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Germany

Failing Popular Support "Depresses" Schröder

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has expressed concern about the collapse in popularity of his Social Democrat Party (SPD) but vowed the party would stick to its unpopular socio-economic reform drive.

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Not having the best of times

"The figures are depressing," Schröder said in an interview with the German public broadcaster ARD, which released a benchmark survey showing support for the SPD to be at its lowest level ever.

"We are undoubtedly in trouble but I am sure this reform process is necessary and that we will be successful," said the chancellor.

If a general election were to take place now, the SPD would win just 23 percent of the vote, according to the survey carried out by the Infratest dimap institute.

Seventy-five percent of respondents felt the government had not done enough to explain its so-called Agenda 2010 program of social welfare cuts.

The Greens, the junior partner in the governing coalition, meanwhile clocked up their best poll score since 1997, with 13 percent of voting intentions.

The Christian Democrats (CDU) emerged as the leaders in the poll, with the support of 45 percent of respondents, while both the liberal FDP party and the reformed communists of the PDS won 7 percent.

Schröder's SPD won just 21.5 percent of the vote in last month's European Parliament election, a steep slide from the 30.7 percent it scored in the last EU assembly vote in 1999 and its worst outcome since World War II.

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