German press review

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As the voters in Dresden prepare to go to the polls on Sunday, Germany’s papers consider the outcome of the elections on September 18 and the ongoing battle for the chancellorship.

The fight over who becomes chancellor is undemocratic, according to Birgit Marschall writing in FT Deutschland. While Angela Merkel was punished on September 18 by a disappointing result, she still won the election and has the right to become chancellor of Germany, Ms Marschall argues

“No company that brings 51 per cent of its share to the table as part of a joint venture with another group would ever consider discussing who the CEO should be,” she writes.

The will of the people has been brushed aside by the political heavies, she maintains.

According to Kurt Kister, writing in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the SPD does not have the depth to counter Ms Merkel and Edmund Stoiber without Mr Schröder.

Mr Kister advises Mr Schröder to swallow his pride and take a more “surprising” option as he did when he called for the general election to take place this year and not next.

There is one easy solution to the chancellor dilemma, according to Mr Kister. Ms Merkel should become chancellor and Mr Schröder vice-chancellor and foreign minister.

While the SPD lacks politicians with the necessary strength to take on Ms Merkel and Mr Stoiber when a grand coalition is formed, the party benefits from Mr Schröder, Mr Kister argues.

Mr Schröder achieved a remarkable result and is enjoying renewed popularity within the party. That is why he should do what he said he would not do before the election. He should serve in a grand coalition led by Ms Merkel, Mr Kister urges.

After Sunday the politicians will no longer have any excuses, Dirk Hoeren writes in Bild Zeitung.

He rejoices that after 12 days of watching and waiting, the politicians will finally have to get on with things. And a not a moment too soon as Daimler Chrysler threatens job cuts.

Thousands of workers want to know whether VAT is going to increase, whether and how the unemployment, health and pension benefit systems will be financed, he writes.

It is not enough to talk about taking responsibility for the country – something has to happen, Mr Hoeren concludes.

The election on September 18 changed the political landscape in Germany, according to Martin Klingst in Die Zeit.

It now seems likely that there will be a grand coalition. And it will take time to find the answer to the question of who should lead it. But an alliance must be solid, with the power and stamina to deal with the range of problems facing Germany, he continues.

Mr Klingst disputes accusations that the result of the general election has made Germany lame. “The opposite is true, the vote of the electorate is liberating,” he writes.

It will force the political parties to loosen up. And the concept of reform will no longer be restricted to the economy, he argues.

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