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Germany

Schröder Confirms No Confidence Vote

At a press conference on Thursday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder vowed to continue along his course of pushing for a series of controversial social and economic reforms, regardless of inner-party bickering. "I believe the path to reforms we have taken is the right one… and I will fight for it," he said. The vote of no confidence, which Schröder had called for several weeks ago, will take place on July 1 as planned and is the first step towards a general election scheduled for September. The vote of confidence, which Schröder is widely expected to lose, will not be tied to any specific legislative measure, but rather will stand on its own. The statement came after members from Schröder's ruling Social Democratic Party criticized President Horst Köhler for taking sides with the conservative opposition and pressing for Schröder's resignation rather than endorsing a vote of no confidence. Schröder, who met in a closed-door session with the president earlier Thursday, said he had complete trust in Köhler's bipartisan stance. Unlike the chancellor, the office of president is expected to remain outside of party politics and to have only the country's constitution as its governing principle. The question of linking new elections to a no-confidence vote has been debated in terms of its constitutionality and it is ultimately up to the president to approve such a measure.

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