W. German court decides March 6 election is legal

West Germany may proceed with its March 6 election, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled. Monitor correspondent Elizabeth Pond reports that the question arose because West Germany's postwar constitution, with a view to preventing a repetition of the parliamentary instability of the ill-fated Weimar Republic, made it very difficult for a chancellor to dissolve Parliament and call new elections. But Chancellor Helmut Kohl did just that, intentionally losing a vote of confidence even though he had a parliamentary majority at the time.

Although the constitution was generally interpreted to bar such a move, the court ruled a chancellor has some discretion in deciding whether he has a long-term majority.

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