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Germany

Bundestag Comedy Club

Chancellor Schröder asked to be fired, and the parliament obliged. But who would've thought that a confidence vote in the German parliament would be so much fun? Do Germans actually have a sense of humor?

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Watch out, Gerhard! Angela can really make them laugh

In her impassioned speech, during the vote of confidence in the German parliament, Angela Merkel, the chancellor candidate of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), in the forthcoming elections, made sure she was extremely clear about her position.

"Red-Green can no longer rule our country," announced Merkel, referring to the ruling coalition of Chancellor Schröder's Social Democrats (SPD) with the Green party.

"PDS should not rule our country," Merkel said about the Party of Democratic Socialism, the successor to the East German Communist Party.

The only way for Germany out of its current crisis, according to Merkel, was a coalition of "CDU/CSU together with SPD."

A grand coalition with Schröder's party?

Vertrauensfrage Bundestag Angela Merkel

Was Angela as amused as everybody else?

For a split second, the jaws dropped and hearts stopped beating. Was Frau Merkel really proposing a coalition with her arch-enemy?

No, hell was not freezing over. The parliament members cracked up as a sign of relief when they realized it was all a slip of the tongue. Frau Merkel corrected herself and named her actual "dream coalition partner," the Free Democratic Party (FDP), with a smile on her face, repeating the whole sentence to make sure she was not misunderstood.

SPD party chief, Franz Münterfering was quick to respond, asking the president of the German parliament, Wolfgang Thierse, to strike Merkel's slip of the tongue out of the session protocol.

"Otherwise, this would really screw up my whole campaign," Müntefering said.

During her speech, Merkel also surprisingly complimented SPD for its "competence," although it became clear immediately that she actually meant to say "incompetence."

Wishful thinking

If Freud were alive today, he'd be claiming this was yet another example of the way in which a slip of the tongue can reveal our innermost desires, shedding light on the secrets we often keep from ourselves.

Vertrauensfrage Bundestag Gerhard Schröder und Joschka Fischer

She wants a coalition with us? I can't really believe this.

But it really could've been much worse. Angela could have called Schröder "my husband," the way Condoleezza Rice, now US Secretary of State, was reported to have called President Bush at a dinner party in Washington, DC a year ago.

President Bush is himself known for his often hilarious slips of the tongue. Perhaps Merkel was only trying to cozy up to Dubya in a first stateswoman-like effort to mend transatlantic ties.

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