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Germany's Greens pick EU poll duo

November 10, 2018

Fresh from polling as Germany's second strongest party, the Greens have picked two candidates to lead their EU election campaign. Ska Keller and Sven Giegold are already familiar faces in Brussels' corridors of power.

Ska Keller und Sven Giegold
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/H. Schmidt

At their party conference in the eastern German city of Leipzig on Saturday, Green Party members picked two respected MEPs as their lead candidates for next May's European Parliament elections.

Ska Keller won 87.6 percent support to be the leftist party's main candidate, while Sven Giegold picked up 97.9 percent support to be the second lead nominee.

The Greens are the most popular environment-led party in the world, and are currently showing second only to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in opinion polls in Germany. The party currently holds 11 seats of Germany's 96 seats in the European Parliament.

Both candidates, who have represented the Greens in Brussels since 2009, told the conference that it was vital that the party fight militantly against right-wing populism in Europe.

"Europe's democracy is threatened," cried Keller in her application speech, accusing right-wing nationalists of wanting to "destroy Europe."

'End divisive politics' 

Giegold also campaigned for a return to more collaborative politics across Europe, agreeing that right-wing populism must be tackled.

"Europe means towards each other, not against each other," he told party delegates.

Keller, meanwhile, admitted that the Greens were now facing a big responsibility due to their recent successes in two regional elections in Hesse and Bavaria.

Nationally, the party has overtaken the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in a recent opinion poll by Forsa, with 24 percent support, just three points behind Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU).

Read more: How green are Germany's Greens?

During's the first day of their party conference on Saturday, Green Party delegates also discussed internal wrangling over asylum policy and climate change.

New taxes pledged

Members are due to vote on Sunday on a draft European election program that will see the Greens demand a "minimum CO2 levy" on the worst polluting industrial plants and a new tax on disposable plastics.

The party is also likely to campaign to make the EU as "guarantor of social rights," enforceable by the European Court of Justice.

The European elections will take place from May 23 to 26 2019, and will see 46 fewer parliamentary seats as a result of the UK's decision to quit the bloc, slated for the end of March.

mm/jm (AFP, dpa)

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