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Broken banks feel the pressure of Schröder’s populist flood

What's red, green and disliked by most Germans? Answer: the new - or old - coalition government. In fact, it's something of a mystery who voted for Gerhard Schröder. Most Frankfurters grimace at the mere mention of his name. Just as when Bush won the US election, it's as if Germany has had a momentary lapse of concentration and lumbered itself with a government it didn't really want.

For how could it want Schröder? As more than one political analyst puts it: "This is the worst possible result for Germany." Already by the middle of last year, it was clear that the high hopes many held for a modernizing chancellor with a taste for reform - after the stagnation of the late period of Helmut Kohl's rule - had been nothing but groundless optimism.

Economically Germany is in ruins, with high unemployment and weak growth, and the man who allowed the country to get into this mess in the first place has just been given a mandate to do the same for the next four years.

The mood in Frankfurt is bleak. And not just because it doesn't seem to have stopped raining since the results were announced.

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