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The Christian Democrats' skin-of-their-teeth victory gives Helmut Kohl a fourth term, but the narrow parliamentary majority threatens Kohl's ability to govern. The Christian Democrats come-from-behind victory actually saved the Chancellor's political career. "This campaign revolved around Kohl," says TIME Bonn bureau chief Bruce van Voorst. "The Christian Democrats offered not a new ideal, but Kohl as a symbol of stability and reliability. There were posters that had nothing on them but Kohl." The conservative architect of German reunification succeeded in edging out the rival Social Democrats by just 10 seats, down from a comfortable 134-seat margin in the last round of voting four years ago. Says Van Voorst: the election was less a rebuke to Kohl's policies than a signal that voters felt he'd hogged center stage too long.