Germany's opposition Christian Democrats stirred controversy even within their own ranks by proposing a rollback in regulations that make it hard to fire unwanted workers. Economists say Germany must deregulate its labor market to spur hiring, but easing job protections is a sensitive topic among Germans feeling insecure after years of rising unemployment. The Christian Democrats' call for reduction of no-fire protections for new hires and older workers shows that Chairman Angela Merkel is increasingly willing to risk her political capital in the name of economic reform. The party has the support of 43% of the voters, vs. 26% for Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats, according to a recent poll by Berlin's Forsa.

Edited by Rose Brady

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