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Germany

German Government on the Verge of Collapse?

The Red-Green coalition is wobbling precariously with Chancellor Schröder now threating to break with the Greens if he fails to get a majority within his own coalition.

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Schroeder has to brace himself for some trying times

The future of the present governing Red-Green coalition in Germany is hanging by a thread.

The rift between the Greens and the Social Democrats over the issue of mobilisation of 3,900 German troops in the ongoing war in Afghanistan is widening, and now Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has threatened to break with the Greens if his own coalition fails to provide a majority in Parliament.

Schröder will probably turn the row with his Greens coalition partners over German troops for Afghanistan into a confidence issue, according to a senior member of his Social Democratic party.

He will probably seek a parliamentary vote of confidence this week - only the fourth time a confidence vote has been called in the country's post-war history.

"The Chancellor sees no other possibility," said Erler, deputy head of the SPD's parliamentary group, ahead of a meeting of the party's left wing members.

About eight members of the Greens, Schröder's junior coalition partner, have said they will vote against the mobilization, making it highly unlikely for Schröder to get a government majority for the mission in a vote scheduled for Thursday.

Even though the Chancellor is sure to get broad parliamentary backing for the mission because the main opposition parties support sending German troops, failure to get a majority within his own "Red Green" coalition would damage Schröder's credibility.

Failure to win the parliamentary motion of confidence could spell the end of Schröder's three-year coalition with the Greens.

Schröder could then either try to call a new election, continue in office in a minority government or form a coalition either with the liberal Free Democrats or the conservative Christian Democrats.

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