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‘BSL’ Schroder to step down

GERMAN CHANCELLOR Gerhard Schroder renounced his claim to rule Germany earlier this week, saying he "wouldn’t stand in the way'' of a grand alliance between his Social Democratic Party and the opposition Christian Democratic Union.

After the Sept. 18 election failed to produce a decisive winner, Schroder and opposition leader Angela Merkel, 51, both insisted on the right to form the new government. They were to hold a third set of talks on Thursday of this week, with the latest provisional results showing Merkel and her allies holding a four-seat lead in parliament over the SPD.

However Schroder has said he will "accept any decision" by his party's leadership on how the talks with the Christian Democrats on a possible ‘grand coalition’ government will be handled. Such a government will be the first such grand coalition since 1969.

Schroder became a hate figure for dog owners and anti-BSL campaigners in Germany and around the world after his Social Democrat Federal Government introduced the infamous breed specific ‘Kampfehunde’ laws in 2000, even amending the German Constitution to remove certain civil rights from dog owners, so that police can enter a dog owner’s home without a warrant to seize any dog that is merely alleged to be ‘dangerous’. However, if the police wish to enter the home of a rapist or murder suspect, they must obtain a warrant beforehand.

Schroder had decided to go to the polls a year earlier than necessary, due to his party’s abysmal performance in recent regional elections that had greatly undermined his authority.

Hundreds of German dog owners made it clear that they voted tactically to remove Schroder from power, citing the draconian dog laws as their over-riding reason for doing so.

The Bundestag meets on October 18 at the latest to begin the process of choosing a new chancellor.