07 Jun 2019, 12:57
Julian Wettengel

Greens overtake Merkel’s conservatives to lead German national polls


The Green Party has overtaken German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance to be the strongest party for the first time in a key national poll by public broadcaster ARD. 26 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Greens, while 25 percent named CDU/CSU and only 12 percent said they would vote for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) – a record low for Merkel’s smaller coalition partner. The far right populist AfD polledat 13 percent. When asked which party has the best answers for future challenges, most respondents said “no party/don’t know” (45 percent), a quarter named the Greens and only 12 percent the governing CDU/CSU alliance.

Germany’s ruling parties took another blow in the recent European elections, further rattling the fragile government coalition, as voters increasingly turn away from the established forces in the political centre. Against the backdrop of the highest turnout in EU elections in Germany since reunification, support for the Greens surged amid concerns over the global climate crisis, putting the party in second place. The Greens’ wins have since pushed Germany’s governing parties to put greater focus on combatting climate change. But the election campaign also revealed signs of a potential backlash, as some right-wing populist parties, including Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD), seized on opposition to climate action as a key part of their platform. While analysts say it is unclear whether the strategy paid off, they see the issue of climate change ripe for political polarisation, especially as countries adopt more ambitious policies that increasingly affect citizens’ daily lives. One big test could be upcoming state elections in the former East Germany.

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