Germany's Green re-elect joint leaders

20th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Germany's opposition Green party, making strong gains in opinion polls, re-elected its dual leadership team Saturday amid rising hopes for its prospects in next year's regional elections.

Claudia Roth was chosen co-president of the party with 79.3 percent of the votes, a post she has held since 2004. The Greens require that one of the party's leaders is a woman.

The other co-leader, Cem Ozdemir, was named to his second two-year term with a resounding 88.5 percent of the votes. He is of Turkish origin and the first immigrant to serve as head of a German political party.

"We represent a leftist, modern reforming force ... We want a fair republic and we are going to achieve that," said Roth before more than 700 delegates at the party conference in Freiburg,

Buoyed by public anger at conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's nuclear policy after she decided to extend the life of Germany's 17 nuclear reactors, the Greens have been powering ahead in the opinion polls.

The party has high hopes for several of next year's six regional elections, including in Baden-Wuerttemberg where its annual conference was held.

The southwest German state has long been a conservative bastion, but recent polling suggests the Greens could capture some 30 percent of the vote there on March 27.

A controversial building project at the railway station in the regional capital of Stuttgart has led to mounting opposition to the local government.

The party, which has never won a regional election since it was founded in 1980, is also expected to do well in September when Berlin, currently led by the Social Democrats (SPD), holds its own regional contest.

© 2010 AFP

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