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Surge of German Greens in the media

The recent elections in Bavaria and Hesse drew a lot of international attention. Their outcome marked a dramatic shift in Germany’s political landscape.  The Grand Coalition in Berlin is under pressure. As a first consequence, Angela Merkel announced she will not seek another term as Chancellor and that she will not run again for chairwoman of the CDU. International media reported widely about the surge of the Green Party in these elections and their new role in Germany’s changing political landscape. In the articles below I provided my two cents how this came about and how the Greens have established themselves as the hinge party in Germany’s political system. 

 

New York Times: As Voters on Left and Right Rebel, Glimpse of a Post-Merkel Germany
That strategy has paid off for the Greens in Bavaria and beyond, analysts say. “The Greens are the only German party in which the pro-European, refugee-friendly, liberal-democratic attitude is undisputed,” said Arne Jungjohann, a political scientist at the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is affiliated with the party. “In times of rising populism and growing Nazi violence, other parties have been hesitant to take a clear stand.”

Deutsche Welle: Merkel’s sister conservatives battered in Bavaria, Greens gain big
“The Green Party is the liberal antidote to the right-wing AfD,” political scientist Arne Jungjohann told Deutsche Welle. “The Greens achieved a historic performance in Bavaria, because they attracted almost as many votes from CSU (200,000) as from SPD (210,000). The CSU strategy of fishing for right-wing voters backfired as it lost most of its voters to the Green Party.”

The Globe and Mail: Even in stable Bavaria, voters reject Merkel and mainstream politics
“The CSU strategy of fishing for right-wing voters backfired as it lost most of its voters to the Green Party,” political scientist Arne Jungjohann said in an interview.

Euractiv: Green Party ends conservative CSU’s 61-year political dominance in Bavaria
Arne Jungjohann, German political scientist specialised on the German Green Party Bündis90/Die Grünen, explained to EURACTIV that the clear political positions of the Green party, both at the regional and national level, explain the strong showing in Bavaria on Sunday. “The Greens are the only German party today in which the pro-European, refugee-friendly, liberal-democratic attitude is undisputed. This is their unique selling point. Other parties have been hesitant to take a clear stand,” he said. Jungjohann also pointed out that the German Green Party is or has governed with different coalitions country-wide over the last decades. “The Greens have demonstrated that they can implement green policies with different partners. They govern in coalitions across the political spectrum and have established themselves as a hinge party in Germany’s party system,” he said. At peak times, the Greens have governed 11 of Germany’s 16 Länder. The political scientist stressed that this “course of independence” (Kurs der Eigenständigkeit) and a strong focus on the party’s core competence – ecology and climate protection – contributed to a high credibility and visibility for the party. “Voters know what Greens stand for. They view the party as reliable and stable. That is why, as first post-election analysis indicates, the Greens attracted voters from both SPD and CSU,” he said. For Jungjohann, this political flexibility makes the Greens a likely coalition partner for the CSU despite the stark policy differences and an initial cold shoulder from the CSU.

EU Observer: Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive
The shift meant the Greens had become “the liberal antidote to the right-wing AfD” in Germany, the EU’s most populous member state, Arne Jungjohann, a German political analyst, told Deutsche Welle, a German state broadcaster.

Climate Change News: Bavarian vote shakes Berlin coalition, threatens climate limbo

“The Greens achieved a historic performance in Bavaria, because they attracted almost as many votes from CSU (200,000) as from SPD (210,000),” energy analyst and expert on the Greens Arne Jungjohann told Deutsche Welle. “The CSU strategy of fishing for right-wing voters backfired as it lost most of its voters to the Green Party.” The CSU had taken a tougher stance on immigration to prevent Bavarians from voting for the AfD.

 

Those interested in further analysis on the German Greens and their experience on governing in varying coalition constellations I recommend taking a look at my 2016-study German Greens in Coalition Governments.

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