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Leading Greens court Roth after leadership rejection

Claudia Roth, a longstanding leader of Germany's Green party, has called a morning press conference - hours after she was snubbed in a leadership vote for next year's election. Fellow Greens are urging her to stay on.

Claudia Roth is the Green party co-chair, and many expected her to be on the Greens' twin-ticket for next year's federal elections.

Roth was classified by the Greens as securing just 26.2 percent of the vote - which for the first time invited all the party's nearly 60,000 members to participate – putting her in fourth place behind Jürgen Trittin (71.9 percent), Katrin Göring-Eckardt (47.3 percent) and Renate Künast (38.6 percent).

In a momentary lapse in numeracy, the Greens classified the "percentage" results of their vote out of 200, owing to the fact that party members were invited to cast up to two votes.

As Roth announced a Monday morning statement on her future, to be delivered at the party HQ in Berlin, her senior Green colleagues launched a charm offensive, imploring her to continue in her current post. Candidates for the post are due to apply at a party conference on Saturday, November 17 in Hanover.

Snubbed at grass roots, hugged by top brass

Roth's fellow party co-chair Cem Özdemir, who didn't run the for the federal election ticket, said he hoped that Roth "would keep hold of the party leadership."

"I would be happy if Claudia Roth were to decide to run again," Jürgen Trittin said on Germany's ARD television on Sunday. "She has led this party through many, many difficult decisions, always keeping us together."

Göring-Eckardt, Trittin's new running mate, similarly said that she hoped Roth would stay on – saying the veteran party leader had "many talents."

Roth has led the party, albeit with a two-year hiatus, since 2001.

The Green party is currently polling strongly, at around 14 percent according to recent ARD figures, in Germany – with the group looking like it could be a potential "kingmaker" as a junior coalition partner following the next election. The gradual implosion of Merkel's junior coalition partners the Free Democrats, who are currently polling below 5 percent, strengthens the ecologist party's position further.

msh/ccp (AFP, dapd, dpa)