In the latest blow to chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock, the German Greens will be barred from participating in the German federal election in the state of Saarland this September. According to Germany’s federal election officer, the party is prohibited from participating due to irregularities in the election of the regional candidates.
On August 5th, the Federal Electoral Committee decided to exclude the German Greens from the ballot in the state of Saarland during September’s national elections.
Prior to this decision, the Greens were polling in second place at 19 percent behind the CDU/CSU bloc at 27 percent. While the decision may seem insignificant, the state of Saarland at the French border makes up about 1.3% of the electorate in Germany.
The decision followed an internal fight over the nomination of the regional lead candidate. In a controversial last minute move, the party switched its lead candidate from Hubert Ulrich to Jeanne Dillschneider. Regional election administrator, Monika Zöllner, called the move a “severe electoral error”. Several party members complained about irregularities in the nomination process.
Germany elects members of parliament through two votes. The first is for individual candidates and the second vote is for regional party lists. The second vote is the most important since it determines how many seats in parliament each party will get. The election committee’s ruling specifically impacts second votes. Saarland voters could still choose Green Party members with their first vote.
The Greens’ political manager, Michael Kellner told German media: “We regret the election committee’s decision. It is particularly bitter for the people in Saarland who would have liked to vote for the regional Green list”
Adding to Baerbock’s list of controversies
The decision to exclude the Greens will be added to a list of controversies that leader Annalena Baerbock has had to face this past year.
In particular, Baerbock faced accusations of plagiarism, claims of inaccuracies on her resume, and failing to report a 25,000 euros payment.
In July, 2021 Baerbock admitted to taking passages from her book ‘Jetzt: Wie wir unser Land erneuern‘ (Now: How We Renew Our Country) from publicly available sources without properly citing them.
This series of controversies and missteps have haunted the Green Party and their standing in the upcoming election.
Carsten Nickel, the global head of macro at ING explained to CNBC that the German election is becoming “a rollercoaster ride for all candidates and parties.”
He told CNBC “Up to now, these up and downs have been mainly driven by the popularity or unpopularity and missteps of the leading candidates and not so much by a real debate on content and topics. Baerbock and consequently the Greens have been in a free-fall after the surge in spring. This fall is closely related to a series of blunders and missteps by Baerbock. However, with still more than a month to go a lot can happen”
It has yet to be seen how the German Greens’ barring from the federal election in Saarland will affect the election results. All eyes will be on Annalena Baerbock as voters go to the polls in September 2021.