6 JANUARY 1912, Page 10

The Times on Thursday printed an interesting article by its

Berlin correspondent upon the prospects of the coming General Election in Germany. The first ballots take place next Friday (January 12th), but the final result will not be known till after the second ballots about a fortnight later. The total number of seats is 397, and at the dissolution last month the strength of the parties was as follows :—Centre 103, Conservatives 58, Free Conservatives 25, Socialists 53, National Liberals 51, Radicals 49, Poles 20, Anti-Semites 20, Independents 17. One seat was vacant. As to the probable results of the election, the greatest uncertainty seems to prevail, except as regards the Socialists, who are expected to make at least considerable gains. The line taken up to now by the Government has been to encourage the elector to. vote as he pleases, so long as it is against the Socialists, and each of the different parties has hitherto been working independ- ently. But the whole situation may be altered when the results of the first ballots are declared. "The main issues," says the Times correspondent, " are what amount of success the Socialists will obtain in the first ballots, and what bargains the parties will then, on the strength of their experiences, strike for the second ballots."