Will this 40-year-old green politician be Germanys new Chancellor?

She is only 40 years old, has no government experience, but still has a chance to become Germanys new Chancellor: Annalena Baerbock. She was put forward this morning as the leader (and therefore Kanzlerkandidat) of the Greens.

The party is so good in the polls that a green Chancellor is no longer unthinkable. With the departure of Angela Merkel and an unprecedented leadership crisis with the biggest opponent, the Christian Democrats of the CDU/CSU, the playing field of German politics is completely open.

In her first speech as a leader, Baerbock addresses her inexperience. โ€œIt is true, I have never been Chancellor, and not even a minister.โ€ Chancellors office โ€œfulfills it with humility and a great sense of responsibilityโ€. But, she says, if government experience were the only criterion, we can leave it at the old.

Her fresh look can be a strong point, she says. โ€œI stand for innovation, the others stand for the status quo. With only driving on vision we do not get any further, here and there loosening and tightening some screws. I want to look forward, venture new things.โ€

Baerbock was unknown to a large part of the Germans until three years ago. In 2018, together with more experienced politician Robert Habeck, she was elected party leader of the Greens, a party traditionally led by a duo. Until then, she was already considered a great talent within the party with an enormous knowledge of files, ambition and guts.

The election of Baerbock and Habeck did the party well. The Greens were still around 10 percent in the polls in 2018, and in the last polls the party fluctuates between 20 and 23 percent. Since then, even in elections, the Greens have only won victories.

The Greens were founded in 1980 as a party against all forms of warfare and nuclear power, a party full of left-wing rebels and taboo breakers. At the time Chancellor Kohl, they were a thorn in the eye. โ€œWe must tolerate them, but I think it is a phase, in two years time it will probably be over again,โ€ he would have told American vice president Bush in 1983.

Meanwhile, the party has become a fixed value in German politics. In 11 Lรคnder they participate in the state government. In terms of content they have moved to the middle, also Baerbock (and Habeck) are representatives of the pragmatic movement. As a result, they have become an alternative to a greater part of the voters.

It must be very strange if the Greens do not enter the next government, says political analyst Thorsten Faas. โ€œThe Greens play a role in all possible coalitions. It could even be that they become the biggest. That would be almost equivalent to a revolution within the German party system.โ€

Kemphanen fight at competitor CDU/CSU

The flexible process with which the Greens have chosen their candidate stands in stark contrast to the open battle currently being fought by the Christian Democrats. There are also two people who would like to be the successor of Merkel: the current chairman of the CDU, Armin Laschet, and the chairman of the Bavarian sister party CSU, Markus Sรถder.

They have been fighting a Kemphan fight for over a week, in which Sรถder has shaken the top of the party by labeling their support for Laschet as backroom policy. Laschet, on the other hand, has been told from all over the party for a week that they do not trust him to win the elections in September.

Last week it came to a boil in a closed group meeting. โ€œTheres only one question really important: do we want to win?โ€ , Sรถder asked rhetorically to the members of CDU and CSU. Sรถder relies on his strongest achievement: the polls. For weeks, hes been doing much better than Laschet.

For example, he is one of the most popular politicians among Germans, especially because of his strict coronation policy. In rankings, he is now even above Merkel. Laschet, on the other hand, gets worse figures: in a recent survey, only 13% say he was a good Chancellor. Two thirds of CDU/CSU voters would even consider choosing another party if he became a leader.