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Germany

Schröder's Coalition Ahead of Opposition

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens moved ahead of the opposition alliance for the first time in about two years, according to an opinion poll Thursday. The poll found that the coalition would win 46 percent if a general election were held this week, compared to 45 percent for the opposition Christian Union alliance and liberal Free Democrats together. The alliance, made up of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the smaller Christian Social Union (CSU), would poll 38 percent. The survey found the Social Democrats (SPD) would score 34 percent, with the Greens garnering 12 percent. The Infratest dimap institute conducted the survey Monday and Tuesday on 1,002 registered voters. The SPD saw their support decline faster than any other party since World War II after they narrowly won the last general election in 2002, amid consistently high unemployment and a moribund economy. But despite Schröder's controversial social and economic reform program, much of it to be introduced on Jan. 1, party backing is improving. The conservative opposition is now seeing its popularity wane as a new vote approaches in 2006, and a number of senior CDU officials have resigned in recent weeks amid party infighting.

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