Scanning the Constitution, environmental laws and election manifestos of major political parties in Bangladesh: Is Green Party (Germany) model a solution? -05

শনিবার, মে ২৩, ২০২০ ৬:১১ AM | বিভাগ : English

1990s: German reunification, fall out of parliament for the West, formation of Alliance 90/The Greens

In the1990 federal elections, being held in post-reunified Germany, the Greens in the West did not pass the 5% limit as needed to win seats in the Bundestag. It owed to a temporal revision of German election law, implementing the five-percent "hurdle" separately in East and West Germany, that the Greens attained any parliamentary seats at all. This took place as because in thenew states of Germany, the Greens, in a coordinated endeavour withAlliance 90, a heterogeneous grouping ofcivil rights activists, were capable to secure more than 5% of the vote. Some critics opine that this poor performance happened due to the reluctance of the campaign to meet up the existing sentiment ofnationalism  and rather underscoring issues likeglobal warming. A campaign poster during that time narrated, "Everyone is talking about Germany; we're talking about the weather!", paraphrasing a popular slogan ofDeutsche Bundesbahn, the German national railway. The party also objected to immediate reunification in process, in lieu of requiring to start discourses on ecology and nuclear issues. Since after the1994 federal election; however, the merged party returned to the Bundestag, and the Greens secured 7.3% of the vote nationwide and 49 seats.
1998–2002: Greens as governing party, first term
In the1998 federal election, in spite of a moderate decline  in their percentage of the vote (6.7%), the Greens still managed to have 47 seats and participated in the federal government for the first time in 'Red-Green'coalition government with theSocial Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).Joschka Fischer becameVice-Chancellor of Germany andforeign minister in the new government, which had two other Green ministers (Andrea Fischer, laterRenate Künast, andJürgen Trittin).

Almost instantly the party was submerged into a crisis upon the issue of German participation in theNATO actions inKosovo. A number of anti-war party members resigned from their party membership when the first post-war recruitment of German troops in a military conflict overseas happened under a Red-Green government, and the party started to witness series defeats in local and state-level elections. Disillusionment with the Green participation in government enhanced when anti-nuclear power activists comprehended that shutting down the nation's nuclear power stations would not take place as speedily as they sought for and a number of pro-business SPD members of the federal cabinet objected to the environmentalist agenda of the Greens.

In 2001, the party underwent another complexity as some Green Members of Parliament refuted to back the government's plan of sending military troops to assist the2001 attack on Afghanistan.ChancellorGerhard Schröder called a vote of confidence. Although four Green MPs and one Social Democrat voted against the government, but Schröder was still successful to gain a majority.

On the other hand, the Greens attained major success as a governing party through the 2000 decision to phase out the use of nuclear energy. Jürgen Trittin,Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, signed treaty with energy companies on the gradual phasing out ofthe country's 19 nuclear power plants . This was validated through theNuclear Exit Law. On the basis of an estimation of 32 years as the normal period of operation for a nuclear power plant, the agreement defines succinctly about how much energy a power plant is permitted to produce before being shut down.

2002–2005: Greens as governing party, second term
In spite of the complexities of the earlier electoral period, in the2002 federal election, the Greens increased their total number of seats to 55 (in a smaller parliament) and percentage of obtaining vote became 8.6%. This was partially owing to the belief that the internal debate over the war in Afghanistan had been more sincera nd open than in other parties, and one of the MPs who had voted against sending troops to Afghanistan,Hans-Christian Ströbele, was elected straight to the Bundestag as a district representative for theFriedrichshain-Kreuzberg – Prenzlauer Berg East constituency in Berlin, becoming the first Green to ever win afirst-past-the-post seat in Germany. The Greens profited from enhanced inroads among traditionally left-wing demographics which had benefited from Green-initiated legislation in the 1998–2002 term, such as environmentalists (Renewable Energies Act) and LGBT groups (Registered Partnership Law). Probably most important to ensure the success of both the Greens and the SPD was the enhancing threat of war in Iraq, which was widely unpopular with the German public, and assisted in getting votes for the parties which had undertaken a stance against participation in this war. In spite of losses for the SPD, the Red-Green coalition government had a very slight majority in the Bundestag and was renewed, withJoschka Fischer as foreign minister,Renate Künast as minister for consumer protection, nutrition and agriculture, andJürgen Trittin as minister for the environment.

One internal issue in 2002 was the vain attempt to resolve a long-standing discussion about the question of whether members of parliament should be permitted to become members of the party executive. Two party conventions refused to change the party statute. The necessary majority of two thirds was missed by a little gap. Consequentially, former party chairpersonsFritz Kuhn andClaudia Roth (who had been elected to parliament that year) were not any more capable to carry out in their executive function and were replaced by former party secretary generalReinhard Bütikofer and former Bundestag memberAngelika Beer. The party then held a member referendum on this question in the spring of 2003 which changed the party statute. Now members of parliament may be elected for two of the six seats of the party executive, as long as they are not ministers or caucus leaders. 57% of all party members voted in the member referendum, with 67% voting in favor of transformation. The referendum was only the second in the history of Alliance 90/The Greens, the first having been on the merger of the Greens and Alliance 90. In 2004, after Angelika Beer was elected to theEuropean parliament, Claudia Roth was elected to replace her as party chair.

The only party convention in 2003 was pre-scheduled for November 2003, but about 20% of the local organisations compelled the federal party to organize a special party convention inCottbus early to discuss the party stance regardingAgenda 2010, a major reform of the German welfare programmes planned by Chancellor Schröder.

The November 2003 party convention was held inDresden and decided the election platform for the 2004European Parliament elections. The German Green list for these elections was headed byRebecca Harms (then leader of the Green party in Lower Saxony) andDaniel Cohn-Bendit, previously Member of the European Parliament forThe Greens of France. The November 2003 convention is also noteworthy because it was the first convention of a German political party ever to use anelectronic voting system.

The Greens had a record 13 of Germany's 99 seats in these elections, basically owing to the commonly believed  competence of Green ministers in the federal government and the unpopularity of theSocial Democratic Party. Early 2005, the Greens became the target of theGerman Visa Affair 2005, questioned in the media by theChristian Democratic Union (CDU). By end of April 2005, they celebrated the decommissioning of theObrigheim nuclear power station. They also carried on supporting  a bill for anAnti-Discrimination Law (de: Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz) in theBundestag.

In May 2005, the only existing state-levelred-green coalition government lost the vote in theNorth Rhine-Westphalia state election, leaving only the federal government with participation of the Greens (apart from local governments). In the early2005 federal election the party faced very little setbacks and achieved 8.1% of the vote and 51 seats. However, owing to larger losses of the SPD, the previous coalition no longer had a majority in the Bundestag.

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