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Weirdly, Munich Is Now Germany’s Greenest City

Politically, that is.
Everything's coming up Green: Party leaders Robert Habeck, left, and Anton Hofreiter, right, celebrate the Green victory in Munich on Sunday.
Everything's coming up Green: Party leaders Robert Habeck, left, and Anton Hofreiter, right, celebrate the Green victory in Munich on Sunday.Kerstin Joensson/AP

There has been some unprecedented rearranging of the furniture on Germany’s political scene this week—one in which cities have been in the forefront. After a regional election Sunday, a new metro region now holds the country’s record for the highest levels of support for the Green Party (aka Alliance 90) the eco-focused, center-left party that has been a significant force (and sometime minority partner in coalition governments) since 1980. And it isn’t Berlin’s alternative-leaning Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg borough, which has been governed by the Green Party since 2006. It’s the southern city of Munich.

All of it, in fact. Across the 1.45 million-strong Bavarian capital, an unprecedented 42.5 percent of votes went to the Greens. That’s a very high proportion in Germany’s multiparty system, and a big score for the Greens: They outpolled the Merkel-affiliated CSU by more than two and a half times. It’s also a shock. Starchy and relatively serene Munich is a well-liked city in Germany; its wealth, sub-Alpine setting and old-looking (but often reconstructed) buildings generally earn it higher popularity ratings than gruff, sprawling Berlin. But Munich has a rather conservative, even slightly doughy reputation (though it’s seen as more progressive than its rural hinterland). In short, it’s an unlikely stage for political upheaval.