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Germany

Fischer Slides in Popularity Ratings

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer lost his standing as Germany's most popular politician for the first time in three years in a key poll Friday amid a mounting scandal over illegal immigration. The Politbarometer published by public broadcaster ZDF showed that the affair over the abuse of tourist visas by eastern European criminal gangs between 2000 and 2003 was taking a political toll. After more than three years leading the ranks of Germany's "top 10 most popular political officials," Fischer slipped to second place with a rating of 0.8 on a five-point scale, down by half from the 1.6 he tallied last month. He was bested by Lower Saxony state premier Christian Wulff of the conservative opposition Christian Democrats, who has been considered a dark-horse candidate for the chancellery in next year's general election.

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