State Election

The Litmus Test

Winfried Kretschmann: Will the Green Party's liberal views on refugees tank his bid for re-election?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Results in Baden-Württember’s state election in March could serve as a litmus test for national elections in 2017, measuring the political fallout from the refugee crisis.

  • Facts


    • The Green Party gained control of the state government of Baden-Württemberg in 2011.
    • The southwestern state is Germany’s third largest in size and population and has the highest percentage of industry among the nation’s 16 states.
    • Winfried Kretschmann has two big problems that could prevent his re-election as state premier: a weak coalition partner and the refugee crisis.
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Germany’s first and only Green Party premier will be up for re-election in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg in March. In a place known as a bastion of small- and mid-sized companies, the state’s premier, Winfried Kretschmann, enjoys widespread popularity – but his re-election seems unlikely. And it’s not even his own fault.

Mr. Kretschmann has pushed through some tough projects, like Stuttgart 21, the construction of the new main train station.

“Things are finally proceeding with Stuttgart 21,” said Andreas Richter,  president of Stuttgart’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce. “I hadn’t expected that.”

Stuttgart 21 ranks among Germany’s most controversial large-scale building projects. Mass protests, riots and violent attacks had erupted over the expensive project for a new train station and railway route. The Green Party offered particularly stiff opposition. When the party took over the state government in 2011, the project hung in the balance. After opponents to the project were defeated in a referendum, the €6 billion, or $6.6 billion, project got underway.

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