Victory in the NRW: Election after election, the Greens are expanding their power base

DrThe Greens can continue their successful run in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia and, like last Sunday in Schleswig-Holstein, achieve a historic result. In Dusseldorf they acted as kingmaker.

It is likely that they will decide whether Hendrik Fust (CDU) will remain head of the Chancellery of Dusseldorf or whether his rival Thomas Kochati (SPD) will replace him as head of government. Leading Green Party candidate Mona Neubauer has been appointed in every form as deputy prime minister.

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Ricarda Lange, the Greens’ co-chairman, avoided specifying on election night whether the party favored entering into coalition talks with the Social Democrats or the CDU. Nor did the NRW Green Party commit themselves to the election campaign. In any future government, ZDF’s Lang said, you want to ensure a “climate-friendly digital future.”

The head of the Green Party of the Bundestag, Britta Hesselmann, explained on ARD that this was not the “evening of the coalition plans”. You want to “enjoy” success first.

The Greens were more than satisfied with the result, they made a qualitative political leap in North Rhine-Westphalia. In the 2017 state elections, they were penalized by 6.4 percent—above all, as a result of corrupt green school policy.

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But after that, things got better. In the 2019 European elections, they overtook the Social Democratic Party for the first time and ranked as the second strongest party after the CDU. They made gains again in the 2021 local elections. Also in the 2020/21 years, the NRW Greens have had impressive results – initially only in the polls. Forsa and Insa set a whopping 26 percent a year ago. In the federal election on September 26, 2021, the NRW Green Party received 16.1 percent of the second vote and was above the national average.

Habeck and Baerbock are draw horses

While the SPD and CDU struggle with declining membership, the Greens are seeing an increase and are expanding their electoral base after the election. Unlike the SPD, the Greens are more likely to benefit from the performance of their federal employees. Secretary of State Annalena Barbock and Economy Secretary Robert Habeck were important factors in the state’s election campaign. Lead candidate Nieuwpoor may be less well known than Kochati, but that was not the deciding factor. It keeps all alliance options open – it is now standard practice in all state assemblies.

Green Minister Analina Barbock and Robert Habeck

Source: Photo Alliance / dpa

The Greens are now emphasizing the “coalition” in the name of their party: anything goes. In Berlin, Bremen and Thuringia they formed alliances with the left in Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg and Saxony with the CDU. Partially in coalitions of three.

Historically, the Red-Green Alliance would be the original project of the party. It is by no means certain if it would have taken place in Düsseldorf if it was mathematically possible. Much has changed with regard to the SPD. Also in North Rhine-Westphalia, the alliances of states between red and green were often overburdened. Bids from Union politicians to the Greens were not delayed after polls closed.

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Karen Breen, the deputy leader of the federal CDU, campaigned for a “broad coalition” in Dusseldorf on Sunday evening, and Christian Democrat Home Secretary Herbert Ruhl made the first call to the Greens on election night.

The mood at the traffic light is gloomy

“The direction of the next government is crucial,” Neubauer says. The Greens want to push ahead with transforming energy supplies, constructing at least 1,000 new wind turbines nationwide by 2027, and changing the priority in construction policy — renovation before expansion and a significant reduction in land use. Your government program has some sticking points, especially for CDU.

As happy as the Greens are with their results, they are increasingly concerned about the results of the coalition partners in Berlin. The SPD works only moderately, and the liberals get slapped – this will not improve the mood at a traffic light.

‘We suffered a catastrophic defeat’

According to forecasts, the CDU-FDP coalition will lose its majority in the Dusseldorf state parliament. The FDP must accept significant losses. Watch here the first reaction of FDP leader Christian Lindner.

But in Berlin, the Greens can’t go strong. After the election in Schleswig-Holstein, where the Greens had their best-ever result of 18.3 last Sunday, they have now broken the record once again in the most populous federal state. what is the reason? In contrast to the Union, the Social Democratic Party and the Free Democratic Party, they currently make the most diverse political impression. The issue surrounding Federal Family Minister Anne Spiegel was quickly settled and accommodated with her resignation.

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Voter turnout is taken into account

What’s remarkable is what’s not happening with the Greens right now: There are no bags of paint flying off at delegate meetings, no rhetorical fights on the show, and also no wave of resignations. It all happened in 1999, when the red-green federal government sent the Bundeswehr to the Balkans. The Kosovo War had nearly torn the party at the time, and the Greens also found it very difficult to agree to the German army’s deployment in Afghanistan.

The ideological weight has been removed

Today, in a much more dangerous international situation, there are no longer any signs of such disturbances. The party leadership changed course with astonishing speed. In February, Foreign Minister Barbock explained for the first time why the Federal Republic could not deliver weapons to Ukraine “due to historical responsibility”. Today I announced the opposite – Sweden and Finland promised to join NATO quickly.

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Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin are leading their countries toward NATO

The fact that weapons should not be handed over to crisis areas is still in the party program – but this is part of the old newspaper. In the crisis, the Greens managed to get rid of ideological weight. In informal leadership around party and faction leaders as well as Habeck and Baerbock, everyone bands together. The Left and Realos, who were still fighting properly in December when it came to the distribution of positions in the government, reached a truce.

However, this unity is not based on tactics – rather on political conviction. The fact that party leftists like Anton Hoofreiter are calling for more heavy weapons to be delivered to Ukraine almost every day shows how much the party’s battle situation has changed.

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