German Greens seek path to power, possibly with Merkel
By Erik Kirschbaum
BERLIN (Reuters) - Once a fringe left-wing movement born in the heat of 1970s radicalism, Germany's Greens party may be heading for the unthinkable - a partnership with the conservatives that would keep Angela Merkel in power.
Greens leaders deny any interest in forming a coalition with the Christian Democrats, but voting patterns and shared views on a surprising number of key policies may push both sides to break a taboo and form a ruling coalition after elections next year.
Having shared power with the Social Democrats (SPD) from 1998 to 2005, the Greens long ago dropped their outsider image and are keen to return to power. A coalition with the main centre-left party would seem once again to be the natural fit.
But, with the SPD losing votes to the Greens and Merkel's Free Democrats (FDP) coalition partner likely to exit parliament entirely, a "black-green" coalition could suit both parties - although neither is saying so, for fear of alienating their core supporters.
"The possibility of a CDU-Greens coalition has never been greater," said Gerd Langguth, a Bonn University political scientist.
"It's not probable but possible. If there isn't enough for a centre-left coalition with the SPD, I'm sure the Greens will change their tune on election night and form a coalition with Merkel. They want to get back into power."
At a more local level, the two parties worked together in a reasonably successful coalition in the city-state of Hamburg from 2008 to 2011. The conservative Baden-Wuerttemberg has been run by a Greens state premier for the last 18 months.
The parties hold similar positions on fiscal discipline, the need for more euro zone integration and energy policy, now that the CDU has agreed to scrap nuclear power by 2022. Continued...