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Top 10 Green Party Stories of 2011

Better late than never, we’ve put together the following Top 10 Green Party stories, taken from a combination of hits on Green Party Watch and other criteria to build a summary of the year. We have modeled this after our Top 10 Green Party Stories for 2010. We are well aware that there were many other stories we could have included here, feel welcome to include your own in the comments. We sincerely hope that 2012 will have plenty of Green Party to Watch!

March 2011 – German Greens Historic Victory

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition was defeated in Baden-Württemberg as support for the Greens surged to a record, putting the anti-nuclear party within reach of leading the state government. The opposition Greens took a record 24.2 percent, while the Social Democrats, which said they’ll rule with the Greens, won 23.1 percent. “There won’t just be a changing of the guard in Baden- Wuerttemberg, there will be a change of politics,” Greens national co-leader Claudia Roth told reporters in Berlin. Winfried Kretschmann was later named the new governor of Baden-Württemberg.

March 2011 – Alex White for Mayor of Rochester, NY

Small business owner Alex White ran a spirited campaign in a special election for Mayor of Rochester, NY, challenging the status quo of local politics. White ran on a “Platform of Hope“, which he says “…grows Rochester through jobs for all, more community involvement, greater transparency, community policing, and a public utility.” Ultimately White finished with 9% of the vote.

Later in the year Alex White ran for City Council, finishing with 11% of the vote.

April 2011 – Ed Shadid wins seat on Oklahoma City Council

After a long and particularly nasty campaign, Ed Shadid survived the negative smear campaign against him and won a seat on the Oklahoma City Council with over 60% of the vote. Shadid, a spinal surgeon, who ran as an Independent candidate for State Assembly last year with the backing of the Green Party, defeated Charles Swinton, a banker, and the PAC “Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum”, which spent over $100,000 in ads opposing Shadid, accusing him of being a socialist who wanted to legalize marijuana. Check out some of the negative attack ads here.

May 2011 – Elizabeth May First Green Party Member of Parliament in Canada

In the May 2 Federal Elections in Canada, Elizabeth May became the first Green Party candidate elected as a Member of Parliament. Preliminary results show that Elizabeth May won the May 2, 2011 election with 48.13% of the vote, defeating Conservative MP Gary Lunn (33.73%) and NDP candidate Edith Loring-Kuhanga (12.28%). Elizabeth May, 56, has been the leader of the Green Party of Canada since 2006, vowing to raise the Green Party’s profile in Canada, particularly in the nationally televised debates. Although she was included in a debate several years ago, this election she was barred from the debate, which she used as a campaign issue in her campaign for MP representing Saanich-Gulf Islands on Vancouver Island.

July 2011 – Annual National Meeting in Alfred NY

The Green Party (US) Annual National Meeting was held in rural Alfred, NY, in conjunction with the biennial GreenFest. Among the speakers were leaders in the campaign to ban hydrofracking (hydraulic fracturing), an environmentally destructive and dangerous technique for accessing gas in the Marcellus Shale beneath Pennsylvania, New York, and other states. Also 2004 Presidential Candidate David Cobb, Philadelphia Sheriff candidate Cheri Honkala, Canadian MP Elizabeth May, and author David Korten addressed the Meeting.

September 2011 – Strong special elections showings by Mark Miller (MA) and Farheen Hakeem (MN)

In Massachusetts, Mark Miller ran a strong campaign for a vacancy in the State Legislature, finishing in second place of four candidates, just several hundred votes short of victory. Miller was endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Mass Alliance, and the UAW.

In Minnesota, Green Party (US) Steering Committee co-chair Farheen Hakeem ran for an open State Senate seat. Hakeem finished second with 22% to 68% for Democrat Jeff Hayden. Hakeem outpolled a Republican and an independent in the race.

November 2011 – “Poor Peoples Advocate” Cheri Honkala’s campaign for Sheriff of Philadelphia

Cheri Honkala announced her candidacy for Sheriff of Philadelphia on February 17, 2011, and ran a high-profile campaign that brought issues to the table that would never had been brought forward otherwise. She got good media, interviewed in Yes! & endorsed by NOW, interviewed on Press TV, the campaign made effective use of Youtube in promoting the campaign. Ultimately, in the 3-way race for sheriff, Cheri Honkala finished 3rd with over 10,000 votes for 6.6%.

November 2011 – Fall Elections

In November’s elections, Greens won local races in California, Colorado, and Connecticut. Tanya Ishikawa was elected to the Federal Heights City Council (Colorado) with 67.5% of the vote. Larry Bragman took first place in his race for City Council, receiving 43.88% of the vote. This will be Bragman’s third term as a Council Member. Additionally, Ryan O’Neil won his first term on the City Council, helping maintain a healthy Green Party presence in the Northern California City.

