Germany / Two regional elections - Two Green realities
Within a week, two regional elections in the north and the west of Germany had two very divergent electoral results for the local Greens - Bündnis 90/Die Grünen.
The Schleswig-Holstein Greens, having worked in a coalition with the SPD in the last five years, defended a very good result from 2012 and achieved 12.9 per cent of the votes. In Nordrhein-Westfalen on the other hand, Greens who had been in a coalition with the SPD in the last seven years, lost 4.9 per cent of their previous vote, this time achieving 6.4 per cent.
Such a sharp difference in the level of success points to two regional factors that weighed out differently. In Schleswig-Holstein, the Greens held two portfolios in the government, Finance as well as Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Coastal management. Both were considered successful, and the Minister of Environment was recognised as the most respected political leader in the state. In Nordrhein-Westfalen, the Greens held three ministries: Education as well as Environment, Agriculture and Health. None were considered very successful by the public and the Greens' Deputy Prime Minister and electoral leader, the Minister of Education, was rated as the least respected political leader in the state.
The national party will have to draw on the lessons from both experiences in preparing and organising the federal election coming up in September. Polling figures are relatively low at the moment but the example of Schleswig-Holstein shows that there are certainly ways of doing better.