SALZBURG, AUSTRIA, JULY 27 -- The shaky coalition governing East Germany appeared today to have weathered its latest crisis as the opposition Social Democrats decided not to quit the government in East Berlin.
The decision came after both Germanys agreed to a compromise under which a single all-German election will be held Dec. 2.
East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had been pushing to hold separate elections on the same day so that each Germany could retain its distinctive election laws.
The effect of the separate elections would have been to increase the power of several small East German parties. The small parties -- including the former Communists and a right-wing ally of Kohl's Christian Democrats -- would probably not survive under the West German system, which requires a party to win 5 percent of the national vote to qualify for seats in the parliament.
The two Germanys and the Social Democrats still have not come to agreement on which election rules will be used in December, but both de Maiziere and Kohl appear to be leaning toward a compromise under which it would be easier for small parties to win parliamentary seats.
Both German parliaments will hold special sessions in mid-August to resolve the election law controversy.