Ecologist parties are a hit in Europe

Katharina Schulze and Ludwig Hartmann, leaders of the German Green party at a press conference in Munich in Germany on 15 October 2018. [Lukas Barth-Tuttas EPA/MAXPPP]

In Belgium, Luxembourg and Bavaria, the Greens have been the big winners at the weekend’s elections by attracting new voters. EURACTIV France’s media partner Ouest-France reports.

The European ecologist parties are in great shape at the ballot box, gaining support due to the climate crisis. Die Grünen (the German Greens) doubled their score at the Bavarian state election on Sunday. Having gained 17.5% of the vote, they now represent the second largest force in the parliament, behind the CSU conservatives (37.2%).

The Green vote particularly consisted of young and urban people. In around 20 towns, the Greens overtook the CSU and in Munich, the capital, they won 30.3% of the vote, against 25.2% for the CSU.

The rise of the Greens is an underlying trend in Germany. This party picked up voters disappointed with the coalition government of Angela Merkel’s fourth mandate by digging into the conservatives’ reservoir as much as the social democrats’ one.

The German greens have experienced power: they lead the government of Baden-Württemberg and co-lead in nine regions, on the basis of programmes negotiated in advance with both the left and the right. They show a pragmatism from which the French Greens, who are in need of results, could learn.

Green Party ends conservative CSU’s 61-year political dominance in Bavaria

In a vote it called “historic”, the Green Party ended the absolute majority of conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria on Sunday (14 October) and became the second strongest political force in a state election whose result will resonate in Berlin and beyond and further dent Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position.

Second largest party in Brussels

The ecologists also flourished in the communal elections in Belgium, which took place on Sunday. “Ecolo-Groen is progressing everywhere in Wallonia (French-speaking South) and the Brussels-Capital Region,” political scientist Pascal Delwit noted.

The Green party now had several new mayors in the Brussels agglomeration. “It has won 550 communal councillors,” it was congratulated at the national headquarters. Moreover, the renewal was very female in form. “Congratulations to Uccle: 13 seats, including 8 women,” cheered Perrine Ledan, who had been elected.

The Belgian Greens have often acted as a refuge for voters disappointed by the traditional parties. This is still the case, following the political and financial Publifin and Kazakhgate scandals, in which the socialist party and the Mouvement réformateur (MR, liberal) were involved.

Three more seats in Luxembourg

The ecologists in Luxembourg – Die Gréng – were also delighted on Sunday. They doubled their score, gaining 14.65% of the vote and three additional seats in the chamber. Carole Dieschbourg, the minister for the environment, doubled her number of votes compared to 2013.

In a similar vein to the German Greens, the ecologists in Luxembourg have also experienced power. For instance, there are seven Green seats in the current government.

These three historic scores are a “good sign for the European elections” in May 2019, stated Claude Turmes, a Green from Luxembourg. He listed new reasons for people to become members of the Greens. These included the fear of pesticides, the fight against global warming, diesel-gate and air pollution, among others.


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