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Germany

Schröder Hits Back at Lafontaine

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder lashed out at former Social Democratic chairman Oskar Lafontaine for using a new left-wing splinter party against him and for stirring "racist sentiment." In an interview with the SPD's monthly magazine Vorwärts, Schröder said Lafontaine had betrayed the SPD by forming a leftist alliance with the reform communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). The alliance garnered 11 percent support in a recent poll, posing an additional threat to the already embattled SPD should early elections be held this fall. Schröder added that he was alarmed by Lafontaine's use of racist jargon to attract votes from the extreme right. "What is especially telling is that the former SPD chairman is not only collaborating with the PDS, but he's also not shying away from stirring racist sentiment," Schröder said. In a recent speech, Lafontaine used the Nazi-tainted term "Fremdarbeiter" to describe foreign workers.

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