Struggling German Social Democrats push green credentials

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Berlin (AFP)

With his Social Democrats (SPD) lagging behind in the polls behind the Greens and Christian Democrats, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Sunday pledged to prioritize climate change as he led the party in the general elections in September.

“This is about the future of our country … the path Germany needs to follow in the 21st century,” Scholz told a socially distanced SPD party congress after securing the 96.2% support of 600 delegates to be their candidate in the September 26 elections.

The poll marks a crossroads in German politics as Chancellor Angela Markel bows out after 16 years in power.

Armin Laschet, the leader of the New Christian Democrat (CDU), will seek to replace Merkel, who currently heads a CDU-led coalition in which the SPD serves as a junior partner.

But the two traditional heavyweights are catching up as the latest polls put the Green Party in the lead with 26% of voting intentions at 23-25 ​​for the CDU while the SPD lags 14-16.

Having won his party’s nomination last year, the 62-year-old former Hamburg mayor Scholz said he was laying the “groundwork for change” and urged the party to “stand by. put to work “.

Presenting himself as a “committed European”, he said climate change must be a top priority because he understands “the essential human mission of this century”.

“We have already lost too much time … We want to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 at the latest,” he added. This goal was postponed from an initial coalition engagement of 2045.

The SPD also wants electricity to be produced exclusively from renewable sources by 2040.

Another party pledge as the party seeks to wreck the momentum of the Greens, which have propelled environmental issues to center stage, is to put 30 million electric vehicles on the road by the end of this campaign. decade.



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