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Students take part in a demonstration calling for climate protection, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, March 1, 2019 (Photo by Sebastian Gollnow for dpa via AP Images).

Germany’s Greens Are On the Rise. Can They Stay True to Their Roots?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

STUTTGART—It is readily apparent that the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, nestled between France and Switzerland, is the heart of Germany’s automobile industry, with the wealth to show for it. A giant Mercedes Benz logo revolves atop the central train station’s clock tower in Stuttgart, the state capital, dwarfing rows of high-end stores and banks.

For nearly six decades, the conservative Christian Democrats, or CDU, a natural fit for the affluent state, dominated its politics. But that changed in 2011, when environmental concerns—related to both the local ramifications of plans to overhaul Stuttgart’s train station and the global repercussions of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan—unexpectedly became a flashpoint in that year’s election. Overlying those specific issues was a general sense that the CDU had lost touch with voters. ...

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