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Germany

Yearbook 2002

2002 GermanyGermany. According to Countryaah website, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the Social Democratic SPD managed to remain in short supply with the government in the September elections, thanks to the coalition party De Greene strengthening its position. The SPD lost 47 seats and received a total of 251 of the 603 seats in the Bundestag, while the Greens increased by 8 and got 55. The Christian Democratic CDU together with the Bavarian sister party CSU received 248 seats, a total of 3 more than before. The big loser became the former communists in the PDS who failed to get over the 5 percent barrier and only got 2 seats for constituencies in Berlin.

2002 Germany

During much of the electoral movement, the government coalition seemed hopeless after the Christian Democratic CDU / CSU, which at the beginning of the year had appointed Bavaria's head of government, CSU leader Edmund Stoiber, as its chancellor candidate. Not least the rising unemployment, Schröder lay in the barrel. In connection with the 1998 elections, he had promised to reduce the number of unemployed to 3.5 million, but in January the symbolically charged 4-million level was passed instead. The weak economic growth did not make the situation easier for the incumbent government.

In August, however, many Germans' sympathies swung to Schröder's advantage as he acted vigorously when floods hit Central Europe, including vast areas of eastern and southern Germany. The floods were the worst in modern times in the region, forcing the largest evacuation since World War II. Some 40 people died in Germany alone, 180 bridges and thousands of houses were destroyed and 74 miles of road and 53 miles of railroad were severely damaged. The worst was the state of Saxony, but great devastation was also caused in Saxony-Anhalt, further north along the Elbe river and Bavaria.

Schröder was considered to be politically courageous when he decided to postpone a promised tax cut at the turn of the year to be able to allocate € 6.9 billion to rebuild after the floods. He gathered other Central European leaders and EU representatives to a summit in Berlin, and the EU also pledged extensive support to the affected areas.

The Chancellor also strengthened his position among voters by categorically rejecting all German support for a possible war against Iraq, regardless of UN action. This stubborn attitude led to a bottom freeze on relations with the United States, which was a driving force in attacks to overthrow Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. President George W. Bush did not even send the usual congratulations when the election results were clear.

Relations did not get better because, according to a journalist, the German Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin said that Bush's war aims to divert attention from domestic political problems, a method "already used by Hitler". She later claimed that she was misquoted, but Schröder did not take her with him in a government transformation after the election.

The economy continued to be weak and Germany received a formal warning from the EU as the budget deficit was projected to reach 3.8% of GDP during the year. It violated the EU's stability agreement, which set a limit of 3%.

The first trial in Germany related to last year's terrorist act in the United States began in August. Moroccan citizen Mounir Motassadeq was charged with conspiring with a group of Islamists in Hamburg in which several of the suicide bombers had been involved.

In April, a 19-year-old shot dead 16 people and injured a number in a high school in Erfurt, before taking his own life. The perpetrator had recently been suspended from school and most of the victims were teachers. The insanity was the worst that hit Germany during the postwar period.

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