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Green Party soon the strongest force in German politics?

German guy

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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.

Sonntagsfrage – Umfragen zur Bundestagswahl (Wahlumfrage, Wahlumfragen)

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?
 

Gardener

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What do you think?

I think that if I were German, I would consider voting for Matthias Küntzel were he ever to run for office.

Is he still a greenie?
 

German guy

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I think that if I were German, I would consider voting for Matthias Küntzel were he ever to run for office.

Is he still a greenie?
I'm not sure, but I think he is still associated with the Greens' Heinrich-Böll-Foundation. He is not really advancing a political career, but is focusing on his academic and publicist career, as far as I know. It's been a while since I heard of him the last time, but I think he is still working on the field of exposing islamist anti-Semitism.

It's good that on the very plural left, you have voices like him too. He is determined, but from what I can tell, usually remains level headed and is not prone for populism, as so often the case when it comes to the topic of Islam.
 

Republic_Of_Public

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If the Greens are now the least-worst in Germany, on the side of rioters causing trouble over a railway station for example, then that only proves to me that Germany is still as intellectually wrecked as it was when it was first partitioned.


To sum it all up, I once saw a Pilger documentary on the Cold War silo buildup of the 1980s. He skewed it as usual, but even I was surprised when he interviewed the then-boss of the German Greens.

The appalling woman stated, with a straight face, that one reason why the buildup of troops and missiles was bad was because it made the poor little Soviets nervous and intimidated. She said they felt hemmed-in and pressured and that was the concern!

Just like a watermelon - Green on the outside but Red on the inside! And they're now set for a power-grab?!
 

German guy

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If the Greens are now the least-worst in Germany, on the side of rioters causing trouble over a railway station for example, then that only proves to me that Germany is still as intellectually wrecked as it was when it was first partitioned.


To sum it all up, I once saw a Pilger documentary on the Cold War silo buildup of the 1980s. He skewed it as usual, but even I was surprised when he interviewed the then-boss of the German Greens.

The appalling woman stated, with a straight face, that one reason why the buildup of troops and missiles was bad was because it made the poor little Soviets nervous and intimidated. She said they felt hemmed-in and pressured and that was the concern!

Just like a watermelon - Green on the outside but Red on the inside! And they're now set for a power-grab?!
I'm not sure if you're really interested in debate, or good arguments, instead of just ranting your yellow press-like brain farts, as usual. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against good polemics, when they are at least substantial. Your posting doesn't qualify as that. Are you even making a statement?
 

German guy

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Ahem, you were saying about debate and good argument?!
There is really nothing else or more appropriate to say about your posting, since you didn't make anything that even remotely resembles an argument, polemic or otherwise. I'd be glad to debate with you. So would you mind to say what you have to say, in case you have anything to say? I promise, I'll respond with respect.
 

Republic_Of_Public

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For a comment so unworthy of respectable scrutiny, I wonder why you found need for invective at all. You're not getting frustrated and put on-the-spot this early?


But I suppose you could say that a politically-correct 'Third Way' coalition between two parties under Shroeder was the best memory the Germans could conjure about recent politics. But I wonder if they'd feel so gleeful if the Greens got in and probably raised taxes sky-high, insulted people for going on holiday, or driving a car, as well as putting more effort into whingeing about the military, than by trying to be protectionist like proper left wingers.


Especially if the German Greens are anything like ours, then God help Germany.


Bloggers4UKIP: Green Party condemned as 'extremists' for claiming that flying abroad is like "knifing someone in the street"

Why I'll Not Vote Green


The breakthrough we Greens need | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

"easier for the mainstream media to treat us on an equal footing with the other parties" Why should they? You get about as many votes as UKIP, the SSP or the BNP. Your policies, as far as I can tell seem to vary between naive politically correct idiocy and anti-capitalist/anti-techological Luddism. Until you're capable of serious politics, and practical policies that could actually be implemented go away, and take your (very bad) 'science' with you.




