The Rise of The German Greens

Published on 27 April 2021 at 14:11

After the selection of Armin Laschet as the CDU/CSU candidate for Chancellor by the CDU’s executive the bloc seems to be stalling in the polls, gaining roughly from 24-28% of support in the most recent surveys. The party that is gaining support at the moment is the Green party, its recording phenomenal support, one that was not seen in Germany for many years. 


Alliance 90/The Greens as they are officially called became one party in 1993. In West Germany the Green party was established in 1980, while Alliance 90 was a group of three non-communist parties which was established in the East in 1990. Environmentalism, social justice, support for human rights and the EU are the core policies of the party today. Over nearly more than 40 years of its existence the party was in the government only once, that was during the Schröder era. After the 2017 elections the Greens were participating in talks with the CDU/CSU and FDP on the formation of the so called Jamaica coalition, the FDP however quit those talks after a few weeks and as a result another grand coalition was formed. 


The Green wave in Germany began, one could say, during the 2019 EU Parliament elections during which the Greens received 20.5% of the vote +9.8% compared to the 2014 EU elections. Since then the party has been making gains in state and local elections. In last year’s local elections in North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), where Laschet is the Premier, the Greens have received nearly 20% of the vote, 9% more than in the previous elections. In cities such as Bonn and Aachen the Green candidates won mayoral runoffs. Worth noting that NRW is Germany’s most populous state which used to be and in fact still is the industrial hub of Germany. In one of the latest elections which took place in Baden-Württemberg where the Greens were already in power they managed to strengthen their hold as the Green premier was re-elected. 


In a recent poll conducted for Der Spiegel the Greens polled at 29%, the CDU/CSU came in second at 24%. When it comes to who the Germans would like to see as their next chancellor the Green candidate Annalena Baerbock is the clear favourite, Armin Laschet at times is even behind Olaf Scholz the current Finance Minister and SPD’s candidate for chancellor.  By not choosing Söder, who is more popular than Laschet, the CDU/CSU has put itself in a dangerous situation in which they are on the path to receive their lowest result in history. They will possibly be in the opposition in the next Bundestag as it is beginning to look likely that the next coalition which will be formed after the federal elections will be between the Greens, SPD and FDP, the traffic light coalition. 


Last month the Greens have published their economic policy a key paper which includes various economic policies such as the introduction of €12 minimum wage, wealth tax, 50% boost to welfare payments, 2,5% rent increase cap, right to work from home, reduction of taxes for those earning average salaries and less, overall they pledge to spend €500bln over the next ten years on what they call a “socioecological transformation”. The party also staunchly opposes the construction on Nord Stream 2. Recently in an interview for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the Green candidate from Chancellor said that she would like to see Germany take a tougher stance on both China and Russia, describing the Chinese ‘Belt & Road’ initiative as “hardcore power politics”. 


Ambitious on economic policy and tough on foreign policy the German Greens would definitely bring in a new style of politics with them if they manage to win this year's federal elections, even if they don’t come first they most likely will be key players during the government formation. 


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