July 26, 2021

Greens in Saarland: smashed after the “ego trip”

NThere is only one thing that everyone in the hopelessly divided state association of the Greens in Saarland agrees: the situation is catastrophic. Longstanding tensions came to light at a party congress about a week ago. Since then, there has been resignation after resignation, and the climate is becoming more and more poisoned. At the party congress, the then state chairman failed, instead the former state chairman Hubert Ulrich was elected to number one on the list for the federal election, which his opponents describe as a “putsch” and which actually contradicts the women’s statute of the Greens (all odd places on the list for women).

Julian Staib

Political correspondent for Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, based in Wiesbaden.

A few days later, the newly elected state chairman Ralph Rouget resigned. Irina Gaydukova, who was elected to second place on the list, also resigned from all offices and even resigned from the party: Before that, a video of her appearance had received wide attention, in which she answered technical questions on the core issue of the Greens, climate protection unable to give answers. When asked how she intends to combine social justice with climate protection, she answered something like: “Do I have time to think about it?”

Clear words fall in the background

For a party that is about to enter the hot phase of the Bundestag election campaign, the events could hardly be more devastating: Suddenly the Greens, who actually advocate the advancement of women, are a macho party, in which the professionalism sometimes only seems to play a subordinate role.

Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock initially reacted calmly to Ulrich’s election and only said that she would have “wished it differently”. In the background, much clearer words came from Berlin. “The political signal and the reactions from the party and from the public are devastating,” wrote Federal Managing Director Michael Kellner to members of the state executive in an email that was received by the FAZ. Kellner called on his party friends to check “whether the list was formally drawn up correctly” and, if there were any doubts, hold a new meeting at which “Ulrich, in view of the disastrous echo inside and outside the party, clears first place”. Kellner also wrote: “How you intend to return to the state parliament with this approach is a mystery to me.” There are already signs of “damage” for the federal election.

The state association, which had been starving for a long time, had actually believed it was finally feeling the wind – and hoped to return to the state parliament in spring 2022. Instead, it is now about supporters of the party who wrote “horrified messages”. The situation was “dramatic”, the party was “smashed”, according to a member of the state executive. “I don’t see any way of getting out of there.”

Green thinking “mercilessly stamped into the ground”

Ulrich is accused of having “planned his election well in advance”. He had moved members “from one local association to the other in order to organize majorities”. That contradicts. But also from his local association Saarlouis, the largest in Saarland, members openly criticized Ulrich’s “ego trip”, which was only possible “through a targeted selection of the Saarlouis delegates”. Basic democracy, women’s equality and green thinking were “mercilessly stamped into the ground”.

About Gaydukova, the woman who was briefly in second place on the list, it is said that she is sorry for everyone after the “catastrophe performance”, but the personnel is exemplary. Gaydukova had been “sent into the fire” by Ulrich and his people. “They would have had better run a sunflower.” It is also said that Gaydukova is the girlfriend of the wife of a close political confidante of Ulrich – which gives the whole thing an additional, very Saarland touch.

Ulrich contradicts the allegations: “It has nothing to do with the putsch.” Former state chairwoman Tina Schöpfer, who failed to vote for first place on the list, carries “a due complicity in the development of the party”, the state association was “leaderless”, Schöpfer did not vote on her candidacy. It failed three times, after which a vote was taken to open the election to men as well. “The list for the federal election was drawn up correctly,” says Ulrich. The fact that the federal executive of the Greens is now asking the state executive to re-establish the list is an “outrageous process”.