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22 Feb 2021, 12:25
Charlotte Nijhuis

Climate plays important role in upcoming German state elections

Tagesspiegel Background

Climate policy plays an important role in the upcoming German state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate on 14 March, Tagesspiegel Background writes. Baden-Württemberg is currently governed by a coalition of the Greens and the Christian Democrats (CDU), led by the Green state premier Winfried Kretschmann. The Greens currently enjoy 34 percent in polls, followed by the CDU (27%) and the Social Democrats (SPD) with 11 percent. A continued coalition between the Greens and the CDU may not be on the cards: "The CDU was our clog - without which we could have managed a lot more," the state co-leader of the Greens, Sandra Detzer, told Tagesspiegel. The SPD offers itself as a possible coalition partner and campaigns for the target of 1.5 degrees warming, just like the Greens. "Climate action is red", the Social Democrats write in their election programme, referring to the traditional party colour. The Greens in Baden-Württemberg also have a competitor in the new, more radical Klimaliste, which is running in 67 of 70 electoral districts in the state.

In the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Klimaliste plays a marginal role, running in just ten of 52 districts. There, the current government of the SPD, Greens and the pro-business FDP would like to continue governing. "More can't be achieved for the climate than with our current coalition," SPD state secretary general Daniel Stich told Tagesspiegel. However, in the last years, the state has been lagging behind on renewables expansion, especially wind power, Sabine Yacoub, state chairwoman of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) told Tagesspiegel. Yacoub is critical of a possible future government coalition between the CDU and the SPD. "With the CDU, I have my doubts about how much it has internalised the issue of climate action. It's still seen primarily as an economic factor,” she said. The CDU currently enjoys around 33 percent of the votes in polls in the state, followed by the SPD with 28 percent, Tagesspiegel writes. 

The state elections kick off the big German election year, in which several state elections will take place as well as federal elections on 26 September. The national vote will also determine the next chancellor to follow in Angela Merkel’s footsteps.

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