The severity of climate change and the importance of environmental protection have become priorities for many, with some believing these issues should be at the top of the political and government agenda. A growing number of people have started to vote for the Green Party in their countries to represent their concerns and points of view. So, what are the Green Political party beliefs? And where does their biggest support come from?
What is the Green Party?
The Green Party, also referred to as the Greens, is a left-wing political party that believes environmental protection is of supreme importance to the sustainable development of human lives and all other living beings. But significantly, the Green Party does not only focus on environmental issues, but advocates for social justice as well. They find that economic, social, and environmental problems are all interrelated and no crises can be solved without solving the issues concurrently.
Nearly every democratic country has some form of a green party, and most green parties form part of the Global Greens, an international organisation that aims to create a network that links the green parties from all over the world and that envisions a planet where there is no conflict between our economic needs and the systems of life.
Currently, the Green Party exists in about 90 countries around the world, where its popularity is especially remarkable in Europe, given their significant influence inside parliaments. Yet, in other parts of the world, the influence of the Greens is obviously less so, acting mainly in the form of an extra-parliamentary opposition, instead of actively engaging in elections.
No green party across the globe is the same, with each advocating different policies representing the needs of their respective countries and constituents. But, green political party beliefs share similar overarching stances.
Overarching Green Political Party Beliefs
Climate change is indeed a major, and arguably the biggest concern, for green parties around the world. To put an end to the climate crisis, the Greens propose to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy by making renewable energy universally accessible and affordable, as well as encouraging investors, funds, and governments to cut their financial ties with the fossil fuel industry. Generally, its attitude towards nuclear energy is skewed towards negative due to its safety concern. However, the Green Party in some European countries such as Finland has recently softened its stance on nuclear, agreeing on the possibility of building nuclear reactors as another tool to combat climate change. The Finnish Green Party also made the argument based on the relatively low greenhouse gas emissions of nuclear energy and the intermittency of renewable energy at this moment.
The Green Party supports the development of a sustainable economy. Acknowledging the fact that some enterprises prioritise their profits to the detriment of the quality of life of ordinary people, as well as the health of the planet through exploitation and pollution, the Green Party advocates and fights for fair trade that respect the rights of workers and consumers and regulating environmental standards, ensuring enterprises are being responsible to all stakeholders. The Green Party is also an opponent of austerity measures that aim to improve the government’s balance by cutting government spending.
The Green Party supports restoring social justice by creating diverse, open, and welcoming societies. In order to make cities more liveable and likeable for everyone, it believes reducing inequality and eradicating poverty is a must. The Greens are advocates for a strong social security system and policies such as price ceilings on house prices and rents to ensure everyone can enjoy at least a certain level of quality of life. It also opines that today’s tax system is in favour of the few richest people, as they accumulate their wealth by questionable speculation on the stock market, and by making use of the loopholes in the tax system, like tax evasion. It fights for policies that tighten the tax system to make sure that nobody is not paying their fair share. In addition, progressive taxation is recommended, requiring high-income people to pay a higher tax rate than their low-income neighbours.
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The Rising Popularity of the Green Party
The first Green Party was founded in West Germany in 1979. It raised public awareness of the potential danger of nuclear energy. It also urged the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and NATO, which is found to be violent in nature, hindering the establishment of a peaceful world. This position remains unanimous among most green parties around the world. Alliance 90/ The Greens was formed in 1993, a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, as the merger of the green parties in West and East Germany.
The popularity of this party in Germany has grown significantly since. Although it lost in the federal election in 2021, it currently holds 118 of the 736 seats in Bundestag, the German federal parliament, making it the third largest party and part of the current three-party coalition government. The Green Party also boasts a decent representation in other European countries. Within the European Parliament of the EU, the Greens/ European Free Alliance holds 58 of the 705 seats, making them the fourth largest party.
Who Votes for the Green Party? And Who Doesn’t?
Despite its popularity within the EU, there is a huge regional difference in voting systems, demonstrating that Green political party beliefs are only popular with some European constituents, and not all.
The apportionment of seats within the European Parliament to each member state varies according to the population of each country. Therefore, countries like Germany and France with the highest populations are assigned with 96 and 74 seats respectively. Of the 58 seats of the European Greens, 25 are from Germany and 13 are from France; this means that the remaining collection of 20 members from the Greens/ European Free Alliance is elected by the 25 other member states.
At the national level, we see that countries with higher populations have a higher tendency to vote for the Greens. There is an argument to be made that preference towards the Greens can be linked to wealthier and more developed countries due to factors like economic growth and culture.
Individually, who votes for the green party? Supporters of the Greens are generally left-leaning and those who are particularly concerned with climate change. Because of this, the biggest rival to the Green Party is arguably the Social Democratic Party as they have similar ideologies on climate change, the economy, and social justice. This may end up splitting the vote during elections. Yet theoretically, they are vastly different. The Social Democratic Party believes in shifting capitalism towards socialist ideals, while the Green Party wants to create an equal society where people are provided with basic needs within the capitalist context. Although the Green Party is considered left-wing, it is closer to the centre of the political spectrum. They are in a unique position to be a bridge between leftists and conservatives and help push forward greater climate action and policies to protect and restore the environment.
Featured image by: Inside Over