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Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Schroeder victory: Your reaction
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Red-Green coalition has won the general elections with a razor-thin majority.
The preliminary official results - giving Mr Schroeder's Social Democrats and the Greens 47.1% of the vote - came after a night of drama which earlier saw his conservative opponent, Edmund Stoiber, claiming the victory.
It was Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's confident handling of the flood crisis earlier this year that probably did most to bring about the SPD's recovery in the polls.
The Greens have made strong gains - attributed to charismatic Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.
The Liberals (FDP) suffered after an anti-semitism row sparked by Juergen Moellemann.
What is your reaction to the German election result?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The elections are over in Germany.
Now, if Schroeder does not support
the US in its war against Iraq,
would there be a request from
USA and UK for a regime change
in Germany too?
I hope Schroeder leads global opposition to the pre-emptive attack on Iraq. There is no opposition party in the US, nor apparently the UK or Europe.
Sharon Lohse, Spain
Congratulations to Germany, a country with prominent national politicians who are capable of articulating public opinion and engaging in sensible debate on Israel, as well as Iraq - unlike the UK where everybody just beats the war drum.
Germany now shows that the world order of economic aggression and imperialistic unilateralism will fade to the advance of a common law of justice and protection for all.
The German people democratically voiced their opposition to war against Iraq. By what perverted stretch of the imagination is this considered anti-American?
Are we really getting to the stage where everything we do has to be agreed upon by the US? How dare we disagree with the White House! Europe may not be that far from becoming a part of that 'Axis if Evil'.
Gerhard Schroeder won the election fairly with no allegations of hanging chads or voters not on the electoral registers. Anyone remember the furore that surrounded the election of America's president?
If the US wants to lead a peaceful world, it has to behave like it is protecting one. Teamwork requires leadership skills not boxing.
All Schroeder had to say was he wouldn't support any US attack against Iraq. That's really not a big deal for Germany since they won't be involved anyway.
Gerhard Schroeder's anti-war tactic to appeal to the left was so obvious it was laughable. I can't believe Germany fell for it.
Antony Lewis, USA
I believe in the principle that in any democracy, voters should decide what is in the best interest for their country. Germany has decided to elect Schroeder for a second term. Hence the US government should respect the will of the German people.
I am pleased with Schroeder's win. Anything that can slow down this stupid war on Iraq is a good thing. Also a note to my fellow Americans: Schroeder is supporting the US in Afghanistan even though it cost him politically.
The typical approach of left-wing politicians is to resort to USA bashing to appeal to misinformed nationalist sentiment. The French are past masters at this - disappointing that the Germans are following suit. Both countries are becoming increasingly irrelevant in international affairs.
Schroeder should have been judged on what he said was his first term aim - lowering unemployment. On that he failed. But the endemic problem of Germany is that, post-reunification it does not seem to have a clear direction. Economically, politically it appears isolated and confused. The fact that the vote was so finely balanced shows the people, let alone the politicians, have yet to decide.
Ingo Schneider, Germany
I can't believe my ears listening to some of these US comments. You seem to all believe your president when he says "if you are not with us you are against us". Schröeder has been blamed by some for taking a "populist" stance to the Iraq war. Fancy representing the feelings of your own people! Some call it democracy!
Take some criticisms for once America, the Germans don't hate Americans, they just don't want to see body bags flying back after a war they didn't want to see happen and neither do most of the American people either!
Is is not the media that is stirring up the anti-American feeling. It is not against America, but George W Bush that the comments are directed. The US don't like Schroeder, a lot of the world doesn't like Bush, it doesn't mean they don't like the US. America, what has Bush done for the US internally? At the moment the fight against terrorism has turned your attention away from your own domestic problems.
I think Germany's economy will continue to suffer. It will be interesting to see if his anti-US retoric continues or if it was actually a plan to secure his position. Either way I hope the US refuses to provide any economic aid when the time (and it will) arises. We protected them for 40 years from Russia and invested a tremendous amount of money to aid them, only to have them turn their back. We should not make the same mistake twice.
Not a landslide victory for Schroeder but a giant defeat for Germany.
Having lived in Germany for most of Schroeder's first term in office, I'd have to agree with those who characterise that first term as being something of a let down. The parallels with New Labour here in the UK are quite striking.
As for Schroeder's so-called anti-Americanism, I find it rather interesting to note that Americans react so bitterly to any criticism of their country. Haven't they learned anything since September 11th?
A Schroeder win is great for Germany, the EU and those in the rest of the world who don't want to be America's poodle (i.e. Tony Blair). It's refreshing to see a head of state who is willing to practice what he teaches with respect to ethical foreign policy. Perhaps our Tony can learn something from him.
I suspect that Schroeder not only represents the European sentiment but a global one. The real difference is that he has the courage to articulate that sentiment in pretty unequivocal terms, rather than dancing around the issue
Schroeder is a weak leader - just what is needed to reduce german dominance in europe.
What about the unemployed in Germany. Shroeder has failed to fulfill his promises to his electorate.
Far from being a an endorsement of the incumbent red-green coalition government, the election outcome is a clear defeat of the SPD and the justified penalty for their unsuccessful economic policy. The biggest problem is that the narrow lead of the coalition and the political platform of the Green Party will make the necessary fundamental reforms e.g. in the labour market more difficult.
The real story here was the poor showing of the Free Democrats and the strong showing of the Greens. I think those results indicate that the Germans, wisely, are suspicious of both American-style free market reforms (cowboy capitalism) and want a more just and ecologically responsible state. Hurrah for Fischer!
A victory for Gerhard Schroeder would be a big help for those of us in the US opposed to the war plans of the extreme right-wing Bush regime. Those who disagree with the government are not getting any media coverage, at best. We need the help of leaders in Germany, Canada and other Democracies to resist this spiral into war and destruction.
Please do not confuse not liking President Bush's foreign policy with not liking the US. European economies are just surviving. A war in the Gulf, or even just the threat of war isn't going to help us get back into shape.
I wonder if Schroeder will be singing the same tune if the US moves its military bases out of Germany and into Poland and the Czech Republic, where the locals appreciate what the US has done for them.
My great-uncle was a crewman flying relief flights during the Berlin crisis. He told me that when he was done flying for the day he wept from being so tired. He also told me it was the best thing he had ever done in his life and that the German people were good people who shouldn't have to live under another dictatorship. I'm glad he is not alive today to see some man try to hold on to one of the most important jobs in the world by trashing my country .
I do not see a great difference between Schroeder and Stoiber - they are both anti-American. The only difference is that Schroeder (and his foreign minister!) proclaims his hate for America, Stoiber doesn't.
I don't know who would be best for Germany, and even if I did I certainly wouldn't tell them. I would prefer it if Schroeder is elected as he would be good for the UK. His anti-American rhetoric will only serve to alienate Washington and consolidate our position as the US's only real ally in the EU.
To Dan US:
It's a novel concept, but the German chancellor is there to represent German interests - whether the US agrees or not doesn't really matter.
What is all this about anti-Americanism? Schroeder is simply using his brains instead of following George Bush blindly. Friendship does not necessitate sharing the same opinion all the time.
In an attempt to get votes Schroeder has damaged the reputation of Germany for many years to come. For Germany to be taken seriously again it needs to send him back to private life where he belongs.
Gerhard Schroeder has used anti-American feeling in Germany for his own gain, then he turns around and accuses Stoiber of stirring up anti-foreigner attitudes. This blatant hypocrisy should not be rewarded.
Anybody that resists America's attempt to start a new world war gets my vote.
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