'Younger and more eastern': Green Party boasts record membership
The German Green Party party recorded an all-time high in the number of members, especially in eastern Germany, according to federal managing director Michael Kellner.
Kellner told the daily "Die Welt" on Monday that his party had won over 10,246 new members countrywide in 2018, bringing the total to 75,311.
"We are getting younger, more feminine and more east German,” he said of the party, which stands for a variety of issues from protecting species diversity to standing against the far-right.
The spike was particularly strong in the eastern German states, where the Greens have had difficulties since their founding. The original Green Party was started in 1980 in Karlsruhe and became the nationwide “Alliance 90/The Greens” in 1993.
In Brandenburg, the growth rate in 2018 was 26 percent, in Saxony 23 percent, and in the east as a whole, excluding Berlin, 19 percent, said Kellner. Nationwide, the figure rose by 15.75 percent.
The proportion of women, traditionally higher among the Greens than among the other parties, had "once again risen slightly, from 39.8 to 40.5 percent," Kellner continued.
In addition, the average age had dropped from 49.5 years to 49 years.
Kellner also attributed the increase in eastern Germany to the strengthening of the right-wing to far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
"The emergence of AfD and Pegida has shaken people awake. They want to commit themselves to democracy and openness to the world,” he said.
Kellner also spoke of a "great longing" for a clean environment, for nature conservation, for the preservation of biodiversity, for a different kind of agriculture and for climate protection in the eastern German states.
It remains to be seen how well the Greens will perform in upcoming state elections in eastern Germany. Citizens living in Brandenburg and Saxony will cast their votes on September 1st, while Thuringia will hold its state elections on October 27th.
The Green Party already shook up state elections in Bavaria on October 14th, 2018, ending the absolute majority of the Christian Social Union, and becoming the second strongest party in the state.