In other races of interest, Portland City Councilor David Marshall finished with 7.74% in Portland, Maine’s first IRV election for Mayor. In Philadelphia, Cheri Honkala received 6.56% of the vote in her effort to be elected Sheriff of Philadelphia. She ran on a “No Evictions” platform. Brian Rudnick, running for City Council, received 11.8% of the vote. In Syracuse, NY, Howie Hawkins received 48.15% of the vote, narrowly losing to Democrat Khalid Bey. In Toledo, Ohio, Anita Rios finished with 26% of the vote in her campaign for City Council, and in St. Paul, Bee Xiong received 42% in the first round of voting for a City Council seat, not enough to win.

December 2011 – Presidential Candidate field set

The Green Party field of Presidential Candidates fluctuated throughout 2011. Roseanne Barr jumped in and then out, Socialist Stewart Alexander jumped in and then out, but by the end of the year, three candidates are seeking the Green Party Nomination for President. Kent Mesplay (G-CA) was the first to officially declare his candidacy in June. Jill Stein (G-MA) officially entered the race in October. Harley Mikkelson (G-MI) entered the race in November.

Harley Mikkelson is retired from a 26 year career with the Michigan Departments of Community Health, Education, and Human Services. Mikkelson was the Michigan Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and 2004, for the U.S. Senate in 2008, and Governor in 2010.

Kent Mesplay is an air quality inspector in San Diego, California. He sought the Green Party Presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.

Jill Stein is a physician and community health advocate who ran as the Green-Rainbow Party candidate governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010.

The 2012 Green Party Presidential Race will be followed closely right here at Green Party Watch.

December 2011 – 2011 Election Recap

With over 100 candidates across the United States, the Green Party candidates won 22 races, or 21% of the races they were in. The Green Party starts 2012 with 125 elected officeholders, 21 of which are partisan offices. A recap of the 2011 Election by former Green Party (US) Executive Director Brent McMillan.

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German Greens gain in Berlin state election

The German Green Party has gained support in another state election, this time in Berlin. From BBC News coverage:

The SPD – who have been in opposition nationally since 2009 – won around 29% of the vote, down from 30.8% in 2006. Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union gained just over 23%, up slightly from 21.3% in 2006, while the Greens won 18%, up from 13.1%. The Left party vote fell from 13.4% in 2006 to 11.5%. Meanwhile, the little-known Pirate Party, a libertarian party whose programme includes greater personal data protection and the legalising of cannabis, garnered more than 8% of the vote.

The Social Democrats already held control of the government of Berlin, but they are now expected to replace their current partners, the Left party, with the Greens.

Read the full article at BBC News.

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German Greens gain in another state election

Sunday’s election in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Germany’s sixth-largest state by population, resulted in gains for the German Green Party. From the New York Times:

Parties on the German left prevailed in a regional election in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on Sunday, with the center-left Social Democrats swept back to power and the Greens elected to the regional parliament for the first time, according to preliminary results… Perhaps the biggest winner of the day was the Green Party, which won 8.5 percent of the vote, more than double the 3.4 percent it received in 2006.

For details, read the full article at the New York Times.

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Silva Leaves Brazil’s Green Party; German Greens Pot Problems

The Associated Press is reporting that Brazilian environmentalist and former Presidential candidate Marina Silva has left the Green Party. From the San Francisco Examiner:

Silva won a surprising 20 percent of the vote in the first round of last year’s presidential election in Brazil. Her candidacy rallied interest in the nation’s Green Party.
But she’s had differences with party leaders over the direction of the party, and says it has lost the “political vision” she would like it to have.
In 2009, Silva left the governing Workers Party, which she had helped found three decades earlier. She bolted after being ousted as environmental minister.
It is widely expected Silva will run for the presidency in 2014. But her announcement Thursday gives no hint of her political plans.

Meanwhile in Germany, police found pot plants growing in flower boxes at the Green Party office in Thuringia. From Business Insider:

The police are investigating the Green party office for drug law violations, though the initial defense given was that the plants were grown for “producing hemp”.

The Christian Democrats in the region have jumped on this as a chance to criticize the Greens.

Wolfgang Fielder, a Christian Democrat state member of parliament told the newspaper Thüringische Landeszeitung that any Green party member who participated in or knew about the cannabis-growing “must resign their high parliamentary office.”

