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Green Party soon the strongest force in German politics?

Sim

Registered Member
Probably this question is a little exaggerated. The Green Party is probably still far from actually becoming the strongest party in Germany. But it is extraordinarily strong at the moment:

While it used to win between 5% and 12% in German state and national elections (in the 2009 national election: 10.7% of the votes), polls are showing the party on an all-time high of up to 24% of the votes -- even surpassing the traditional center-left party of the Social Democrats (SPD), which is polled at 23%.

If national elections were to be held now, Greens and SPD could form a center-left coalition to succeed Chancellor Merkel's conservative-libertarian CDU/FDP coalition.

link

In two German states where elections are to be held next year, the Green Party even is the strongest party already, according to polls: Conservative stronghold Baden-Württemberg shows the Green Party at 36% (followed by the conservative CDU with 28% only and the Social Democrat SPD at 17%). In the state of Berlin, the Green Party is at 30% (followed by the SPD with 26%, the CDU with 16% and the socialist Left Party at 15%).


Renate Künast, currently Green Party floor leader in the national parliament, is probably going to run for the office of Berlin state mayor next year

In both states, polls show a majority for a Green/SPD center-left coalition. Such coalitions have been common in the past (for example, Chancellor Schröder governed Germany with a SPD/Green coalition from 1998 to 2005), with one difference -- in the past, the SPD was clearly the stronger partner. Since the stronger partner in a coalition traditionally gets the office of Chancellor or state Prime Minister, chances are good we will be seeing the first Green Party state Prime Minister in Germany next year.

How comes the Greens are so strong?


Experts suggest a multifold of reasons:

1) The Greens are perceived as "most trustworthy party" by many voters. Unlike other parties, that have given up much of their original stances, betrayed core voters, broke election promises and/or gave a poor showing in the last decade, the Greens are perceived by many as least corrupt and most likely to put their hands where their mouth is.

Also, it seems society in general has been developing into their direction, and the other parties copy their concepts: Environmentalism, left-leaning open mindedness, pragmatism, but always a clear moral compass and a good dose of idealism. Modern milieus, especially in the cities, embrace ideas the Greens have been working on from the beginning: Gender equality, sustainable dealing with resources, social tolerance towards minorities. It is modern and en vogue to be Green.

2) The number of traditional voters for the two big parties are shrinking, due to an erosion of traditional milieus: There are only few church activists left, neither are union people -- thus conservative CDU (which also moved deep into the center under Merkel and mostly abandoned the conservative right) and the traditional "labor party" SPD (that even betrayed their core value of social fairness under Chancellor Schröder by reforming unemployment support) have been losing much of their support. The new voters are more volatile and tend to swing more to other parties. The libertarian FDP profited from this trend by winning an all-time high of 14.6% of the votes in the 2009 election, but due to a very disappointing showing in the new government, they are down to 5% again in polls. These new, flexible voters now turn to the Greens.

3) The traditional competitor of the Greens on the left side of the spectrum, the Social Democrats (SPD), have still not managed to overcome their crisis: In the 2009 election, they suffered a disastrous defeat with 23% of the votes only, the worst result since 1932. Many left-leaning voters still resent the SPD their betrayal of their own core clientele -- by a policy of "social coldness" under Schröder and the Great Coalition between 2005 and 2009. These voters stayed at home in 2009 and allowed a victory of the center-right conservative-libertarian CDU/FDP coalition. Now, they are alienated by the new government, but still not willing to return to the SPD -- so they go for the Greens.

4) A recent event and ongoing discussion is directing the focus on the Greens: In Stuttgart, there are heavy protests against a controversial construction project for a modernization of the central train station, called "Stuttgart 21". Heavy protests including clashes between protesters and the police have taken place -- and the Greens have been opposing this project from the beginning.


Green Party chairman Cem Özdemir -- son of Turkish immigrants who perfectly speaks the Swabian dialect

5) The recent debate about integration, sparked by Thilo Sarrazin's racist and xenophobic book, has taken a really ugly shape: Islamophobia and xenophobia are now more blatantly and violently voiced than before. The Greens are considered the most credible party that stands against such thoughts, in favor of tolerance. The Green Party chairman even is the only top politician in Germany with a Turkish immigration background, and a fine example for successful integration. So the Greens are profiting from those who are appaled at the new outburst of chauvinism, as a dialectic side effect of the new "culture war".


So are we going to see a Green Chancellor in 2013? That's still not very likely, because the volatile swing voters may easily switch away from the Greens again until then. But should this trend continue, it's becoming a viable possibility. At any rate, we might soon see the first Green state Prime Ministers next year.

What do you think?

Is there anything like that in America too -- maybe as a result of those on the left alienated by the radicalism of the Tea Party swinging even further to the left?
 

JaneSmith

Registered Member
I like Garmish, it's a quaint little town with all the charm.
And Baden Baden and their fancy casino. Oh those were the days.
 

Sim

Registered Member
I like Garmish, it's a quaint little town with all the charm.
And Baden Baden and their fancy casino. Oh those were the days.
Nice! When were you in Germany? Did you work for the US army there?

Baden-Württemberg is quite in an uproar these days. I would have never imagined these accurate Swabes have protest in their blood, but looking at the protests against that Stuttgart station project teaches me otherwise. :)
 
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