In Germany, the elections for the next chancellor are taking a turn to favour the Greens at the expense of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Merkel, the current German chancellor with four consecutive terms since 2005, announced in October 2018 that she would not run for office after the end of her term in 2021. However, since the beginning of March 2021, the Green Party of Germany, the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen is growing in the polls, and presented Annalena Baerbock as a candidate for the chancellorship on April 20.
Since April 25, the CDU (Christian Democratic Union, or Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) has been outpaced in the polls by the Green Party of Germany. Support for the party declined from 27% to 24% in one week, reaching a level not seen since March 2020, while support for the Green Party is at its highest level in two years.
These results, according to Ska Keller, German MEP and co-chair of the Greens and the European Free Alliance, demonstrate a need and desire among the German population for political change. “There is obviously a great need for political change and a desire for a party that is not absorbed in internal struggles, but has ideas and visions and plans beyond just thinking about the next elections,” said Keller to Global Green News. “We have a long history of working for the environment, social justice, rule of law, feminism and refugee rights and are ready to implement our agenda at the federal level.”
The rise of the German Green Party in the polls alongside Angela Merkel’s declining popularity also speaks more broadly to a desire for change in European politics. Political parties such as the Greens stand for issues like the environment, and social justice which are important for voters, especially to young voters in Europe.
“We see all over Europe that issues of climate, biodiversity and the environment in general are on the agenda in public debates,” Keller explained to Global Green News. “On these urgent issues, only the Greens have been fighting for climate justice for decades; this wave of change and our persistent involvement has helped us in terms of support in many countries.” With a dominant Green party in one of Europe’s biggest powers, the European political agenda would be fundamentally altered and could make way for the development of a truly green policy in Europe. As Ska pointed out, the German Green Party today hopes that a Green victory in the September elections could trigger a Green wave in Europe.
The September 2021 elections in Germany will thus have not only national significance in the German territory, but also more broadly at the European level. However, despite the current polls, the biggest task is still ahead for the German Greens. In previous years, Germans were not necessarily consistent in their voting. Pollster Stephan Merz, director of Infratest Dimap, told the Guardian that German voters tend to value continuity above all else. “The question is whether the Greens can maintain their momentum once the majority of the country has been inoculated, the stores reopen and people can go on vacation again,” pollster Merz told the Guardian. “If the national debate shifts to the economy at that point, the CDU could regain lost ground.”
Keller told Global Green News that despite the current poll numbers, the Greens’ goal remains the same. “Ultimately, our goal is to get as many votes as possible in September and govern with those who want to support our green agenda. We will continue to campaign throughout the year and want to win this election. “