For about a year in German politics, there's been this continual debate by various Green Party members over the direction of the Party. A fair amount of this discussion is over public feeling with immigration and integration.
A couple of years ago....as part of the Stuttgart-21 agenda....the Green Party put up a big fight and got public attention. The Baden-Wurttemberg Green Party had popular public support and took a lot of votes/supporters away from the SPD Party. In the state of B-W now, the Greens are the number one party with 30-percent of the vote (SPD fell to around 12-percent).
Along the way of this success came a mayor for Tubingen....Boris Palmer. He was a business man-turned-Green Party member. In the region of Tubingen, he's popular. But Boris Palmer also dealt out criticism of the immigration policy adapted by Berlin and suggested that integration was failing on various levels. For some members of the Green Party, he is very unpopular and they'd like to fire him from the party. Palmer has hyped safety and security as top priorities of the party....something that frustrates some party members.
So this week, more criticism arose for comments from the Greens over the way that Koln cops handled the New Year's Eve security, and some racial profiling that they used as part of their security program. Some cops are happy with criticism of the Koln cops.....some are unhappy.
There is friction building up within the Green Party....mostly over the success of the party over the past decade and growth with previously non-Green members.
Yesterday, a political writer for Focus wrote up a piece and suggested that the Party has a dividing point existing and there are certain Berlin figures for the party who are leading things to a dividing point.
Could the party split off? Few grasp that the fact that the Green Party that exists today....is really two fundamental parties....Alliance 90 and the Greens. The original Greens were a West German creation in the early 1980s. The Alliance 90 was a East German creation in the 1989 period.
As the Green Party took on more topics and forged ahead with more public support over the past twenty years.....they have absorbed conflict and long discussion over the direction ahead. Most people think that the whole Green attitude on immigration is friendly and accepting. If you get down to non-Berlin members....there is a wide variety of thought and some negativity over immigration.
Is it possible that 2017 will see some members walk away and settle up with the SPD once again? Maybe. It's possible that some groups....especially out of Baden-Wurttemberg, might forge another Green-related party but lean slightly more to the right.
Voting trend? 2009 was the peak year for the Greens with 3.9 million votes across Germany. 2013 brought 3.1 million votes. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s....they were in the two to three million vote range. It's hard to forecast in 2017 and suggest how the vote might go....if they stay unified. They need to have a minimum of 2.2 million votes to stay above the five-percent point....to have seats in the Bundestag. So what they can't afford at this point is to have a division where a million Green votes leave and go to some new creation of a party or go lean toward the SPD.
Bottom line? Success brought the German Green Party into the Bundestag and Berlin politics. Success has also brought a challenge to stay on one central theme and get everyone within the party happy. My guess is that 10-percent of the normal Green vote is going somewhere else....with the question of where being the focus.