01 Oct 2020, 13:42
Julian Wettengel

Activists aim to unite small parties under one climate roof to gain seats in next German parliament

Die Welt

Climate activists want to get small and niche parties in Germany to unite as one political party to overcome the five percent threshold to gain seats in parliament after the 2021 national election, reports Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. “There is no party in the German Bundestag that stands up for socially just climate action and the 1.5 degree Celsius target,” said Bianca Praetorius, co-founder of the initiative United4Bundestag. The group aims to “unite the progressive forces across cultural, organisational and thematic differences” and thus “hack the system”. The idea is to set up a new political party and together clear the threshold for seats in parliament. Once in parliament, the individual members would work together on climate, but each MP would also pursue their individual agenda on other issues.

An alternative to forming a new party would be to come together under the roof of one of the country’s most successful small parties, said Praetorius, and suggested the satirical Die Partei, which gained one percent of the vote in 2017 and 2.4 percent in the 2019 European elections. Federal chairman Martin Sonneborn, however, told his party base that there are currently no plans to unite with other parties, robbing the initiative of a key driving force, writes Wetzel. The core team of the initiative is made up of activists from climate action, social justice and democracy movements, as well as members from small parties, such as the digitalisation-focused Pirate Party or the pro-European Volt.

Germans will head to the polls in autumn 2021 to elect the next federal government. Since the previous election in 2017, climate and energy have consistently moved up among voter priorities. A string of hot, dry summers that took a toll on the country's environment have contributed to massive climate protests led by the Fridays for Future movement, which put emissions reduction efforts at the heart of public debate and helped the Green Party surge in the polls.

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