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World IN BRIEF / GERMANY

Ruling Party Suffers Another Big Defeat

September 20, 1999|From Times Wire Reports

German voters handed Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's governing Social Democrats a humiliating defeat in elections in the eastern state of Saxony, battering the party for the fifth time this month. While the Christian Democrats maintained their grip on power in the legislature, TV forecasts showed Schroeder's party falling into third place behind the ex-communist Party of Democratic Socialism, which received 22% of the vote. The Social Democrats got just 11%, reaching what was believed to be an all-time low in state votes since World War II. Voters have focused their anger on Schroeder's austerity budget, which would trim the social safety net starting next year. Most controversial is a plan to limit pension increases. The slide in popularity also was evident in four other state and local elections over the last two weeks.

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