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Germany

Gaging Germany's Voters

A mere 10 days before the German election, DW-WORLD called voters in all corners of the country to find out how they feel about the future. While some said they are ready for a change, others don't think it will help.

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Germans are having a hard time deciding which path to take

Together with his wife, Roswitha, Georg Dietrich runs a bed and breakfast on Baltrum, the smallest Eastern Frisian island. The election campaign is hardly noticeable there as people remain loyal to their party of choice, Dietrich said: "We don't have election posters here, we don't need them."

Dietrich said he has a critical view of what's going on in Berlin right now.

"What's happening there is doesn't amount to much right now," he said, adding that he's definitely going to vote. "We need change in Germany, we need a different government. It can't go on like this with the unemployment rates. Non-wage labor costs are killing everyone and there's nothing left at the end of the day."

But Dietrich said he believes that a new government will also struggle.

"It really doesn't matter who governs us right now," he said. "They all don't have their feet on the ground. They all don't know how normal people are doing."

Wattführer mit Wandergruppe im Wattenmeer vor der ostfriesischen Insel Baltrum

People walking in the tidal flats near Baltrum

Renate Bär is a retiree who lives in Neuruppin in the eastern German state of Brandenburg. She's also highly skeptical of the political process in Berlin.

"I'm interested in politics, but what can one say about the developments there?" she said, adding that she's disappointed.

"But even if you'd vote for someone else, nothing would change, I think," she said. "There won't be new jobs. Sometimes I ask myself what the government is really there for. But not going to vote doesn't make things better either."

But she added that she doesn't believe a change in government would help.

"Maybe it would even get worse," she said, adding that she also doesn't see the new Left Party as an alternative. "That's why I'll probably vote (for the Social Democrats) again."

Neuruppin Uferpromenade Brandenburg Deutschland

Neuruppin's skyline

Further south, Peter Kalus, a teacher in the Bavarian town of Utting, said he'd like to tell Chancellor Gerhard Schröder "to go back to where he came from."

"I wish we'd get a new government," he said, adding that he also does not want Turkey to join the EU.

He expects the economy to improve after a change of government, adding that things in Bavaria are already much better than elsewhere in Germany.

"We live on an island of bliss," he said. "We haven't been damaged as much by the Social Democrats and the Greens."

But he said he'd rather see his state's premier, Edmund Stoiber, become chancellor instead of conservative candidate Angela Merkel.

Blick auf den oberbayerischen Ammersee (Landkreis Landsberg am Lech), aufgenommen am 23.7.2000. Aufnahmeort Utting Bayern

Utting sits on Ammersee lake

Heide Lemmerbrock is the mayor of Germany's smallest town, Wiedenborstel, in the northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein, which has a population of six people.

"I'm hoping that we'll save more money, that it will be possible to grow and promote innovation in order to lower unemployment," she said, adding that she wants to see a new government in Berlin. "I hope people's minds will change. I hope we'll manage to shake things up after a change of government."

Deutschland: Münstertal - Die Klosteranlage St. Trudpert im Münstertal

St. Trudpert monestary in Münstertal

Stefan Geiger is currently doing community service in Münstertal, in Germany's southwestern Black Forest region. He also plans to head to the polls.

"Politicians should agree more and fight less," he said, adding that he sees non-wage labor costs in Germany as the biggest problem.

"Companies leave the country -- there should be more incentives to keep them here," he said. But Geiger is also not certain that a change in government will do much.

"Quite frankly, I don't think that anyone can change anything," he said.

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