Germany's highest court has ruled that next month's scheduled parliamentary elections can go ahead. 

The Federal Constitutional Court dismissed a claim that the procedure followed by the Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, to call a national poll a year early was unconstitutional. 

The case was brought by two rebel deputies in Mr Schroeder's coalition, who argued that the German President, Horst Koehler, should not have dissolved parliament before the end of its four-year term.

Opinion polls suggest that Mr Schroeder's Social Democrats may lose the election to the Conservative Christian Democrats, led by Angela Merkel, in the 18 September election.