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Germany rejects legal challenge to ESM ruling

Germany's Constitutional Court has rejected a last-minute bid to postpone its decision on the legality of the eurozone's bailout fund. The court will rule on the European Stability Mechanism as scheduled on Wednesday.

Germany's high court in Karlsruhe said it would not postpone its long-awaited ruling, despite a last minute challenge from eurosceptic politician Peter Gauweiler.

Gauweiler, a backbench lawmaker in Chancellor Merkel's conservative bloc, formalized his complaint last week after the European Central Bank unveiled a program to buy government bonds. Alongside a number of other opponents, Gauweiler had argued that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the European fiscal pact would violate Germany's constitution. They say it would result in Berlin no longer having complete control over budgetary decisions.

But in a short statement issued on Tuesday, the Federal Constitutional Court said it would nevertheless go ahead with its long-anticipated ruling. On Wednesday the court will decide whether to issue an injunction preventing Germany's president from ratifying the country's participation in the ESM and fiscal pact.

The Bundestag approved both measures in a parliamentary session two months ago, but President Joachim Gauck delayed signing the legislation into law after a number of legal challenges were filed against it.

Should the Karlsruhe-based Constitutional Court rule against the ESM and the fiscal pact, both will be essentially rendered dead in the water, and the eurozone will be left without the cornerstone of its strategy to combat the sovereign debt crisis.

ccp/sej (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)