The state assembly election this Sunday in Baden-Württemberg has a decent chance to result in Germany’s first state premier from the Green Party.
The state has been led by the Christian Democrats, the party of German federal Chancellor (PM) Angela Merkel, for nearly 60 years. The party has slid in polls nationally recently, down to around 33%, according to Spiegel. Among the issues contributing to the slide, in addition to a plagiarist ex-minister, is the government’s stance on nuclear power. It recently announced a temporary shutdown of seven nuclear reactors in response to the Fukushima crisis. In Baden-Württemberg, the political problem for premier Stefan Mappus and his CDU is even especially acute:
Mappus’ problems, however, go beyond his party’s sinking numbers nationwide. The Baden-Württemberg governor, after all, has long been a firm, even boisterous, supporter of nuclear energy. Last year, as Merkel’s government was preparing legislation to extend the lifespans of Germany’s 17 nuclear reactors, Mappus even went so far as to hint that Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen — a CDU party ally — should resign due to his reluctance to support the extension.
The combined Green-Social Democratic vote could be larger than that of the CDU and its partner the Free Democratic party.
Current polls show that even though the CDU can still count on 38 percent support on Sunday, it may not be enough to keep Mappus in power. His current coalition partners, the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), stand at 6 percent in the polls. The Social Democrats and the Green Party, for their part, add up to 47 percent support — three points ahead of the CDU-FDP alliance — with recent Green gains suggesting it may be possible that the party could claim the state’s governorship.* It that happens, it would be a first for the Greens in Germany.
The Greens and Social Democrats (SPD) are close in the poll, at 25% and 22%, respectively; the Green gain is 5 points in the past week (The Local).
The Green Party’s strength is not only due to Fukushima, as it has been gaining for months due to its leading of the opposition to a controversial redevelopment project in Stuttgart, the state capital.
If the Greens pass the SPD and the SPD-Green combo is greater than the CDU-FDP combo, the Green leader could become premier. That’s two “ifs” and both races are close. This will be one to watch.
Aside from some municipalities, is there a government anywhere that has been led by a Green chief executive?
* Contrary to Spiegel, I prefer “premiership,” as that captures the fact that the state executive emerges from and is dependent upon the assembly majority.