Saturday, May 15

The Greens of Germany will propose the first candidate for chancellor

The center-left environmental party said its leadership would call one of its co-chairs, Annalena Baerbock or Robert Habeck, on April 19, and final approval is expected at a party congress in June.

“We have a strong duo at the top with Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck for the 2021 general election,” Greens CEO Michael Kellner tweeted.

“And on April 19 we will present which of the two will assume the candidacy for chancellor. #AllesistDrin (Everything is possible) “.

While both Baerbock, 40, and Habeck, 51, have said they want to put their party into elections, they have long said they want to make the decision by consensus.

A poll conducted Wednesday by the Forsa institute placed Baerbock slightly ahead of Habeck in voter preference.

Who will be the conservative candidate?

The Greens’ move throws the gauntlet at Merkel’s conservative CDU / CSU ruling, who have said they would name their top candidate between Easter last weekend and Pentecost on May 23.

The battle is between the head of the CDU, Armin Laschet, who has repeatedly clashed with Merkel over the coronavirus lockdown measures, and the much more popular head of the CSU, Markus Soeder, who as prime minister of the Bavarian state has followed largely the chancellor’s line on the pandemic.

ALSO READ: Germany after Merkel: does the new CDU leader have what it takes to be the future chancellor?

The CDU / CSU, which has played a dominant role in postwar German politics for decades, is voting around 27 percent, with the Greens on their heels with around 23 percent.

Conservatives have undergone a dramatic turnaround in the wake of the raging third wave of the virus outbreak, a slow launch of vaccines and a series of corruption allegations against several MPs.

The figures suggest that the most likely electoral outcome would be a first federal government made up of Conservatives and Greens when Merkel retires after 16 years at the helm of Europe’s main economy.

But analysts have not ruled out a victory for the Greens.

If it is shaping up to be a Laschet-Baerbock race, “the likelihood that the Greens will win and lead the next German government can increase from 25 percent to at least 30 percent and possibly 35 percent, in our opinion.”

Said Berenberg Bank chief economist Holger Schmieding. The Greens served as junior partners in a German government led by the Social Democrats between 1998 and 2005 and have occasionally been linked with the CDU at the state level.

The Social Democrats, with a losing streak of about 15 percent, have appointed Finance Minister Olaf Scholz as their candidate for chancellor.

READ MORE: Life after Merkel: Is Germany ready to think about what’s next?

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