale for holding the vote is that his government no longer has the parliamentary support to make its policies law.
But the evidence says otherwise – his coalition has pushed through dozens of bills in just the past week.