Annalena Baerbock has been chosen as co-leader by Germany’s green party as its first-ever candidate for the chancellery in September’s election.
Baerbock, 40, even though has government experience, has been a lawmaker in the national parliament since 2013. She has been sharing the leadership of the party with Robert Habec, 51, since 2018.
They have presided over a rise in poll ratings. The current pools of the party stand at 20-22 per cent, more than twice the 8.9 percent it won in the 2017 election. The percentage is second only to the ruling centre-right CDU/CSU alliance.
This means that the Greens, who are in opposition internationally in 11 of the country’s 16 state governments could be a key contender in forming the next government
“Democracy lives on change,” Baerbock said. “Yes, I have never been chancellor or a minister. I stand for renewal, others stand for the status quo.”
She said she wants “a Germany at the heart of Europe, a country in which climate protection creates the future foundation for prosperity, freedom and security”.
“Today begins a new chapter for our party. And if we do it well, for our country as well. We have a clear idea of a chancellorship for Germany,” she continued.
Baerbock is based in eastern Brandenburg state, a rural region where the Greens initially struggled to make inroads but now are a part of the local government. She has two young daughters.
Her educational background includes political science and international law in Hamburg and London. She was also a successful trampolinist in her youth. Her candidacy still needs to be approved during the party congress in June.
The party’s programme that was disclosed last month includes an acceleration of the country’s exit from coal-fired power, a rise in carbon prices and a significant boost in infrastructure spending. They are a pro-European Union and take a tough line toward Russia, calling for an end to the Nord system 2 gas pipeline project.
She has called for a “joint, strong European position” on Russia and China, arguing: “With authoritarian forces in particular, we have to have a clearly guided foreign policy … in dialogue, and tough at the same time.”
“Now is the time for politics to rise above itself, for us to shape the future. That’s my offer. That’s our offer. That’s what we’re running for,” Baerbock said.
The September 26 parliamentary election is unpredictable, in part because Angela Merkel, 66, isn’t seeking re-election.
As per reports, her Union bloc has up till now failed to give an agreement to any candidate with Armin Laschet, the leader of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and Markus Soeder, the head of its smaller Bavarian sister party, Christain Social Union (CSU), both in line for the official ticket.