Germany′s Green party: Internal strife and drop in opinion polls | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW

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The tide is popping in opposition to the German Inexperienced get together. Solely seven and a half weeks in the past the longer term seemed rosy for the Greens. Annalena Baerbock — their younger and dynamic get together co-leader — had simply been introduced as their first candidate for chancellor. The get together rose in nationwide polls to nearly 30 % and at occasions even overtook the CDU and its chief Armin Laschet. The chancellorship appeared inside attain for the primary time within the Greens’ historical past.   

However lots has occurred since, and the get together’s marketing campaign is faltering. The newest “Deutschlandtrend” month-to-month survey by pollster Infratest dimap places the Inexperienced get together at 20% voter assist nicely behind the CDU’s 28. Assist for Annalena Baerbock has plummeted by 12% placing her behind her opponents, with the Christian Democratic Union’s Armin Laschet — who had been trailing for weeks — taking the lead.

This weekend the Greens will meet for a digital get together convention to agree on their election program. They can even formally nominate Baerbock because the candidate for the chancellorship by a decision of the get together convention.  

She and the get together have to bounce again after their poor displaying in final Sunday’s regional election within the jap state of Saxony-Anhalt the Greens acquired a disastrous simply 5.9% of the vote, confirming that the Inexperienced get together isn’t engaging for a rural east German voters. The Inexperienced get together’s success is within the west of the nation and in city areas however has failed within the area that was the communist East German GDR. That area has grow to be the, is the stronghold of the far-right AfD. 

Baerbock nonetheless desires to remain optimistic, saying on Sunday that “one thing is clear for us: the starting point for the national election is completely different. After the pandemic, it has to be about revitalizing this country together. That is why we are running as Alliance 90/The Greens.”  

Battle over the election program   

Since its founding 40 years in the past, the Inexperienced get together conferences have been well-known for his or her heated debates. Since Habeck and Baerbock took the lead in 2018 observers have been shocked to witness fastidiously choreographed glossed-over occasions. The Greens have turned mainstream, wrote the commentators. 

The times of concord could also be over now. Local weather safety will as soon as once more be on the heart of the get together convention. However grassroots activists risked derailing proceedings by initially submitted over 3,300 amendments to the election program. Now solely 20 of them are left. The phrases “Germany. Everything is in it” run across the program. But the requests for amendments start with the title. 300 party members have called for deleting the word “Germany,” arguing that the program should not be labeled as a national one, but rather as a program for a country in a globalized world.  

This was met with scathing attacks from the domestic conservative press. The Greens want their chancellor candidate to run the country, but won’t even acknowledge it by name?  The far-right which wants to curb immigration is diametrically opposed to the Green party’s multicultural integration platform.


Curbing the radicals 

At the party conference, the Green party leadership must be careful that ever-rebellious grassroots activists don’t write unachievable goals into the election program.  

The Greens are already calling for a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gases from their 1990 level by 2030. A large group of grassroots representatives wants that changed to 85 percent.   

Even the 65 percent promised by the current government will only be achieved with maximum effort. The draft of the election program also calls for a speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour for the Autobahn. The grassroots activists want that cut to 100 kilometers per hour. Baerbock knows that these demands will not be received well by a majority of Germany’s car-loving population. But she thinks it is good that the party continues to place its focus on climate protection.   

Suggestions like a hefty gas price hike have not gone down well with all voters last week.

Their political opponents accuse the Greens as going over the top with restrictions and regulations and curbs to individual freedom and civil liberties. And they are waiting to pounce on some radical demand. In the 2017 general election campaign, the Green party suggested introducing one mandatory “vegetarian meal day” in German schools. This “veggie day” proposal triggered an outcry and became synonymous with unjustifiable overregulation – a deadly blow to a Green party trying to take the center. 

Campaigning missteps   

One topic certain to be debated at the conference is the trip to Ukraine of the co-head of the party Robert Habeck. In Ukraine Habeck expressed support for sending weapons to Ukraine – to be used in self-defense. He said this despite the fact that the Greens’ election program states: “we strongly assist civilian disaster prevention and wish to use restrictive export controls to finish European arms exports to warfare and disaster zones in addition to to autocrats.” Later Habeck claimed he meant demining gear.   

The opposite events criticized Habeck for his naiveté in overseas coverage.  

Baerbock herself has additionally been underneath hearth after she was pressured to confess she had not initially paid tax on greater than 20,000€ ($24,000)  Euro she acquired as a Christmas bonus from the get together. She now has. Journalists additionally discovered false data in her resume, together with claims that she was a member of organizations such because the revered German Marshall Fund.    

Because the stakes have piled up Baerbock and the Greens have seen their star falling and their dream of main a authorities for the primary time probably disappearing. The Greens at the moment are trailing the CDU by 6% to 8% relying on opinion pollsters. 

There are nonetheless over 100 days earlier than the election, however Baerbock wants to return out of the gates working after the convention along with her get together firmly behind her. If the perimeter hijacks the election platform will probably be interpreted as one other failure on her half, and open her as much as contemporary assaults.

But when she will be able to steer the get together by means of the convention and handle to carry it collectively round her she won’t solely restore her political momentum however display her talent as a politician — precisely what has been in query in current weeks.  

This text has been translated from German. 

Whilst you’re right here: Each Tuesday, DW editors spherical up what is occurring in German politics and society, with an eye fixed towards understanding this 12 months’s elections and past. You possibly can enroll right here for the weekly electronic mail publication Berlin Briefing, to remain on high of developments as Germany enters the post-Merkel period.