Tag Archives: Wowereit

Letter from Berlin: Star Candidate’s Gaffes Have Berlin Greens Jittering

The Greens had assumed that a high profile candidate like former minister Renate Künast would assure them of victory in next September’s state elections in Berlin. However, a series of gaffes has led the party’s once soaring popularity to plummet.

At one end of Berlin’s central boulevard Unter den Linden stands the Rotes Rathaus or Red Town Hall, the seat of Berlin’s city-state government. Just over two kilometers to the west, beyond the Brandenburg Gate, is Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag.

It is a journey Green Party heavyweight Renate Künast made almost 10 years ago, when she went from being a state representative to an increasingly influential presence in the halls of federal power. Now, though, she is hoping to return to the Rotes Rathaus — as Germany’s first-ever state premier from the Green Party.

Until recently, it looked as if she would have little trouble. When she announced her candidacy with much fanfare at Berlin’s Communications Museum on Nov. 7, her party was eight percentage points ahead of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in the opinion polls. A third term for Klaus Wowereit, the SPD mayor who has led Berlin since 2001, seemed unlikely. Continue reading

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