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Germany

Court to Rule on First Election Challenge

Germany's Constitutional Court will rule on August 9 on the first legal challenge aimed at preventing September general elections, according to Hans-Peter Schneider, a lawyer whose client filed the complaint on Friday. Jelena Hoffmann, a parliamentarian and member of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats, filed the challenge to the country's highest court. Another challenge will be submitted on Monday by the Green party parliamentarian Werner Schulz, his lawyer Wolf-Rüdiger Schenke said. The two are objecting to the reasons put forward by Schröder to force a confidence vote which led to elections being called one year ahead of schedule. Schröder said he wanted early elections because he needed a new mandate to continue implementing a series of controversial reforms to the economy and the labor market, and claimed he had lost the support of his ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens. Hoffmann disputes this and accuses the chancellor of a dishonest approach. Most experts expect the constitutional court to reject the challenges and side with President Horst Köhler who ruled this month that the election could go-ahead because it was the best thing for Germany and its struggling economy.

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