Schroder's Nervous Days

Germany's Chancellor loses local elections in its political stronghold, but he vows to fight on

Just how doomed is German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's political future? His party, the Social Democrats, suffered a decisive election defeat last week in the party's longtime stronghold of North Rhine-Westphalia—a loss so humiliating, the country's media likened it to George W. Bush's losing Texas. But once the returns were in, Schröder shocked the country right back by putting his job on the line and calling for national elections in September, a year earlier than originally scheduled. Was Schröder, who has served as Chancellor since 1998, cannily distracting voters from his party's loss or, as a commentator put it, committing "political suicide...

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