What made the Greens so strong in Bavaria?
Having emerged as the second strongest party the Greens are among the winners of the elections in Bavaria. They gained almost nine percentage points, securing 17.5 percent of the vote - their first double-digit result in Bavaria. They were particularly successful in Munich, where they came first after securing more than 30 percent of the vote. Europe's commentators take a closer look at their success.
Standing up for principles pays off
For Kristeligt Dagblad the Greens have proven that consistency counts:
“The CSU drove away many of its core voters by portraying refugees as asylum tourists and engaging in primitive symbolic politics with the hanging up of crucifixes instead of working to create affordable accommodation, good education and clean air. ... The Greens - and the Free Voters - were repaid for taking topics of existential importance to voters seriously. And the environmental party has shown that a consistent - and humanitarian - refugee policy is good for credibility. First and foremost it's important to argue convincingly and stand behind your policy. The so-called established parties - and in particular the Social Democrats who are so confused about their identity - can learn from that. Otherwise they'll lose their voter base entirely.”
Think globally, act locally
Rui Tavares, historian and former MEP, takes a similar view of the situation. In Público he writes:
“The Greens have always stood by their values and principles instead of zig-zagging like all the others. Faced with the rise of the nationalist far right, the political parties made all kinds of claims on the subject of immigration and then claimed the contrary - and ultimately lost everyone's trust. ... The Greens have remained true to their social, ecological, cosmopolitan and pro-European stance. And stuck to the old motto 'Think globally, act locally'. In view of the current global crises egoism is a clear but false solution. The construction of a social and environmental democracy reaching from the local to the national, European and global level is the right response. ... And a good alternative, not just for Germany.”
It's not all about migration
The Greens did well not to focus solely on the subject of migration, writes Spiegel Online columnist Jakob Augstein:
“In recent years people in Germany have talked as if there were no subject more important than foreigners. ... And now the Greens have come along and proven that fear is not everything after all. The Greens have literally been the only party in recent months whose hand didn't tremble on the migration issue. All the others allowed themselves to be driven by the right. ... Yes, migration is a challenge. And a big one. But it's by no means the biggest. If you ask people what issues matter to them migration ranks in the lower middle range. Pensions, rent prices, taxes, criminality and the environment rank higher. This is well known. You can google it. But the politicians simply aren't taking any notice.”
Party pulling together
The success of the Greens should give left-wing politicians all over Europe pause for thought, writes La Repubblica's Berlin correspondent Tonia Mastrobuoni:
“Can this victory for the environmentalists hold out hope of a revival of solidarian, communitarian policies, of European, cosmopolitan, in short, left-wing policies? ... It was the Greens who roused many Bavarians from the bubble of hatred and fear of refugees into which the CSU had plunged one of the richest regions in the world. The big lesson for other countries, above all Italy, is their ability to unite two major movements, the 'fundis' and the 'realos', or in other words the spirit 'of battle' and that 'of government'. ... Their driving force results from the urgent environmental issues, but also from the long period during which they have demonstrated the ability to govern at the local, regional and federal level.”