Schroeder calls for early election

May 23, 2005 at 9:24 AM
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BERLIN, May 23 (UPI) -- Following a loss by his Social Democratic Party in Germany's most populous state, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has called for an early general election.

After 39 years of being in power, the Social Democratic Party lost to the opposition conservative Christian Democratic Union in the state election Sunday in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Nonetheless, the chancellor said he would seek renewed popular support for his move to the right via his social security and labor market reforms, the Financial Times reported Monday.

"With the bitter election result for my party in North Rhine-Westphalia the political support for our reforms to continue has been called into question," Schroeder said. Pursuing these policies required "clear support from a majority of Germans."

However, members of the Social Democrats have called for a move to the left to regain support within the party, before the national election scheduled to occur in four months.

The CDU, with its Liberal Democratic ally, was estimated to have gotten 51 percent of the vote, against 43.3 percent for the SPD and its Green coalition partner.

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