New top man for bremen’s greens: predecessor becomes successor

After the resignation of Ralph Saxe, Hermann Kuhn is applying for the vacant position in the dual leadership of Bremen’s Green Party.

Even rhymes: Hermann Kuhn – wants to do it again Photo: dpa

Hermann Kuhn is doing it. "The gap created by the resignation of Ralph Saxe must be closed quickly," the 73-year-old politician announced to run for the vacant seat next to 25-year-old Alexandra Werwath in the dual leadership of the Bremen Green Party state association. "I see myself thereby as transitional solution", he specified.

Still on Monday, thus directly on the day of Saxes resignation for private reasons, Werwath had forced the speed: Straight before the choice in the coming year we need a fully occupied executive committee , had it the taz said. To the 14. September was scheduled for the extraordinary national meeting of members, which is to decide on the replacement of the post. Now there is also a candidate for the post. It is unlikely that someone will run against Kuhn, who already held the post from 2011 to 2013.

This is because the unpaid honorary post is not really popular. Particularly in Bundnis 90/Die Grunen, whose party leaders are therefore somewhat unwieldily called state executive committee spokespersons, it is difficult to balance the need for guidelines with the demand for co-determination. The prerequisite is a great capacity for suffering and even more intrinsic motivation.

In any case, he has "a thick skin," says Kuhn, who has acquired a total of 20 years of experience as a member of parliament, about his core competencies. And, "I have a strong awareness that parties are necessary, as mediating and regulating organizations."

Hermann Kuhn, The Greens

"I think it’s a bit fatuous to base renewal power on age alone"

The parties are currently under pressure. And something needs to be done to counter that, he says: "It’s the parties that are worth campaigning for." Just last fall, Kuhn had narrowly failed as Saxe’s opponent with a promise to provide more leadership. "Maybe after the current turmoil, the desire for that has grown," he said now.

The board proposal to run in the 2019 parliamentary elections with a trio formed by Mayor Karoline Linnert, parliamentary group leader Maike Schaefer and Social Senator Anja Stahmann had caused unrest in the party. A ballot is now to provide clarification. Together with Saxe’s resignation, this resulted in a messed-up start to the pre-election campaign.

Accordingly, Saxe now reacted with relief to the news that his predecessor will probably also become his successor: "Everyone will understand that I did not vote for Hermann in the last board election," he said of his opponent at the time. "This time, I will." He said he was pleased "that there is a good solution for my successor so quickly." He had "great respect" for the latter’s candidacy.

Too old for the CDU

The CDU is less enthusiastic: "With regard to Kuhn’s candidacy, one is tempted to say: Back to the future!" said the state chairman of the Christian Democrats, Jorg Kastendiek, when asked. "A 73-year-old is a special signal for the renewal or rejuvenation of a party." Otherwise, he said, it "doesn’t matter to the CDU who is the state spokesman for the Greens."

"I think it’s a bit simple-minded to base renewal power on age alone," Kuhn shrugs off such ageisms. Otherwise, people in the political arena tend to hold back on commenting on the Green personnel matter, possibly precisely because it could have an impact on future partnerships. After all, the respective party executives are in charge of negotiating coalition agreements: No word on the candidacy of SPD leader Sascha-Karolin Aulepp, from FDP chairman Hauke Hilz only the non-binding hope "that the Greens will position themselves in terms of personnel in such a way that the option of a Jamaica coalition is preserved."

Thinking about a red-red-green alliance

Conny Barth, spokeswoman for the state executive committee of Die Linke, also clarified in response to a question from the taz that it was "up to the Greens" to fill the post. The fact that Kuhn, once a communist himself who was banned from teaching, has positioned himself politically in sharp contrast to socialist policies since the 1980s, she does not see as a mortgage for coalition options: "I suspect that the Greens are also democratic enough that such a decision does not depend on the executive committee alone."

Thinking about a red-red-green alliance had recently been fueled by statements from Mayor Carsten Sieling (SPD) and from Kristina Vogt, the head of the left-wing parliamentary group. Kuhn did not want to get involved in this yesterday: "I believe that everyone is well advised not to speculate greatly about supposed alliances before the elections," he said. "After all, that’s all moot after election day."

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