What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

The video for this story is not available, but you can still read the transcript below.
No image

Re-Election of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Spencer Michels provides some background on U.S.- German relations following the successful German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's successful re-election bid.

Read the Full Transcript

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Victory for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his ruling coalition came after a campaign in which he emphasized his strong opposition to a us war with Iraq. Schroeder's Social Democrat Party, the left of center SDP, lost seats in parliament or bundestag, but held on to power because its coalition partner, the Green Party headed by Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, secured nearly 9 percent of the vote. Late returns gave the Social Democrat-Green Party coalition 47.1 percent of the vote and 306 seats in parliament. The main conservative opponents got 295 seats. Early this morning, Schroeder played down his slim margin of victory.

  • GERHARD SCHROEDER ( Translated ):

    A majority is a majority and if we have one, we will use it my dear friends. That much is clear.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    The rival Christian Democrats, or CDU/CSU led by conservative Edmund Stoiber, got as many votes for parliament as Schroeder's party, but the CDU's prospective coalition partner, the Free Democrats, fell short, in part because a Free Democratic leader was accused of making anti-Semitic remarks during the campaign. Still, Stoiber warned Schroeder that his party might gain power soon. Early in the campaign, the 58-year-old Schroeder, who was first elected chancellor in 1998, had lagged in the polls by as much as ten points. Schroeder was saddled with a sluggish economy and a rising jobless rate. Four million Germans, or 10% of the registered workforce, are unemployed. But massive flooding in Germany last month provided an opportunity for Schroeder to show leadership. That and his outspoken rejection of military action against Iraq boosted his poll numbers. He repeated his stance on Iraq several times during the campaign.

  • GERHARD SCHROEDER ( Translated ):

    Under my leadership, Germany will not take part in an intervention in Iraq.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    But Stoiber, the governor of Bavaria, accused Schroeder of isolating Germany not only from the U.S., But also from its European Union partners.

  • EDMUND STOIBER ( Translated ):

    Europe has to take a united approach to achieving peace and chancellor, for election reasons, you have for electoral reasons departed from the European path and played up war scenarios.

  • GERHARD SCHROEDER ( Translated ):

    For what happens after the possible option of military intervention, no one, ladies and gentlemen, has put any concrete and workable plan of action on the table. And that's why, ladies and gentlemen, I say that my arguments against military intervention remain, and it is still clear that under my leadership, Germany will not participate in military action.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    The campaign's anti-American tone hit a low point last week when Schroeder's Justice Minister, Herta Daeubler-Gemlin, commented on president bush's foreign policy. She was quoted in a local newspaper as saying: 'Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler used." Schroeder stood by her saying he believed her when she said she'd been misquoted. The White House responded angrily. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with the "Financial Times" said "There have clearly been some things said…way beyond the pale." And she added: "An atmosphere has been created in Germany that is in that sense poisoned." Today, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had this to say.

  • DONALD RUMSFELD:

    I have no comment on the German elections outcome. But I would have to say that the way it was conducted was notably unhelpful, and as the White House indicated, has had the effect of poisoning the relationship.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    On the first day of his new term, Chancellor Schroeder announced Daubler-Gemlin had submitted her resignation. Schroeder said that the two countries could have differences without endangering the basis of U.S./German relations.

The Latest