Eles mentem, eles perdem

Schroeder calls for early general election after German poll defeat

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called for a general election to be moved forward to late this year after his Social Democrats suffered a devastating defeat in a key state election.###

His Social Democratic Party (SPD) lost control of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state where it had ruled for 39 years.

The defeat was the latest in a series of state election defeats for Schroeder's party that have sapped his authority. In 1999, the SPD governed in 11 of Germany's 16 states but is now in charge of only five.

In North Rhine-Westphalia the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won about 45 percent of the votes, with the SPD trailing behind with 37.2 percent, initial results from the electoral commission showed


North Rhine-Westphalia, a region of 18 million people and the industrial heartland of Germany, was the last remaining state governed by a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens, the so-called red-green coalition, mirroring the federal ruling coalition in Berlin.