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Germany's CDU Gains Seat, Improving Merkel's Position

October 03, 2005|From Associated Press

DRESDEN, Germany — The Christian Democratic Union gained a seat Sunday in a special parliamentary election, boosting party leader Angela Merkel's chances of becoming Germany's first female chancellor.

CDU candidate Andreas Laemmel won the contest for a Dresden seat with 37% of the vote. He defeated Marlies Volkmer of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democratic Party, who drew 32%.

Voters elsewhere in Germany voted for parliament Sept. 18, giving Merkel's conservative alliance about 35% and Schroeder's party 34%.

The Dresden election was postponed because of the death of a candidate.

Sunday's result brings to 226 the number of seats held by Merkel's party and its allied Christian Social Union in the 614-member lower house. Schroeder's party has 222, with the remainder of the seats held by smaller parties.

Merkel's conservatives have been exploring the possibility of forming an alliance with the Social Democrats, but talks have been stalled because both Merkel and Schroeder claim mandates to be chancellor.

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