Shaky Alliances

Ever since German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder announced plans in May for snap elections this fall, it was a given that Angela Merkel would boot the Social Democrats out of office. But now, with the campaign in full swing, it's beginning to look as though her only option will be to form a cumbersome grand coalition with her political opponents.

For now, Merkel's Christian Democrats (cdu) are still ahead of Schröder's Social Democrats — by 13 points in the Election Research Group's latest weekly poll for zdf television. But missteps by the cdu and its sister party,...

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