The German Green Party confirmed Annalena Baerbock as chancellor candidate for the September elections at a party conference on Saturday.
Accepting her 98.5% confirmation, Baerbock has planned a “duel” with the German conservatives CDU-CSU, led by Angela Merkel, herself once environment minister, who is about to step down after four mandates.
“For the first time in decades, real change is in the air,” Baerbock told the 688 green delegates attending their Berlin-based hybrid conference, many of whom are linked remotely by video.
“Now is the time to renew our country. And everything is at hand,” she said, offering industrial sectors a “binding” pact to reimburse them for the additional costs resulting from a climate neutral economy for a long time. advocated by environmentalists Les Verts.
Across society, said Baerbock, 40, “inventiveness, solidarity and diversity” were needed to tackle what she called “the great task of our time, to avoid the climate crisis”.
Saturday’s confirmation also applied to co-chair Robert Habeck, 51, placing him with Baerbock to lead the Greens’ campaign for the September elections in Germany. They first emerged as co-party leaders in 2018, with Baerbock previously little known to the general public.
Baerbock, 40, inexperienced in cabinet but the Greens’ climate negotiator in failed three-way coalition talks after Germany’s 2017 elections, admitted his mistakes on Saturday.
The inaccuracies in her resume “annoyed her terribly,” said Baerbock, whose career includes studying international law in London and trampoline.
Faced with harsh counter-lobbying from industry and other parties, Baerbock and Habeck were handed political plans on Saturday by green delegates intended not to “overwhelm” voters.
Friday anti-Baerbock ad – placed by INSM, a think tank on the metal and electrical industry
Delegates at the opening of the conference on Friday opposed proposals to set a speed limit of 70 kilometers (56 miles) per hour on rural roads and to ban new internal combustion vehicles as early as 2025.
Delegates were persuaded by Green Party director Michael Kellner on Saturday to campaign for a minimum wage of â¬ 12 ($ 14.57) an hour in Germany, where â¬ 9.50 currently applies. Some delegates wanted â¬ 13 an hour.
Delegates also called for more investment in education and preschool kindergartens and its research and development sectors in Germany, to the tune of 3.5% of German gross domestic product by 2025.
Recent polls have placed Merkel’s outgoing conservatives – the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) – jointly at around 28%.
The Greens are ranked second nationally with around 22% in the polls – after recently eclipsing the Tories – and despite bumps in last weekend’s regional assembly elections in the state of Saxony-Anhalt .
The rise of Baerbock represents the first candidacy for the chancellery of the Greens, radical in the 1980s but presented in recent years as pragmatic after damaging quarrels between “realos” and “fundis”.
On a personal level, Baerbock was recently placed behind Conservative chancellor candidate Armin Laschet and center-left Social Democrats (SPD) Olaf Scholz, currently Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor of Merkel’s coalition cabinet.
ipj / aw (Reuters, AFP, dpa, KNA)