Germany's ruling party suffers a resounding election defeat in state elections in the large region of North Rhine-Westphalia. Voters turned against the Social Democrats, the party of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and brought the opposition Christian Democrats to power in the state.
The parliamentary election in the large German state has been seen as a pre-2006 general election test of strength for the Social Democrats. Schroeder said after the results came in that he wants to move up the general parliamentary election to the fall of this year. It was scheduled for next year.