A coalition of Social Democrats and Greens was brought back into power in votes Sunday in the north German city-state of Bremen, ended in a humiliating loss for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union party CDU by pushing the party into third place behind the Greens.
The victory marks the first time in any regional vote that the Greens Germany have surpassed the Christian Democrats.
The Social Democrats, led by Jens Böhrnsen, won 38.1 percent, slightly more than the 2007 election, according to preliminary results. The Greens increased to 22.5 percent of the vote compared to 16 percent in 2007.
The Christian Democrats, traditionally the second-largest party in this small state, which won more than 25 percent of the vote in 2007, regressed to only 20 percent on Sunday.
The Rise of the Greens in Germany irrepressible
The rise of the Greens, which is in opposition on the federal level, confirmed that its success in regional vote in March in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg was not just a simple indicator in the party’s fortunes.
In Baden-Württemberg, the Greens for the first time were able to establish a coalition government with the Social Democrats as its junior partner, dislodging the Christian Democrats from a position they had held for over a half century in the economically wealthy state.
In Bremen the Christian Democrats stated after the elections: “We fought hard. We are disappointed.”
Claudia Roth, a Green leader and federal lawmaker, stated the success of the Greens could be traced to issues beyond the nuclear accident in Fukushimo, Japan, which forced Mrs. Merkel to completely reverse her energy policy by phasing out nuclear power as soon as possible and replacing it with renewable energy, as well as gas and coal.
“The Greens’ consistent stand against nuclear energy is well-known,” Ms. Roth said. “We campaigned on other issues such as education.”
If the trend for the Greens continues in future regional elections in coming months, they are in a strong position as a potential kingmaker for the federal elections due in 2013. Opinion polls show that if elections were held right away, Mrs. Merkel’s center-right coalition would be soundly defeated by a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens.
İt is still unclear whether Chancellor Merkel, whose party is expected to remain the largest party after the 2013 federal elections, would consider a coalition with the Greens in Germany.
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