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Germany

Feminist says Machos Cost Merkel Votes

Angela Merkel's failure to win a clear majority in the general election on Sunday. Alice Schwarzer, editor of the feminist magazine Emma, said she believed many of the supporters of Merkel's Christian Democrats who defected on voting day did so because they did not want a woman to become German chancellor. "Among the two million defectors there must surely have been some men who wanted to deny the female candidate a victory," Schwarzer told AFP. Merkel's conservatives won a slim victory over Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats, finishing with a three-seat advantage in parliament that is insufficient to form a government. The Christian Democrats held a double-digit lead over Schröder's party early in the election campaign but he won back support in the last weeks before the poll in a tour de force, closing the gap between their parties to less than one percent. Schwarzer said Schröder enjoyed a clear advantage over Merkel because the game of German politics was played by male rules. "It is everything from the deep voice to declaring his love for his wife in the television duel," she said, adding that he behaved like a bully towards his female challenger in one of their two TV debates." Schröder behaved like a towering tyrant who is not used to finding himself on an equal footing with a woman." The inconclusive result of the election has left Germany in political paralysis, with no party holding enough seats to rule and both Merkel and Schröder claiming the right to be chancellor.

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