Annalena Baerbock, who is the candidate for Chancellor of the Greens in the German elections –

Annalena Baerbock, who is the candidate for Chancellor of the Greens in the German elections –
Annalena Baerbock, who is the candidate for Chancellor of the Greens in the German elections –
from Elena Tebano

It has put climate and energy at the center of the public debate and is committed to helping refugees but risks disappointing expectations

BERLIN – Green candidate Annalena Baerbock, 40, the first party leader (and the youngest ever) to run for the office of chancellor. In April it looked like he was one step away from leading the next German government: with a very high personal satisfaction, had brought the Greens to 30% in voting intentions, more than the CDU, the Christian Democratic Union which in the last 19 years has always been the first party in Germany. But a series of personal and strategic mistakes have plunged her into the polls: today the Greens are estimated in third place, around 16%, again under the CDU (23%) and well behind the Social Democrats of the SPD, the favorites (25%). Even so, however, it will be difficult to form a new government without Annalena Baerbock’s party.

Daughter of an engineer and a pedagogue who took her to pacifist demonstrations as a child, Baerbock was born in Hanover on December 15, 1980 and grew up on a farm in a nearby village. Former athlete (participated in the National Trampoline Championships for three years, finishing third, and left the sport after an injury), studied political science in Hamburg from 2000 to 2005, year in which she entered the Greens, and then international law at the London School of Economics. After finishing his studies he applied for a internship in Brussels both at the SPD and at the Greens: was accepted by the office of Elisabeth Schroedter, a Green MEP, who later chose her to lead her election campaign in Brandenburg. Politically she was formed in the Land surrounding Berlin, in whose most important city, Potsdam, she has lived for some time with her husband (political and public relations consultant Daniel Holefleisch) and daughters. From in 2013 entry into the federal parliament, the Bundestag, where she worked mainly as an expert on environment and climate policies.

In 2017 he participated in the negotiations on these issues for the government, which the Greens then did not enter: his expertise has even impressed Angela Merkel. When in 2018 she was chosen as co-leader of the Greens alongside Robert Habeck (the party by statute led by a man and a woman), Baerbock was barely known to the general public. Both Realos, belonging to the more moderate and realist current of the Greens, he with more experience (he was in government in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein) and able to enthuse with his vision of the world, she to speak pragmatically to the voters, they have been able to give a new centrality to the Greens, also helped by the pressure from below from the environmental movement Fridays for future. They have become a kind of dream team of German politics. And they took away from the Greens (born as a party of the extreme left) the maximalist and radical image that still held them back, directing them to become a Volkspartei, a mass party. However, only one of the two could apply for the chancellery.

And the choice fell on Baerbock, because he also agreed with the left wing of the party, with whom he built good relations over the years of working in parliament, and had the added advantage of being a woman. The only female candidate to succeed the first female chancellor. It seemed like the right decision: immediately after official designation, in April, Baerbock recorded a personal rating of 60% and took the Greens to their polling maximum, 30%, when in the 2013 and 2017 elections they had just exceeded 8%. The candidate chancellor campaigned on the party’s flagships: an ecological social market economy, the overcoming of coal as a source of energy by 2030 (current target 2038), limit of 130 kilometers per hour on the motorway and 30 in most cities to reduce emissions, switch to electric cars, house policies and raise the minimum wage to 12 euros, a tightening in relations with Russia and China for their violations of human and political rights.

short-lived: Barebock has strung together a series of errors that have cost her dearly. It all started when it emerged that her curriculum, published on the website of the Greens, was inflated: for example, it stated that she had been part of the German Marshall Fund, a prestigious think tank, while in reality she had only been the recipient of a scholarship. by a related organization, the Marshall Memorial Fellowship. Then there was the scandal of the Christmas bonuses received by the party: Baerbock regularly paid our taxes, but reported them late to the German parliament. Finally, the allegations of plagiarism, after Austrian media expert Stefan Weber discovered that several passages from his new book Now: How We Renew our Land (Now. How We Renew Our Country) have been copied from other publications. The Correctiv research group (a public utility organization that also collaborates with important newspapers such as Spiegel) has now discovered that the controversy over Baerbock’s studies was artfully inflated by Austrian sites that also spread fake news and they belong to a network with close overlaps, dubious funding and connections with the right-wing scene. With one goal: to influence German politics. But now the damage was done: Baerbock has lost the confidence of the Germans.

Only 16%, according to the latest Politbarometer Zdf poll, would like her as chancellor. Her inexperience and habit of working behind the scenes weighed heavily: when she found herself in the spotlight, Baerbock could not withstand the pressure of the election campaign and stiffened (Only now that she is no longer the favorite, as Paolo Valentino told on Courier service, seems to have found the old enamel). The rest was done by his party, unable, for example, to exploit the shock caused by the floods this summer, which showed the consequences of climate change in Germany, for example. These elections should still lead the Greens to double the votes (and most likely the government), but they will go down in history as a missed opportunity.

September 26, 2021 (change September 26, 2021 | 08:48)


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