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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 October 2005, 22:33 GMT 23:33 UK
German CDU boosted by final win
Angela Merkel in Dresden
Angela Merkel campaigned in Dresden, as did Mr Schroeder
Germany's Christian Democrats (CDU) have won the last seat in the country's inconclusive general election.

The result in the eastern city of Dresden means the CDU increases its narrow lead over the Social Democrats (SPD) by one seat.

Both CDU leader Angela Merkel and current Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder hoped for a win to boost their chances of leading a governing coalition.

The Dresden vote was postponed when a candidate died during the campaign.

Neither the CDU or SPD secured a working majority in last month's poll. They are edging towards a grand coalition, but each camp is claiming the chancellorship.

The CDU and its CSU sister party now have 226 seats in the new parliament, while the SPD has 222.

The BBC's Ray Furlong in Berlin says the result will have little impact on the coalition talks beyond giving the conservatives a slight psychological boost.

Close call

Both Mr Schroeder and Mrs Merkel campaigned personally in Dresden on Friday.

Mrs Merkel attacked her rival's record in seven years of government, saying Germany needed "new policies" to counter job losses.

NEW BUNDESTAG
1. Christian Democrats/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU): 226
2. Social Democrats (SPD): 222
3. Free Democrats (FDP): 61
4. Left Party: 54
5. Greens: 51
"When the polling stations close in Dresden, I am certain that the chancellor will gradually see that too," she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Schroeder accused Mrs Merkel of spreading pessimism and said Germany needed his party back in power to pursue its policies, particularly economic reforms.

He told supporters: "It is important that the Social Democrats become stronger."

There have bee suggestions that Mr Schroeder could pull out of the fight to remain chancellor within days, but there are no assurances that the SPD would accept Ms Merkel in the job, our correspondent adds.

In the last election in 2002, the Dresden district elected a CDU politician by a narrow margin.




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Watch the Christian Democrats celebrating at the news



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