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German Chancellor Schroeder Fails in Confidence Vote

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has lost a vote-of-confidence in parliament, paving the way for new elections later this year.

Mr. Schroeder and his ruling coalition received 151 votes -- far short of the 301 that were needed. Members of Mr. Schroeder's own party abstained, as he had requested. There are still a number of steps to be taken before new elections are set. Earlier today, Chancellor Schroeder called for the no-confidence vote.

He hopes new elections will give him a mandate for economic reforms he believes are badly needed. Mr. Schroeder's Social Democrat Party was badly defeated in a northern state election in May, and recent national public opinion polls show the ruling party trails the opposition Christian Democrats by a wide margin.