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German Leaders to Meet in Effort to Resolve Dispute Over Chancellor

Leaders of Germany's two main political parties will hold a special meeting Thursday to determine who should lead a so-called "grand coalition" government, after last month's general election ended without a clear winner.

The announcement followed Wednesday's third round of coalition talks between Christian Democratic leader Angela Merkel and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who heads the ruling Social Democrats. Ms. Merkel, who is battling to become chancellor, told reporters she is more optimistic than pessimistic.

The Social Democrats have insisted that Mr. Schroeder remain in office even though the Christian Democrats hold a slight lead in parliament after recent elections. Both parties failed to win enough seats to govern with their respective small party allies.

A poll released Wednesday shows 34 percent of Germans supporting Ms. Merkel as chancellor and 26 percent for Mr. Schroeder.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.