Annalena Baerbock breezed into Stuttgart this week as if she still believes she can succeed Angela Merkel at next weekend’s election and become Germany’s first ever Green chancellor. But unless the polls are wildly wrong, Ms Baerbock is set to go down in history as the woman who threw away the German Green Party’s first real chance of taking power and forming a government. This should have been the Greens’ year. Climate change dominates the German political agenda. Voters regularly name it as one of the top three issues facing the country, and it was given new urgency when 184 people were killed in devastating floods in July. The SPD candidate, Olaf Scholz, now looks bound for the chancellery. The Greens have privately all but written off their chances of winning and are positioning themselves to negotiate a role as junior coalition partner — leaving their supporters to ask what went wrong. “It’s a question of competence. The Greens spent years convincing voters they weren’t just a one issue party, that they could be trusted with the economy. And then along came Baerbock with this campaign that just looked completely incompetent.” Ms Baerbock may be out campaigning for every vote, but her party is already looking beyond election day toward coalition negotiations. If Mr Scholz wins as predicted, the Greens expect him to come calling. And policies like a wealth tax, making Germany carbon neutral by 2035 and a speed limit on the Autobahns will be their price for putting him in the chancellery.
Telegraph 18th Sept 2021 read more »