Photo Gallery The Rise of the Green Party

Support for Germany's Greens has surged to record highs thanks to discontent with Angela Merkel's government. This former motley crew of rebels is now a mainstream party adept at milking its ethical image and its protest roots. Its opportunistic policy U-turns and self-contradictions are going unnoticed.
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Green Party founder Petra Kelly (left) is seen here with fellow party member Marieluise Beck-Oberdorf in 1983. Three decades ago, the Greens were a radical minority bent on shaking up German politics.

Foto: Martin_Athenstädt / picture-alliance / dpa
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Here, former Green Party treasurer Lukas Beckmannn (center) can be seen with Petra Kelly (right), former Green member Otto Schily (left) and others. Beckmann has fond memories of the birth of the Green Party 30 years ago, a time when he and other founding members, including Kelly, artist Joseph Beuys and student protest leader Rudi Dutschke drove from university to university.

Foto: Archiv/ AP
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Party member Joschka Fischer, who quit politics in 2005, was a major factor in driving the party towards the mainstream. Here, he was attacked at a Green Party conference in 1999 over his unpopular views about the Kosovo war. The Green Party ultimately voted for German participation in the intervention, calling into question for good the Greens' pacifist roots.

Foto: Martin_Gerten/ picture-alliance / dpa
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Attacks in the party are not uncommon. Here, the Greens' floor leader in parliament, Jürgen Trittin, is seen after being struck by joghurt at an event in Hanover.

Foto: dapd
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Today, the Green Party is no longer in the margins. Pictured here are party leaders Claudi Roth (left) and Cem Özdemir (right) as well as parliamentary floor leader Trittin. Currently, the party is polling at levels of over 20 percent on the national level, almost even with the center-left Social Democrats, the party the once governed with as the junior partner in a government coalition under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder from 1998 to 2005.

Foto: DPA
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Here, Trittin is pictured with Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's former environment minister. At this point, who can seriously rule out the possibility that the Greens may field a chancellor in the not-too distant future, with the SPD as junior partner?

Foto: dapd
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The party has effortlessly tapped into the new wave of grassroots protest that has formed in Germany against radioactive waste transports to the controversial Gorleben interim storage facility.

Foto: dapd
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Here, protesters take part in a Nov. 6 demonstration in Dannenberg near Gorleben.

Foto: JOHANNES EISELE/ AFP
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It has also latched on to opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to extend the lifespans of Germany's nuclear power plants by an average of 12 years each. Opposition to nuclear power has been a core issue of the Green Party since its inception three decades ago. Here, protesters in Berlin gather in front of Merkel's official office, the Chancellery, to oppose the decision.

Foto: ddp
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It's not just opposition to nuclear power that has benefitted the Greens. Here, an injured protester is shown at a demonstation against the unpopular Stuttgart 21 train station and high-speed rail project. But the Greens have also come in for criticism -- often enough, they support major infrastructure projects at the national level while at the same time opposing them locally as is proving to be the case with the construction of mass power masts and lines that are needed across German to connect the country with its sustainable energy sources.

Foto: Marijan Murat/ dpa
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