German Leaders Spar Over Chancellor Role By DAVID McHUGH, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 19 minutes ago
BERLIN - Top politicians on both sides of Germany's political standoff agreed Tuesday a bipartisan "grand coalition" linking Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats and challenger Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats would be the best way out of the postelection muddle.
They disagreed on who should be chancellor.
"The needle is oscillating more toward a grand coalition under the leadership of Schroeder," Social Democratic Interior Minister Otto Schily said in an interview published Tuesday in Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Guenther Beckstein, interior minister in the state of Bavaria and a member of the Christian Social Union, the Christian Democrats' sister party, also said the union of main parties was the way forward — but with Merkel at the helm as Germany's first female leader.
"For me, the given result must be a grand coalition under the leadership of Mrs. Merkel," said Beckstein, a possible candidate in a Merkel's Cabinet.
Voters ousted Schroeder's ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens on Sunday but withheld a majority from Merkel's party and its partner, the pro-business Free Democrats. The result has been a confused scramble for power.
You may recall that I posted an item about this election over the weekend, in which I mentioned that 20% of German voters were undecided with literally hours left to the poll openings.
So what does this apparent deadlock mean to us?
Well, it means that while Germany tired of Schoeder and his pr-business reforms (yes, you heard that correctly: a liberal who was voted out for being TOO conservative), they don't trust Merkel completely either. Which says to me they don't trust her very close ties to the American administration, since she's very conservative, even by American standards.
CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri criticized the legitimacy of Afghanistan's weekend elections in a new tape broadcast Monday, saying the polls took place under the control of the "lords of war."
Al-Zawahri also renewed praise for the July 7 London transport system bombings which killed 56 people, including the four attackers.
"This blessed attack revealed the real hypocritical face of the West," al-Zawahri said in the tape aired on Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV in reference to British threats to deport anti-West Muslim clerics to their countries of origin.
Whenever Zawahiri speaks, people end up dead in terror attacks a few days or weeks later. It's almost clockwork-like.