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Germany

Schröder Makes Confidence Vote Official

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on Thursday officially informed the German parliament of his plan to call for a vote of confidence. A chancellory official told the parliament's so-called "council of elders" that Schröder planned to ask parliamentarians to vote on the matter on July 1. Schröder deliberately wants to fail in the vote in order to allow German President Horst Köhler to call new elections after the chancellor's Social Democratic Party lost a key state election in May. Köhler will have to weigh the matter carefully as some say that a deliberate attempt to fail in the vote could be seen as unconstitutional. New elections are likely to take place on Sept. 18. Schröder's challenger will be Angela Merkel, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, who is ahead in polls.

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