Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Sunday’s federal election threw Germany’s Greens into a state of disarray — should they celebrate their best result ever or mourn the fact they failed to prevent a centre-right coalition and languished in fifth place?
“A Victory that is a Defeat”, “Triumph and Bitterness”, “Celebrations despite missing goal,” read newspaper headlines on Monday. (Photo: Kuenast and Trittin, top candidates of the Greens party, arrive on stage after the general election, Sept 27, Reuters/Ralph Orlowski)
The Greens, one of the world’s most successful environmental parties, won more than a tenth of the vote — not bad for a party whose members entered parliament as revolutionary rebels in the 1980s flourishing potted plants and sporting woolly jumpers.
“We feel strengthened in our fight for ecological modernisation, social justice and civil rights by the best result we have ever had,” co-leader Juergen Trittin told hundreds of party faithful on Sunday evening at the Greens headquarters in Berlin.
I had the chance to pose that question to a charismatic young German political leader who is sometimes likened by his supporters to the American President.
Greens party co-chairman Cem Oezdemir, the son of Turkish immigrants, became the first person from an ethnic minority elected to lead a major German party last year — a slogan at the time was “Yes, we Cem“. What might sound rather unspectacular in many industrial countries was actually an epic change in Germany, which until only a decade ago was loath to even acknowledge it was a country of “immigrants” (preferring to call its 7 million foreigners “guest workers”).