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Goodbye Gerd

As Gerhard Schröder hands over the reins of power to Angela Merkel, one of his British friends looks back over his seven-year term as German chancellor

By Denis MacShane   December 2005

Dear Gerd,

 

We first met when I shared your car in the last days of your campaign for re-election in Lower Saxony in 1998, a few months before you led the Red-Green coalition to victory in the national elections. I had heard you speak before at SPD congresses but what struck me on that day of campaigning was the way you could connect to the fears and needs of ordinary German voters. For me, as a European social democrat, your election as chancellor a few months later meant the possibility of establishing a network of reformist, modernising party leaderships…

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