BERLIN, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 10th Nov, 2016 ) - A year before elections, Germany's Greens are torn by an identity crisis, split on whether joining forces with Angela Merkel's conservatives would be a great idea or a betrayal of their ideals. Politicians in both parties have flirted with what was long an unthinkable scenario -- that the chancellor's business-friendly CDU could one day form a coalition with the left-leaning environmentalists to rule Europe's top economy.
Veteran Greens leader Winfried Kretschmann, 68, caused a stir this month when he said Merkel, who is yet to formally declare her candidacy for next September's polls, should run for a fourth term. "I don't know anyone who could do a better job than her," gushed Kretschmann, the popular state premier of industrial powerhouse state Baden-Wurttemberg, who has previously said he prayed for Merkel. The party elder's praise for Merkel sparked disquiet and embarrassment in Green ranks that is likely to flare again when their "realo" (realist) and "fundi" (fundamentalist) wings seek common ground at a party congress starting Friday.
One of the Greens' co-leaders, Simone Peter, curtly shot back that "we want to end Merkel's 'grand coalition' and we certainly won't be making any hasty determinations on who should be chancellor". Joining the CDU is still a controversial notion but "no longer a bogeyman for the Greens", said Lothar Probst of Bremen University, adding that Greens voters, with above-average incomes and academic qualifications, have arrived "in the middle of society". A Spiegel magazine columnist mocked the once-radical party, saying that its ecologically mindful baby-boomers may "soon have all the progressive aura of lambskin slippers".