German politics in English

Wortfeld, usually a German-language blog, has an entry in English describing the background to Schröder’s announcement of autumn elections. There are a large number of links.

As Alexander rightly says, the coverage of German matters in the English-language press is often not very good (and vice versa of course).

bq. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and SPD chairman Franz Müntefering have announced their intention to hold early elections. However, German constitutional law doesn’t make that as easy as in many other countries. Article 68 of Germany’s Basic Laws allows the (otherwise relatively powerless) President to dissolve the Bundestag if the Chancellor loses a vote of confidence. However, Schröder’s coalition holds 306 of currently 603 seats, so Schröder’s troops would have to lose deliberately. Helmut Kohl did that in 1982, with early elections in early 1983 instead of late 1984. The Constitutional Court wasn’t too happy with this creative approach (full decision in German), but ultimately didn’t stop it (and will not do so this time), since all Bundestag parties agreed.

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