The Germanys: Setting Back The Clock

Setting Back The Clock

Chancellor Helmut Kohl suffered a rare setback on the road to unity last week when he had to abandon plans to advance the first all-German elections from Dec. 2 to Oct. 14. Opponents charged that Kohl hoped that facing voters sooner rather than later would protect his Christian Democrats from the disillusion of the electorate as the costs of unification swell.

Moving the date, complained Oskar Lafontaine, the Social Democratic opposition's candidate for Chancellor, was a "deceptive maneuver." His party made it clear that it would block the two-thirds vote necessary to speed up elections. At that, the government dropped the...