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Can It Get Much Worse For Germany's SPD?

German chancellor Gerhard Schr?der got a brief respite from domestic political troubles in early June as he became the first German leader to attend D-Day memorial ceremonies in Normandy. There was also good news from the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, which on June 9 predicted growth of 0.6% in the second quarter, better than expected.

But Schr?der may get a sharp reminder of his unpopularity among voters in June 13 elections for the European Parliament. A poll by Berlin's Forsa research firm showed Schr?der's Social Democrats likely to win only 28% of the vote, vs. 45% for the opposition Christian Democrats. The SPD was also expected to get clobbered in a state election in Th?ringen on the same day and in municipal elections in several other regions. While the elections won't affect the balance of power in Parliament, a debacle will fuel speculation that Schr?der is too unpopular to survive until the next national elections in 2006.

EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady

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