Kohl has five weeks left to turn the tide Germany's `phoney election war' is over
Saturday 22 August 1998
After that, leading politicians will be on the road until election day on 27 September.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl has five weeks to overturn the feeling that his 16-year reign has been long enough.
In the dog days of the summer months, the Christian Democrats have clawed their way back from an eight-point deficit, now lying no more than perhaps three points in the polls behind the Social Democrats. But in personal popularity ratings, Gerhard Schroder, the Social Democrat challenger, is up to 20 points ahead of the incumbent. His campaign prom-ises to be the glitziest in the Federal Republic's history, with strong emphasis on television and soundbites.
To remain Chancellor for a fifth term, Mr Kohl needs an "absolute majority" in the Bundestag: half the total number of MPs plus one. MPs, in turn, are elected by a mixture of first-past-the-post and a proportional system.
There are 328 constituencies in Germany. Each sends one MP to the Bundestag.
The other half of the Bundestag is filled from the parties' voting lists. Germany's 60.5 million electors must tick two ballot papers: one to choose their local MP and the other to support their favoured party.
A party must obtain 5 per cent of the national vote to qualify for its share. This is the route taken by the Greens and the Free Democrats, who are not strong enough to win a single constituency.
Alternatively, a party that wins three constituencies but falls below the 5 per cent threshold nationwide also gets its proportional share.
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 5 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...