When the clock struck 11 on the morning of Monday, April 19, 2021, the Greens, the German environmental party that was born 41 years ago amid great chaos in the city of Karlsruhe, raised the curtain on a mounted stage to announce a historic decision.
For the first time in its eventful history, the party had decided to appoint a woman to fight for Germany's highest government office, the chancellery.
This is Annalena Baerbock, co-chair of the training, 40 years old and mother of two young children.
After being appointed by the executive of The Greens in Berlin, Baerbock announced that she wanted to radically change Germany.
“I am deeply convinced that this country needs a new beginning,” she said, and with her gaze fixed on the elections this Sunday, she made a clear claim to power: “Change instead of promise: Now is the time to lead a good Government in this regard.
I defend renewal.
Others defend the
The election of the leader catapulted Los Verdes to the top of the polls for a few weeks, even ahead of the conservatives of the CDU, but the party has been losing ground, in part due to errors by the candidate herself.
However, environmentalists will be key to the formation of a coalition government when the polls close on Sunday afternoon.
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Baerbock's appointment was the culmination of a spectacular career that began almost by chance.
When he finished his Political Science studies at the University of Hamburg he wanted to become a war correspondent, but at the same time to understand politics better, not just theory, so he applied for a professional internship in the offices of the Social Democrats (SPD ) and The Greens in Brussels.
Green MEP Elisabeth Schroedter hired her.
After earning a master's degree from the London School of Economics, Barbock worked for the MEP for three years before becoming the regional president of The Greens in Brandenburg in 2009. Four years later, she was elected to the federal parliament. Thanks to a frantic teamwork and alliances, especially with women, the young politician was elected, in 2018, co-president of the party, along with the charismatic Robert Habeck. Three years later, she became the second female candidate to fight for the chancellery, the youngest in the history of the Federal Republic.
“She is a strong-willed, focused and combative woman who knows exactly what she wants and who will passionately represent the Los Verdes program in this election campaign,” said Habeck, the Los Verdes co-leader who was also aspiring to be the candidate.
“He has ideas for a good future and knows the daily concerns of people.
She knows how to listen, inspire people, she is combative and decisive, ”added Anton Hofreiter, co-chair of the Bundestag parliamentary group.
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When she was appointed candidate for the difficult mission of replacing Angela Merkel, Baerbock was already considered in the ranks of her party and also in the political corridors of Berlin a successful, ambitious and above all well prepared politician to face all kinds of storms. policies, especially those related to climate change.
Her candidacy also caused a rare phenomenon in the German press, which declared their enthusiasm for the candidate.
(Finally Something Different), wrote the weekly
in green letters under a cover photo of Baerbock, to admire her rise from "political nobody to chancellor candidate."
The influential weekly
also dedicated the cover to her, where she printed a provocative photo of the candidate with a defiant look on a suggestive title: "Women for all cases."
"Annalena Baerbock has no government experience, but she embodies change much more than her competitors," the magazine wrote in another rare statement of admiration for the candidate.
Turn in the polls
But things have changed since April.
Last Saturday, the magazine announced on another cover that Los Verdes, and especially its candidate, had missed a historic opportunity.
“In spring, the polls saw Annalena Baerbock already on her way to the chancellery;
today the party has lagged behind in third place.
The Greens have made too many mistakes and they have risked much more than their own triumph, ”the magazine declared, in a long report titled
The Lost Opportunity.
Whose fault is it?
The German media coincide in pointing out that the candidate's campaign has largely failed due to her own mistakes.
Baerbock has gone from being seen as a possible chancellor to aspiring to be part of a coalition government led by Olaf Scholz (SPD) or Armin Laschet (CDU).
Baerbock's last five months, the youngest in a triumvirate in which the other two candidates are in their 60s, can be summed up with a curveball and three prominent mistakes. The curve began to rise in April, when his party sported a splendid voting intention of up to 30%. The latest polls now calculate between 15% and 16%, a good result compared to the 2017 elections (8.7%), but insufficient to succeed Angela Merkel.
Baerbock's three mistakes largely ruined the candidate's credibility. Shortly after her appointment, she had to admit that she had filed a declaration of additional income as a federal deputy with the Bundestag too late. Later, the press uncovered that he had made up his curriculum and, worse still, that he had plagiarized more than 100 passages in his book
Now: how we renew our country,
where the sources were not cited. The impression she left on public opinion was devastating, that of a candidate who did not play fair.
"Errors played a very important role, because they caused the need for clarification, something that was not done. They tried to correct with details and lost a huge amount of credibility. It is not risky to say that she can become the first chancellor candidate to defeat herself, ”says political scientist Wolfgang Schröder, a professor at the University of Kassel. “But the party is also responsible for having designated her as a candidate. She is inexperienced, lacks a special quality, and does not have a charisma that surpasses the ranks of her own party. He has always wanted to show an image that goes beyond what he really is ”.
Was the party wrong? The deadly floods in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate this past summer put climate change at the center of the election campaign, but the candidate, instead of drawing attention to how important the Greens could be in In the fight against climate change, she opted for a low profile to avoid being accused of instrumentalizing the disaster. Baerbock ended up visiting the flooded areas much later than his competitors and with no press.
"I know I have lost confidence due to the mistakes made and I am upset with myself, but I know where I want to go," said the candidate when asked if she was responsible for the sharp fall of her party in the polls.
The price that he will have to pay for it will be measured this Sunday in votes and the result will probably force him to change the route he intended to follow.
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