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Roth to stand for re-election as Green party chair

Claudia Roth, a Green party politician, has announced she will stand for re-election as the party's co-chair. Fellow Greens urged her to stay on despite losing a vote to become their top candidate in 2013 elections.

Claudia Roth at the press conference

Claudia Roth nach Schlappe bei Urwahl der Grünen

Roth announced in press conference Monday that she would submit her name as a candidate for the post of the party's co-chair, a position she currently holds. The next party chair is to be elected at a party conference on November 17.

Over the weekend, she lost a primary election within the party to become part of 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.

"This isn't about me or about my disappointment, but something more important than that," Roth said on Monday at the party's headquarters in Berlin. "This is about ending the [current Christian Democrat and Free Democrat] coalition."

After senior Green colleagues launched a charm offensive imploring her to continue in her current post, Roth soothed fears that she may opt not to run in light of the primary loss.

"It is now up to the delegates [at the convention this weekend] to decide if they continue to trust me with this office," Roth said.

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.

mz/kms (AFP, dapd, dpa)