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Germany

Trial Against Chancellor-Slapper Delayed

The proceedings against a 52-year-old man who slapped Chancellor Gerhard Schröder during a Social Democratic Party (SPD) rally earlier this month have been postponed after the accused surprisingly announced he had taken a lawyer, contrary to earlier statements. The speedy trial was supposed to take place on Friday afternoon. But the new turn of events now means that a normal court trial will be held, the start of which can only be expected in a few months. German law foresees an accelerated legal process in cases where the affair can expect a quick decision in light of straightforward, clear evidence. Schröder was signing autographs at a party campaign event in Mannheim on May 18, when the man, an unemployed teacher from Saarland and an SPD member, approached him and slapped the chancellor with his right hand. Bodyguards immediately tackled the man and dragged him away. The attacker, who has since apologized to Schröder for the pain in a magazine interview, has said he wanted to campaign against Schröder because he was the "most miserable, unsuccessful and clueless chancellor" Germany had ever had.