German Greens Ready for Coalition as Clean-Energy Becomes Focus

Germany’s Greens party is open to talking to Chancellor Angela Merkel about joining her third-term government as it seeks to refocus on the switch to clean-energy sources to win over alienated voters.

The Greens are “ready to hold talks” with Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc if the request were to come, Claudia Roth, the Greens co-leader, said today in Berlin. The party should focus on “core” issues such as sustainability and ecology after its vote share declined and it placed fourth in yesterday’s vote, fellow co-leader Cem Oezdemir said.

“I believe that there are many more people in society than voted for us who think green, act green,” Oezdemir told reporters. “Our goal must be to win them over.”

Merkel is seeking a coalition partner to replace her Free Democratic ally after it failed to win any seats in parliament. The Greens were unable to unseat Merkel in a coalition with the Social Democrats after campaigning on higher taxes for the wealthiest and mandatory vegetarian meals at public cafeterias.

The anti-atomic Greens took 8.4 percent yesterday after polling as high as 28 percent in 2011 in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The Greens were co-architects of the country’s first nuclear exit agreement struck under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in 2001.

Yesterday’s result is “a very hard and painful loss,” and may lead to a reshuffle of leadership, Roth said. The Greens federal board will resign at the next party convention to free the way for new leaders to guide the party into the 2017 elections, she said.

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