A German court has ruled that early general elections can go ahead as planned in September, dismissing complaints that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's call for an early vote was unconstitutional. 

The federal court Thursday rejected complaints by two lawmakers who argued that Mr. Schroeder's deliberate loss of a parliamentary vote of confidence violated German law.

Mr. Schroeder called for the early vote in May after his Social Democratic Party suffered a humiliating loss in a regional election.  In July, he engineered his party's defeat in a parliamentary vote of confidence, setting the stage for the September 18 balloting.

Public opinion polls indicate a Christian Democratiic-led coalition, headed by Angela Merkel, could defeat Mr. Schroeder's Social Democrats in the upcoming vote.

Mr. Schroeder welcomed the ruling as a chance for a new start for his government to pursue needed reforms.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.