GERMANY:

Islam in Europe: Germany: Greens propose integration solidarity tax

Safe, clean, future-proof nuclear power and a renovated railway station? Nein: The Rise of the German Greens | The Weekly Standard

Mind, it's alright for Iran: German Greens: Iran sanctions illegal | Rebel News - Dissident News and Analysis

Anti-Government feeling embraced, though I wonder if the Greens will still support that if THEY get to power: What’s behind the rise of German Greens? | Liberal Conspiracy

Fischer turns on German Greens in memoirs turn - Europe, World - The Independent



Well-dressed future leaders:
 
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Civil1z@tion

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This seems like it part of a trend I'm noticing in Europe. Traditionally 3rd (or even 4th) ranked parties are beginning to overcome the older parties and gain major influence. In the Netherlands we saw the first liberal PM in 80+ years. In the UK the Liberal Dems are in government for the first time since they took their current name/structure. Now in Germany we see the Greens rising. These are rather interesting times for European politics. Everyone feels like the traditional lead parties have failed in the aftermath of the '08 crisis and that feeling is still in play.

From the link you gave, it looks like the Greens have doubled their support or more. Do you think the trend can last long enough for a potential Green PM? I wonder how that would effect German politics? I do find it refreshing to see a party that supports immigrants gaining popularity as it seems in most of Europe the parties making the most gains are those which want to at least increase limitations on immigration if not completely shut it down. I may not agree with all of the Green platform but good for Germany that anti-immigration ideas haven't completely taken over.
 

PeteEU

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This seems like it part of a trend I'm noticing in Europe. Traditionally 3rd (or even 4th) ranked parties are beginning to overcome the older parties and gain major influence. In the Netherlands we saw the first liberal PM in 80+ years. In the UK the Liberal Dems are in government for the first time since they took their current name/structure. Now in Germany we see the Greens rising. These are rather interesting times for European politics. Everyone feels like the traditional lead parties have failed in the aftermath of the '08 crisis and that feeling is still in play.
My bold and underline.. hell no. The only thing that came out of the 08 crisis was more radical politics usually on anti-immigrant/racist platforms. That also happened during the 1970s after the first oil crisis and these parties always get a boost when there is some sort of crisis. In the end they rarely get any real power because their views are so fanatical and radical. If you look at individual countries, the parties in power are either the same as in 08, or as in the UK, changed to the opposite side of the political spectrum. Only the Dutch have had "big" changes and I question how long they will last. Even here, the other parties are doing their best to marginalize Wilders as best they can.

From the link you gave, it looks like the Greens have doubled their support or more. Do you think the trend can last long enough for a potential Green PM? I wonder how that would effect German politics? I do find it refreshing to see a party that supports immigrants gaining popularity as it seems in most of Europe the parties making the most gains are those which want to at least increase limitations on immigration if not completely shut it down. I may not agree with all of the Green platform but good for Germany that anti-immigration ideas haven't completely taken over.
Dont over dramatise the Greens support growing.. going from 1 to 2% is 100% gain but still not much (talking in general). The only major change has been in Holland where Wilders and his wannabe neo Nazi's got significant power base, but at the same time Le Pen in France is falling in popularity last I seen. It changes from country to country. But as I said, anti-immigration comes up every time there is an economic crisis.
 

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For a comment so unworthy of respectable scrutiny, I wonder why you found need for invective at all. You're not getting frustrated and put on-the-spot this early?
Because you insulted my country in general. While I don't think patriotism should keep one from accepting sober and well-deserved criticism, I don't think someone who respects oneself and his own country should accept cheap shots that are not substantial and not more than expressions of hate and obvious ignorance.

Take Gardener as example. He made a subtle, yet substantial statement that lets shine through what he thinks of the Greens or individual members of that party. Although it was a one-liner, it's more substantial already than what you had to say.

But I suppose you could say that a politically-correct 'Third Way' coalition between two parties under Shroeder was the best memory the Germans could conjure about recent politics.
Of course you are entitled to this opinion, but I think you will understand that it's legitimate to differ. Especially when you don't really know much about the Greens in Germany.

But I wonder if they'd feel so gleeful if the Greens got in and probably raised taxes sky-high, insulted people for going on holiday, or driving a car, as well as putting more effort into whingeing about the military, than by trying to be protectionist like proper left wingers.
I don't think this caricature does justice to what the Greens stand for.

