The strong sister of the European group, but for how long.

Germany’s Green Party Emerges as the Center-Left Opposition

from The Wall Street Journal,

Its impressive showings in state elections suggest reports of the far right’s rise were exaggerated.

Here’s a sentence this columnist never expected to write: Two cheers for Germany’s Green Party. It may have a lesson for the rest of Europe. The Greens were the big winner in state elections in Bavaria earlier this month, more than doubling their vote tally from five years ago to finish second. The party is expected to match that result in this Sunday’s state election in Hesse, where it’s currently polling around 20%. That’s nearly twice its 2013 finish and tied for second with the center-left Social Democratic Party. This sudden surge on the left comes as a shock to pundits who assumed German politics was shifting rightward. Instead the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany, or AfD, is fizzling. It won around 10% in Bavaria and may hit 13% in Hesse—distant fourth-place finishes. Reports of its demise are premature, but the AfD has struggled to build momentum after its record 12.6% vote share in last year’s national election. The rise of fringe nationalist parties—such as the AfD, France’s National Front, Britain’s UK Independence Party and Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party in the Netherlands—created an impression that voters wanted national borders, distinct cultural identities and an end to large-scale immigration. German voters instead are rewarding the country’s most avidly pro-immigration party, a hyper-European band of urban cultural leftists. And they’re not alone.

The story of the German Greens shows how this happens. Once a peace-and-trees party of hippie scolds, over the past 20 years the party has absorbed a new tranche of more-realistic voters and leaders. The secret to the party’s newfound success is an improbable combination of vague otherworldliness in some policy areas, hard-nosed realism in others, and a paradoxical ability to maintain its outsider status while also being mainstream enough to earn voter trust.

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

365 Days Page
Comment ( 0 )