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Germany

SPD Backs Schröder

The Social Democratic Party re-elects Chancellor Schröder as its leader.

Delegates at the SPD party congress in Nürnberg bolstered Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, giving him 88.6 percent of the votes for party leader. The outcome is a strong endorsement just days after the controversial vote in parliament over his decision to mobilize German soldiers for the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

A visibly relieved Schröder said the election results were a confirmation of his work. "I know that I have your confidence and am proud of this fact," he told the delegates.

Running unchallenged, Schröder got a larger majority than in the last ballot two years ago. In 1999, he won 86.3 percent.

The party chairman is elected for a two-year term.

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