As of: 12/27/2021 12:43 p.m.
The Greens are facing a change at the top of the party: Baerbock and Habeck are giving up their offices, and Ricarda Lang and Omid Nouripour are applying for the new dual leadership. What do they stand for?
Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck have long since taken over their ministries. As a result, they will soon be vacating their offices in party headquarters. Although the Greens have loosened their principles a little over time, the separation of office and mandate is still an important principle.
ARD capital studio
The party left Ricarda Lang and the Realo Omid Nouripour have expressed their interest in the successor. There are currently no signs of further candidacies. Both are popular across the party across all wings. You would have the task of leading the Greens in their new role as the ruling party.
If Ricarda Lang is elected at the party congress on January 29, she would be the youngest party leader at the federal level to date. She turned 28 shortly before that, just young enough to still be a member of the Green Youth. She has become known as its chairman. That was from 2017 to 2019. Then it went straight to the federal executive board of the Greens, as deputy federal chairwoman and spokeswoman for women’s affairs. In the coalition negotiations she belonged to the innermost circle.
Lang is a staunch feminist, is considered a political talent and a good speaker. As the daughter of a single mother who worked for a long time in a women’s refuge, social issues are close to her. The classic green eco theme was not the original reason to become a member. “My political drive has always been the politics of justice,” says Lang in an interview with the ARD capital studio: “It was only when I dealt with the consequences of the climate crisis and in contact with the climate movement that I realized how vital this topic is.”
She is considered a political talent: Ricarda Lang wants to be the leader of the Greens.
Her range of topics is broad: She is committed to social cohesion and reforms in the health and care system – even before Corona. Above all, however, she fights for tolerance, against hatred and agitation. It’s also a very personal fight. Hardly anyone in her party is attacked as frequently and aggressively on social networks as she is. Your tweets are often commented maliciously, it is mostly about your appearance.
As soon as she had made her candidacy public, she was mainly offended by AfD politicians. But such shitstorms always trigger a huge wave of expressions of sympathy and solidarity. Cross-party. Lang countered these attacks confidently, also reported Hetzer and made dealing with the subject of body shaming one of her core concerns.
Sometimes a dark suit, sometimes a hooded sweatshirt
A completely different type of politician is Omid Nouripour. Anyone who thinks they can get an idea after the first encounter must fail. Sometimes one meets the foreign and security politicians in a dark suit. A well-traveled member of the Bundestag, member of the board of the Atlantik-Brücke association.
Distinguished foreign politician: Omid Nouripour in the Bundestag.
Or you can see the black and white picture of the photographer Salar Baygan, who, like the politician, was born in Iran and now lives in Frankfurt. Nouripour is sitting on a sofa in jeans and a leather jacket, the hood of the hoodie pulled over his head. Does he look thoughtful or ironically serious? Is he giving the adult version of the former rapper MC Omid? Everything possible.
Perhaps the first encounter will also take place in the Frankfurt Eintracht stadium. There is a video on YouTube with Nouripour as a radio commentator. “Get a doctor!” He yells after Frankfurt won at the last minute.
A “dream job”
Nouripour, who won his constituency in Frankfurt in the general election, now wants to become chairman of the Greens. He names the office in conversation with the ARD capital studio a “dream job”, “because I have the opportunity to give something back to this party that has given me so much”.
He brings with him an experience that could prove valuable in the times of the traffic light government: At the time of the first federal government with green participation, Nouripour was a member of the federal executive committee. Good times, bad times. Nouripour experienced how Chancellor Gerhard Schröder divided the government into cooks and waiters. That probably explains the signal that the green member of the Bundestag recently sent to the SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich. On the morning of the government’s swearing-in ceremony, he said that German foreign policy would be controlled “in particular in the Chancellery”. The Twitter response came quickly and sharply: No more cook-waiter logic, please!
In the event of the election, Nouripour has resolved to sharpen the profile of its own party in the three-party constellation. The Green is not at a loss for clear words. He had publicly accused Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of “freedom of ambition in foreign policy”. Later both sat at the same negotiating table to work on the traffic light coalition agreement.
They know and they value each other
Nouripour has known his possible political partner at the top of the party for a long time. Lang and Nouripour like and appreciate each other. Their respective candidacies were not directly discussed, but they both knew of each other. You have to follow in big footsteps. Baerbock and Habeck were regarded by most of the party as a “dream team” until the candidacy for chancellor was announced.
A “dream team” that has cracked in the meantime. Now Baerbock and Habeck are running two ministries and handing over their offices to the party leadership.
The possible new things for the top complement each other thematically in an almost complementary way. Nouripour brings the experience from his previous participation in the government with him, Lang has spent the past four years on the board: It was a time when the party wanted to open up to a broader group of voters when an election campaign was held with a candidate for chancellor for the first time. But she also witnessed all the mistakes that were made there.
Your job: “Keeping the store together”
Now the Greens are part of the government, not all decisions will be made by the party. The time of demonstrative harmony should be over. The biggest challenge for the new top is to “keep the business together”, as some in the party put it. You have to explain government policy to the meanwhile 125,000 members on the one hand and at the same time bring the issues of the party closer to the government.
Both Nouripour and Lang know that the Greens are a kind of participatory party, an alliance party. Many of the new members of the past few years came mainly because they want to make a difference. Nouripour says: The benchmark is not the coalition agreement, but the party program – without becoming disloyal to the coalition. The party must remain visible alongside the green cabinet members and the parliamentary group.
The Greens are a participatory party – here is a photo from the party congress at the end of 2019.
PICTURED: DAVID HECKER / EPA-EFE / REX
Party should be independent
“The party is not allowed to stand on the sidelines like a referee and thumbs up or down,” says Lang. “She has to be an independent player on the field, so find her own role.” That means: Support the implementation of the coalition agreement and at the same time think beyond everyday government and further sharpen the profile of the Greens.
Furthermore, the Greens want to appeal to broader groups of voters, as Baerbock and Habeck have already started. Some in the party would like to see conflicts – also with other parties – more openly, not to avoid them. They also refer to the election campaign and, to some extent, the coalition negotiations. Be accommodating, be sensible – that was the approach. However, it has not always been successful. This is how representatives of the Green Youth and the left wing see it in retrospect. Rather, delimitation is important – also with regard to coalition partners. And there will come a time when the traffic light parties will campaign again. The green candidate for chancellor doesn’t have to stop with a one-off attempt.
The new party leaders have to be prepared for a lot, just not boredom.