At their digital party congress, the Greens exchange their leadership. Federal Ministers Baerbock and Habeck make way. Ricarda Lang gets a solid result. The gratitude for the previous board mixed with criticism from the base.
The Greens have decided on a new chair: The previous deputy federal chair Ricarda Lang follows in the footsteps of Annalena Baerbock. Lang, who was the only woman to run for party chairmanship, received 75.9 percent of the 727 valid delegate votes at the digital party conference in Berlin on Saturday. The digital election must be confirmed by postal vote, the result should be available in two weeks. Omid Nouripour, who is supported by the party leadership, and Mathias Ilka, who is an outsider, are applying to succeed Robert Habeck.
The 28-year-old Lang was spokeswoman for the Green Youth and, as a member of the previous board, remains part of the six-person executive committee. The 46-year-old member of the Bundestag Nouripour was last in the party council. His opponent Ilka, who is also largely unknown in the party, criticized the lack of participation by the party base and neoliberal economic and social policies.
Lang goes on the offensive
Lang spoke her passionately delivered application speech because of a corona infection from her shared apartment. The party left focused on social issues. “Making the connection between climate protection and justice the basis of our politics” is the task of the Greens in 2022. The party takes responsibility to shape a reality that it cannot choose. “I’m willing to endure a difficult situation,” said Lang, referring to the foreseeable tensions between the party and the traffic light coalition.
Lang was recently exposed to personal hostilities from the right-wing extremist camp. The designated party leader said: “I’m 28 years old. I look what I look like and I’m damn proud to be a member of a party in which nothing decides what I’m credited with.”
Waiter leaves with joy
In the further course of the second and last day of the federal delegates’ conference, the party elects two deputy chairmen and a successor for the political director Michael Kellner, who has also left, as well as the federal treasurer. The 16-member party council, which includes both chairmen and the political director, is also re-elected. Only Emily Büning, the previous organizational director, has applied to be Kellner’s successor.
Baerbock and Habeck were tearfully said goodbye on Friday. Acceptance speeches followed on Saturday for the previous Vice-Chairman Jamila Schäfer and for Michael Kellner, who had held office for eight particularly successful years for the party. “Parties need change and always new ideas,” said the visibly moved waiter. “I’m happy to go because the plan to take the party to a new level has worked.”
Kellner looked back on the greatest successes in carrying out his “dream job”, including doubling the number of members, participation in ten state governments and the new federal government, and the “comeback” of the Greens in the east, where the party is again represented in all state parliaments. In his eulogy for Kellner, DGB boss Reiner Hoffmann praised the new parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as a “passionate campaigner” and “clever strategist”.
Little clap for outgoing board
The top trio of Baerbock, Habeck and Kellner, which has been so dominant in recent years, received a lot of praise, but still got a few tips along the way at the party conference. Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann expressed the most prominent criticism of the disappointing results for the party in the Bundestag election: “We started this federal election campaign as an alliance party and ended up as a milieu party,” Kretschmann warned of a course more centered on society.
A motion to assign the processing of the Bundestag election to a separate working group and not leave it to the party executive received – despite a committed counter-speech by Habeck – at least 239 votes in favor. 370 delegates followed the new Federal Minister of Economics. In one point, which was even more important to the federal executive board, the outgoing party leadership could not assert itself: in the middle of the federal election campaign, the party was busy processing more than 3,300 applications for the election program for weeks.
The Executive Board therefore wanted to ensure that applicants would need the support of 0.01 percent of the members in the future, which would currently be 125 members. So far, the approval of 20 Greens was enough for the party congress to deal with it. The failed chancellor candidate Baerbock had campaigned in vain for this. At the end of a lengthy vote, the party agreed to raise the quorum to 50 members. The grassroots participation, which is so important for identity, outweighed the idea of efficiency praised by the new federal ministers.