It’s not just Künast, however, who might have the opportunity to soon take over the leadership of one of Germany’s states. In Baden-Württemberg, the Green Party has seen its support climb steadily in recent months and now finds itself, with 32 percent support, well ahead of the SPD (19 percent) and within just a couple of points of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (34 percent). With the SPD already having indicated it would join a coalition with the Greens as the junior partner — and with no strong partner in sight for the CDU — there is a very real possibility that the leader of the Greens in the state, Winfried Kretschmann, will become the state’s next governor when voters go to the polls there in March.
Kretschmann has benefited mightily from his party’s opposition to “Stuttgart 21,” a massive development project in Baden-Württemberg’s capital. While construction has already begun on the project — which envisions moving Stuttgart’s train station underground and creating a new city quarter above — many in the city have mobilized against it, saying it is a vast waste of money that was planned with little input from city residents. Merkel and the CDU have come out in favor of the project.
The 62-year-old Kretschmann, who began his political life as a communist in the mid-1970s, has so far seemed unimpressed by his party’s sudden rise. “We are staying on the carpet,” he is fond of saying, “even if it happens to be flying at the moment.”
But there is no denying that the Green Party’s carpet is indeed flying. In nationwide polls, the party has been hitting record after record. A poll published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday found that 20.5 percent of Germans would vote for the Greens.
Given the impending realignments in global geopolitics, this is a trend to watch.