Election puts Germany into political chaos

Sept. 19, 2005 at 7:39 AM

BERLIN, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Germany's weekend national election created chaos Monday with both incumbent and challenger claiming victory and a plunging stock market.

The latest results gave conservative challenger Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union 35.2 per cent of the votes, a 0.9 percentage point lead over Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, but her party failed to win a majority for its preferred coalition with the liberal Free Democratic Party.

The figures make Merkel's CDU party the biggest faction in Parliament, with 225 seats to Schoeder's Social Democrats' 222.

Monday, the Xetra Dax index fell 2.2 per cent in early trading, pulling Europe's other markets down as well. The euro also suffered a modest fall in early trading, the Financial Times reported.

Despite the failure of any single party or coalition to secure a majority, both Schroeder and Merkel claimed they had each won a mandate to form the next government, Deutsche Welle reported.

Merkel said she had the upper hand and would negotiate with all the major parties on creating a coalition, while Schroeder said, "I am certain that there will be a government under my leadership in the next four years."

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