Germany’s climate-focused Greens elect new leadership duo

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Party Co-Chair and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, left, and Party Co-Chair and German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck attend a virtual German Green Party Congress (Buendnis 90/Die Gruenen ) in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

VIENNA (AP) — Germany’s Greens party elected a new leadership team on Saturday who pledged to continue fighting for the party’s core issues, especially the fight against climate change, as it struggles adapts to its role in the new German coalition government.

Omid Nouripour, 46, and Ricarda Lang, 28, will be the party’s co-leaders. They replace Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, who had led the party since 2018 but both held ministerial posts in the new German government. Baerbock is the country’s new foreign minister while Habeck is vice-chancellor and minister for the economy and climate.

In December, the three-party coalition between the centre-left Social Democrats, Greens and pro-business Free Democrats took office under Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The government marks a new era after 16 years of Angela Merkel’s leadership and the Greens’ first time in government since 2005.

The Greens traditionally have two leaders at national level, a woman and a man. Lang ran unopposed while Nouripour had two challengers but won easily.

Nouripour, who was born in Iran and immigrated to Germany at 13, is a veteran Greens politician who has served in the Bundestag since 2006. He was previously a member of the party’s national council and also served as its political spokesperson. foreign.

Lang, at 28, is the Greens’ youngest leader. Elected to the Bundestag in September, Lang got her start in the party’s youth wing and served as its spokesperson on women’s issues. She is considered a representative of the left wing of the party.

Both politicians face the challenge of following in the footsteps of Baerbock and Habeck, who are popular in the party and widely credited with broadening the Greens’ electoral base in recent years. They also need to shape the Greens to work as part of the ruling coalition, rather than in opposition.

Both nodded to these challenges in their speeches.

Baerbock, Habeck and other Greens leaders “need our solidarity,” Nouripour said, “but they also need a smart, confident party” to help them develop their plans even further.

Lang encouraged party members to see the compromises of governing as an opportunity: “Governing is not a punishment, it is a huge opportunity,” she said.

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