The going will get tough for the German Greens
This year’s federal election in Germany is important for us for the reason that the Greens are in the running to become the largest party and form the government. But we need to be realistic about the likely outcome (vote scheduled for September 26).
The Green Party doesn’t yet have much experience serving in a governing coalition at the national level (they did it once, 1998–2005). And they took a chance putting forward a very young (and relatively inexperienced) candidate for Chancellor, Annalena Baerbock.
German voters are blessed with an essentially six-party system: Christian Democrats (conservative), Social Democrats (social democratic), Free Democrats (liberal), Alternative for Germany (hyper-nationalist), the Left Party (socialist), and the Greens. No party gets 50%, and so governments are formed via coalitions.
The Christian Democrats have dominated for most of the post-WW-II period, usually polling between thirty and forty percent. The Social Democrats used to be consistently second with a solid base of thirty percent support. But they’ve been in decline for over a decade. They now poll under twenty percent.
There has been a Green surge, but that’s from just nine percent of the vote in 2017. It’s not actually likely that they’ll jump from 9% to the 25% needed to lead the formation of the 2021 government. After they briefly pulled ahead in the polls earlier this month, the party and their candidate came under withering scrutiny for the first time. In politics, when you’re in the lead, the press tends to get captious and all the other parties try to tear you down. It won’t be easy being Green over the next four months. But it will be quite a breakthrough on September 26 if the party gets close to twenty percent and becomes established at the top tier of German politics.