Especially if the German Greens are anything like ours, then God help Germany.
I don't know much about the Greens in Britain, but I assume they are very different. The Greens in Germany, for example, have long become mainstream and given up most of their rather radical stances from the 80s. They have even been part of a national government coalition already.

Ok, now you have posted many links in a kind of Tourette-syndrome-like outburst. Care to comment on it? Do you think the things mentioned in these links are reasons to support or criticize the Greens, in your opinion, and why? (You know, that's what makes the difference between political debate and just ranting.)

Well-dressed future leaders:
Is this supposed to be an argument? I have to ask, because I am not sure.
 

German guy

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This seems like it part of a trend I'm noticing in Europe. Traditionally 3rd (or even 4th) ranked parties are beginning to overcome the older parties and gain major influence. In the Netherlands we saw the first liberal PM in 80+ years. In the UK the Liberal Dems are in government for the first time since they took their current name/structure. Now in Germany we see the Greens rising. These are rather interesting times for European politics. Everyone feels like the traditional lead parties have failed in the aftermath of the '08 crisis and that feeling is still in play.
Indeed. Although I believe that this trend in Germany has not much to do with people blaming the traditional parties for their dealing with the '08 crisis. In fact, that's one of the few things the people don't seem to blame conservative CDU/CSU or center-left SPD for -- unemployment in Germany is on its lowest point in 18 years now, and the economy is growing as if the crisis had never taken place.

I think it has more to do with a decrease of traditional milieus (union-bond workers and churchgoing middle class) that used to bind people to the two bigger parties. It's a long-term shift towards more voting flexibility. Also, the center-left SPD has alienated many traditional voters, who believe in social equality, by reforming the unemployment support system and rising the pension age (imagine the American Republicans banned private gun ownership and legalized abortion, and you get an idea what this meant to traditional SPD supporters) during its time in government between 1998 and 2009. And Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU has moved deep into the center, abandoning the fading number of genuine conservatives.

Society becomes more modern, traditional affiliations are fading, and with them the according values. As a result, it's increasingly difficult for the large parties to keep the different supporter demographics together.

From the link you gave, it looks like the Greens have doubled their support or more. Do you think the trend can last long enough for a potential Green PM?
My guess is that the trend is at least strong enough to allow for Green PMs on state level. But a Green Chancellor on national level is still unlikely at the moment. For once, the Greens are still not strong enough and have only surpassed the SPD in some polls, while still being behind in others. Also, I think once the election comes closer, more people will switch back to the SPD. So the Greens could be really strong in the next election, but it's unlikely they'll be stronger than the center-left SPD, and it's traditionally the stronger partner in a coalition who gets the office of Chancellor.

Also, I am not sure how strong this trend is. It might quickly shift again. We saw that in case of the libertarian FDP prior to the last election: They scored an all-time high with 14.6% of the votes in 2009, but after not even one year in office as junior partner of Merkel's CDU/CSU, they have lost two thirds of their supporters again, polls show them at 4% or 5% only. The same might well happen to the Greens as well.

I wonder how that would effect German politics? I do find it refreshing to see a party that supports immigrants gaining popularity as it seems in most of Europe the parties making the most gains are those which want to at least increase limitations on immigration if not completely shut it down. I may not agree with all of the Green platform but good for Germany that anti-immigration ideas haven't completely taken over.
Yes, I agree, that's indeed an encouraging sign. Xenophobic populism may be stronger than before, but so is the reaction on it. So far, there is no relevant populist party on the far right wing in Germany, but that may change too, if the trend continues that the center-right CDU/CSU can no longer convince those further to the right. We'll have to see.
 

German guy

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Dont over dramatise the Greens support growing.. going from 1 to 2% is 100% gain but still not much (talking in general).
You're right, probably the rise of the Greens is a specifically German thing and other countries cannot be expected to follow. The Greens in Germany have been rather strong already (10.7% in the 2009 election), and if they won up to 24%, as current polls suggest, that would be considerable. But it seems in Germany, the Greens are already considered more experienced and "mature", not extreme anymore, than in other countries.
 
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