Hesse's Economics Minister Tarek Al-Wazir is leading the Hessian Greens as a candidate for the office of Prime Minister in the state election campaign. At a party conference in Wetzlar on Saturday, the members voted in favor of the 52-year-old with a large majority. It is the first time that the Hessian Greens have nominated their own candidate for the state chancellery.
A three-way battle is emerging for the state elections on October 8: the CDU is campaigning with Prime Minister Boris Rhein, and Hesse's SPD with Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser.
The vote in autumn 2018 was extremely close: In the end, the Greens came in second behind the CDU, 66 votes ahead of the SPD. The Christian Democrats received 27.0 percent of the votes, the Greens and SPD 19.8 percent each. A black-green coalition currently governs Hesse.
The most important task for the coming legislative period is to hold the country together, said Al-Wazir. A "keep it up" isn't enough. "We need the courage to break new ground." Changes are needed to maintain our good life, he stressed. "We have a lot to win." Among other things, the economy must be made sustainable, innovative and thus crisis-proof. "Then this is a great opportunity for good jobs in the future."
At the two-day party conference, the Greens want to determine the list for the state elections. Science Minister Angela Dorn came first on the list with 91.65 percent approval, and Vice Prime Minister Al-Wazir came in second with 86.59 percent. The opponent for second place, Joachim Mietusch from Gießen, came up with 7.5 percent.
Every odd place on the list is occupied by a woman
Mietusch, in his own words a "root greener", criticized that Greens in government responsibility made too many compromises. They didn't make a "visible contribution to climate protection" and had trees cut down "from the warm office chair" for the construction of the motorway.
Martina Feldmayer, member of the state parliament, was elected number 3 on the list, and Mathias Wagner, the leader of the parliamentary group, was elected number 4. Katy Walther, member of the state parliament, fought her way to fifth place on the list in the second ballot.
According to the statutes of the Greens, every odd place on the list must be occupied by a woman. The Greens in the state parliament have 29 mandates in the current legislative period. Around 1,200 participants attended the party conference. Unlike other parties, the Greens can go to a party conference and vote for any member - not just designated delegates.