Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Democrats vote

(First Edition)

Opposition Social Democrats met in public halls, gardens and living rooms all over Germany yesterday to vote in their first American-style primary for a new party leader, Reuter reports from Dusseldorf.

Rank-and-file members began voting as the three candidates - the state leaders Rudolf Scharping of Rhineland-Palatinate and Gerhard Schroeder of Lower Saxony, and the parliamentary deputy, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul - held a final televised debate. The party opted for the unprecedented poll of its 870,000 members after its chairman, Bjorn Engholm, resigned last month.