Cablegate: Green Party in Southwest Germany Seeks the Center, New

DE RUEHFT #3135/01 3410933
O 070933Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Green Party in Southwest Germany Seeks the Center, New

1. SUMMARY: The Green Party used its recent conventions in Hesse
and Baden-Wuerttemberg (B-W)on November 14 and 21 respectively to
discuss a political strategy for attracting centrist voters from the
Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Christian Democratic Union
(CDU). Despite coming in fourth place in the parliamentary election,
the Baden-Wuerttemberg Greens were upbeat about their chances,
although outstanding questions remained about the party's future
left-of-center or right-of-center position on Germany's political
spectrum. The Hesse Greens - facing a similar dilemma - spoke out
strongly against attempts to align the national Green Party with the
forces of the political left. End Summary

2. The Green Party had their best results in Southwest Germany in
the September 27 parliamentary election. They earned 13.9% in
Baden-Wuerttemberg, 9.7% in Rheinland-Pfalz, and 12% in Hesse. In
Saarland, the Greens scored only 6.8%, but were instrumental in
enabling the formation of the first state "Jamaica" (CDU-Green-FDP)
coalition government. The Green Party has long enjoyed success on a
communal level in Baden-Wuerttemberg with a series of Green Party
mayors in key cities: Konstanz (Lord Mayor Horst Frank), Freiburg
(Dieter Salomon), and Tuebingen (Boris Palmer). In June 2009, the
Stuttgart Greens took over the Stuttgart City Council ending 38
years of CDU dominance. Stuttgart is the only State capital where
the Greens make up the largest caucus in the city council. In
Hesse, the home of the first Green minister, Joschka Fischer, the
Greens have a similar strong base with the party winning 13.7% of
votes in the 2009 state election. Frankfurt has a successful
CDU-Green (black-green) governing coalition, which both parties have
said they would be willing to continue after the communal elections
in 2011.

3. Even before the parliamentary election on September 27 and the
formation of Saarland's Jamaica coalition government, some Green
Party politicians in Baden-Wuerttemberg realized that their success
lay in winning centrist voters from other parties. "We are the new
political middle," Stuttgart City Council Green Caucus Chief
Wolfgang Woelfle said after his party won last June. Andreas
Reissig, Chief of the Stuttgart SPD, noted that the Greens won the
Stuttgart City Council because they were able to win votes from
moderate CDU members who will be difficult to win back for the CDU.
Reissig also hypothesized that some former FDP voters are now voting
Green, which B-W FDP Spokesman Jan Havlik confirmed. Freiburg Lord
Mayor Salomon publicly called on his party to discard the idea of
being a "leftist" party. According to Salomon, the Greens need to
normalize their relationship with the FDP. (Salomon is up for
reelection in 2010 and has the support of the local CDU and

4. Under B-W Minister-President Oettinger (CDU), open discussions
about a future CDU-Green coalition in the state flourished.
However, with Oettinger's future move to Brussels as EU Commissioner
and his successor Stephan Mappus set to take over the B-W CDU, this
prospect now seems unlikely. At their state convention on November
21, the Green leadership heavily attacked Mappus for his
archconservative course on family, integration and energy policies.
Green leaders Silke Krebs and Chris Kuehn rejected any possibility
of cooperating with him. Speaking at the convention, Greens Party
Chief Cem Oezdemir also buried all hopes for a black/green alliance,
calling Mappus "an impertinence" for every Green. However, the B-W
Greens want to continue their current course and would like to
become the second strongest party in the B-W state parliament after
2011, hoping to even surpass the dwindling SPD.

5. At their recent party convention, the Hesse Greens charted a
course for pragmatism. Olaf Cunitz, Green caucus chief of the
Frankfurt Black-Green (CDU-Green) governing coalition, said the
choice for the Green Party will be "to participate in the government
with ideas or to be in the opposition with ideology." Cunitz argues
that the days of the Greens winning former SPD voters is over and
that the party is now gaining votes from the FDP (young urban
academics, small families with double incomes.) The
Secretary-General of the Hesse Greens, Kai Klose, critiqued the
federal Green Party executive board further saying that if the
federal chairs, Renate Kuenast and Juergen Trittin, do not take the
lead in the necessary political reorientation of the Greens, the
Hesse Green Party will lead an active opposition against them,
together with the B-W Greens. At their party convention, the
executive board of the Hesse Greens - under the leadership of their
chair Tarek al-Wazir - introduced a motion to vote on a new
definition of the Greens. The motion, which passed, positioned the

FRANKFURT 00003135 002 OF 002

Greens in the "left-of-center" of Germany's political landscape,
thus placing them in direct competition for voters with the Social

6. COMMENT: In the post-Saarland Jamaica coalition government era,
the Green parties in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hesse have indicated
they are ready to pursue similar alliances with untraditional
governing partners. Should the Greens federal executive board
decide to drift to the left as a reaction to the new CDU/FDP
coalition in Berlin, the national party could face serious
resistance from state party organizations. It is yet to be seen how
the national Green Party will manage discontent at the state level
over the future political direction of the party. END COMMENT.

7. This cable was coordinated with Embassy Berlin.


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