BONN — West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was reelected by Parliament on Wednesday to a second four-year term, with tough political problems and a stalled economy awaiting his weakened center-right coalition government.
Kohl, 56, is expected to need all his skill as a power broker to deal with farmers angry at plans to scrap subsidies, a fresh union drive for a shorter work week, high unemployment, simmering coalition disputes--and five state elections this year.
Close Vote in Parliament
Kohl's Christian Democratic Union and its sister party, the Bavarian Christian Social Union, suffered heavy losses when their coalition with the liberal Free Democrats was returned to power Jan. 25. Under West German law, voters elect the Bundestag (lower house of Parliament), which then elects the chancellor.
Wednesday's vote was unexpectedly close, with some lawmakers in Kohl's own governing coalition apparently failing to support him. Kohl's coalition has 269 voting lawmakers, 20 more than the majority needed.