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German Campaign Enters Last Day

Will Schroeder overcome his challenger? 17 September 2005 -- Germany's election campaign has entered its final day, with Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his conservative Christian Democrat challenger Angela Merkel making a final push for votes.

Voter opinion polls have indicated that Merkel still has a good chance of becoming Germany's first female chancellor. But the latest surveys also show as many as one-fourth of the country's voters have not yet decided who to vote for in the election.

Schroeder, in power for the last seven years, told supporters in Berlin last night that his center-left party is the best choice to lead to economic revival without hurting social solidarity.

"We started and only we were able to do it," Schroeder said. "We said that renewal was taking place in order to re-boot the economy but without giving up the social component. This will never happen with the Social Democrats. Above all, we will resist a rift in society, decisively so."

At a competing rally, Merkel said Schroeder's leadership had led to a net loss of jobs and that her Christian Union alliance deserves a chance in power to try to reenergize the stagnant economy.