When asked how the cannabis got to the Green party office, a party spokesman, Daniela Hoffman Weber claimed ignorance and said “that would interest us.”

She added that, “no one will seriously believe that we’re making hemp here.”

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German Greens Historic Victory

A collection of stories about the historic elections for the German Greens:

The Guardian

“We have written history,” said Claudia Roth, joint leader of the Green party, speaking in Berlin after polls closed. Dressed head-to-toe in green, including glittery emerald ballet pumps, she said the result would have repercussions far beyond the borders of Baden-Württemberg. It was, she said, “a resounding slap in the face” for Merkel’s coalition.

German Greens Surge Hurts Merkel’s Party in State Elections SF Gate

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition was defeated in its southwestern heartland as support for the Greens surged to a record, putting the anti-nuclear party within reach of leading the state government.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union took 39 percent in today’s election in Baden-Wuerttemberg, its worst result since 1952, while its Free Democratic Party allies won 5.3 percent, according to preliminary official results published on the state election website. That leaves the two parties short of a majority and marks the end of the CDU’s 58-year state rule. The opposition Greens took a record 24.2 percent, while the Social Democrats, which said they’ll rule with the Greens, won 23.1 percent.

The result in Baden-Wuerttemberg may deliver Germany’s first Green state prime minister at the head of a coalition with the SPD. That would grant the Greens sway over policy affecting a state whose economy is bigger than Belgium and Luxembourg combined, and hand them control of Germany’s third-biggest utility, EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, which operates four nuclear plants. Both Greens and SPD oppose atomic power.

“There won’t just be a changing of the guard in Baden- Wuerttemberg, there will be a change of politics,” Greens national co-leader Claudia Roth told reporters in Berlin. It will be “a historic watershed in 31 years of Green history when we vote in a Green state premier” in the state. “Let the future begin.”

The Local:

“We’ve achieved a historic election victory,” said Winfried Kretschmann, who is likely to become Germany’s first state premier from the Green party. “I’d like to thank those that voted for us – especially those voting for us for the first time.”

In another state election in neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate, the Social Democrats looked set to stay in office, but will have to share power with the Greens.

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Greens enter government in Germany’s largest state

The Trumpet reports from Germany:

After weeks of inconclusive coalition negotiations, Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Green Party have agreed to establish a minority government in North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s largest and richest state. The June 17 decision takes its place on a growing heap of bad news for Chancellor Angela Merkel, as the move means her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) no longer holds the majority in Germany’s upper legislative chamber.

The Green Party earned 12.4% of the vote in the May elections, almost double their previous showing.

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Greens to play “Kingmaker” in Germany?

In an article at Spiegel Online, the Greens in Saarland will play a pivotal role after recent “Super Sunday” elections.

The Left Party came in first, winning 21.3% of the vote. Their preferred coalition partner is the Social Democrats. Apparently these two parties do not have enough in the legislature to form a government without bringing in another smaller party.

The same seems to be true of the parties on the conservative side of the aisle. Even if they all come together to try to form a coalition, they will need more to succeed.

That “more” is the Green Party. The article, if I understand it correctly, says that whichever government is formed will owe it’s existence to the Greens joining the coalition.

Please read the article yourself, and if I have gotten it wrong, let me know. It does sound like an exciting turn of events in the Green’s favor.

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International Green Party news: Germany, England, New Zealand, Malta, Canada

Earth Times is reporting that the German Green Party is applying pressure on the Angela Merkel government to persuade the US government to abandon cluster bombs.

Children are often victims of the weapons, which can remain lodged in the ground for years after being fired, since they sometimes mistake the so-called bomblets for toys.

According to the Laotian government, more than 300 children a year die because of “bomblets” left over from the war in Vietnam and the surrounding nations.

Continue Reading

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Ethnic Turk Elected Co-leader of German Greens

There are around 3 million ethnic Turks in Germany, and German Green and Parliament member Cem Ozdemir is one of them. This weekend he was elected co-leader of the German Greens to serve along with Claudia Roth. Ozdemir is the first German politician of foreign descent to ascend to the leadership of a political party in Germany.

From Hurriyet:

“What is important for me is not my election as a person of Turkish origin but my election despite this fact. Whatever one’s roots are they can be elected,” he said. “I want to invite all to be engaged in politics. I come from a working class family. If I could achieve this triumph others may well succeed as well. Every segment is part of our society.”

From the International Herald Tribune:

“I want a society where everyone has an equal chance, regardless of where they come from,” Ozdemir said in his acceptance speech at the Greens’ congress in the central city of Erfurt.

Hurriyet
International Herald Tribune
BBC