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Germany

Schröder Plans Personalized Campaign

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats (SPD) will campaign for an expected general election without their current coalition partners the Greens, he has told a German newspaper. "During an election, everyone tries to win the most votes possible against every other opponent, that is self-evident," Schröder said in an interview to appear in Wednesday's edition of Die Zeit weekly broadsheet, according to an advance copy released on Tuesday. "That is not a refusal of the constellation in which we have worked so successfully together," Schröder added. "I want the SPD to be the strongest party." Schröder said his campaign would be heavily based around his personality. "I think we would do well to lead a very personalized debate, based on the two main candidates." Although his party trails the opposition conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the opinion polls, Schroeder enjoys greater popularity than CDU leader Angela Merkel. Schröder said he was preparing for a "an argumentative campaign and not a campaign which gets exhausted by negative ideas." The election is likely to take place Sept. 18.

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