Monday 3 February 2014

Keller and Bové to lead the European Greens in the elections

The online European Greens primaries ended with anti-globalisation campaigner and French Green MEP José Bové and German Green youth leader and MEP Ska Keller heading the election campaign.

22,676 people voted in the online primaries, and the four candidates debated in ten different cities. The turnout for the vote is disappointing, but as an exercise in democracy it was a good effort – with all the primary campaign hype in the Social Democratic camp, the Greens are the ones that actually held a competitive election.

The challenge for the winners now is to really add a European dimension to the campaign – visiting campaign events across the continent and explaining Green positions can not only add that dimension, but give extra credibility to the value of a vote for the Greens if they can show that they are an engaged and active parliamentary group worth supporting.

The idea of common candidates is becoming normalised now, with the main Europarty groups planning to run (at least) one. It’s unclear how much influence they have on the common platforms of their respective parties – the Green candidates appear to be campaign leaders, rather than being picked as parliamentary group leaders or potential Commission candidates – but there will be an incentive there for the candidates to promote themselves and their party platform.

It’s very much open whether the media and electorate will be attracted to these common candidates, but already the election is looking to be a more engaging prospect than last time around.

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