Schroeder moving to history's ash-heap?
Let's hope so. The IHT has the latest. If he goes, that will mean that other than in Spain, politicians supporting the war in Iraq have done quite well. In Spain, a bungled cover-up of al-Queda's Madrid bombings cost the conservative PM his job.
The Social Democrats are beginning to look beyond the self-indulgent Schroeder. Unless the SPD wins all three seats in Dresden's delayed election, the pressure on Schroeder to drop out of the Chancellor's race will become intense.
The long knives of the SPD are surely being drawn; leftists are remarkable for the ferocity of their political infighting, so the political theater ought to be interesting. Throw in the fall political season in France, and it becomes must watch tv.
Germany's Social Democrats are calling into question the political future of their own chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, with some party leaders saying it is no longer a question of if, but when, Schröder will quit.The SPD had hoped that tossing the apple of discord in among the CDU would unseat Merkel as party head, thus costing Schroeder's enemy her job in exchange for his. Thankfully, no one in the CDU was foolish enough to pick it up.
That most likely would pave the way for Angela Merkel, the conservative leader, to become chancellor of Germany as head of a coalition of her Christian Democrats bloc and the Social Democrats.
Michael Müller, deputy parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, said Thursday that Schröder would resign soon. When asked when, he referred to the last parliamentary election set for Sunday in Dresden.
"I don't think it will be after Dresden," said Müller, who represents the left wing of the Social Democrats. "It could be after he has completed the negotiations for a grand coalition."
Schröder, who has vowed never to serve under Merkel as chancellor, has insisted he will remain in the post. But his own party is no longer so sure. [...]
Guido Westerwelle, leader of the pro-business Free Democrats, said Thursday the Dresden vote would hasten Schröder's exit. "I assume that will be the occasion for Schröder to make way," said Westerwelle. His hopes of becoming the junior partner in Merkel's conservative coalition were dashed because the center-right coalition failed to win a parliamentary majority.
Leading Social Democrats repeatedly have denied that Schröder was thinking of resigning. Franz Müntefering, parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats said over the past 10 days that Schröder would remain as chancellor. Then Schröder suggested that the job be split; he would serve the first two years and Merkel the next two, implying that he might then leave. The Christian Democrats rejected that idea.
In recent days, however, Schröder's future has become slowly untangled from Merkel's. One reason is the determination of the Christian Democrats, who for the moment are backing Merkel rather than be bullied by the Social Democrats into ditching her.
Wolfgang Schäuble, the influential deputy leader of the Christian Democrats parliamentary grouping, said in an interview: "The Social Democrats speculate that the union is not united. And there was speculation about a coalition without Merkel. They might even dream of a coalition without Merkel. This speculation will go nowhere. We will stay together."
"And when we construct the coalition, it will be under Chancellor Merkel," he said.
Merkel, whose political future appeared to hang in the balance after her party had its worst showing for several decades, has fought back with a determination to become chancellor. She would be the first woman to hold the position and one who was raised in communist East Germany. [...]
Merkel and her advisers have since set conditions for starting formal coalition talks with the Social Democrats, insisting that it recognize the Christian Democrats' right to nominate the chancellor. [...]
"The public accept the democratic results of the elections," Schäuble said. "The union did not have an overwhelming victory but they get more votes and seats than the Social Democrats and so it is up to us to nominate the chancellor." [...]
It doesn't get simpler than that. Schroeder can begin planning a graceful exit.