Ricarda Lang and Omid Nouripour elected to lead German Greens

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Omid Nouripour, newly elected party's co-chairman, is hugged by his wife Melanie Schnatsmeyer during a virtual party convention of the German Greens in Berlin

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Germany’s Greens party elected a new leadership team Saturday that vowed to continue fighting for the party’s core issues, especially combating climate change, as it adjusts to its role in Germany’s new governing coalition.

Omid Nouripour, 46, and Ricarda Lang, 28, will serve as the party’s co-leaders. They are replacing Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, who had led the party since 2018 but have both taken ministerial posts in Germany’s new government.

Baerbock is the country’s new foreign minister, while Habeck is vice-chancellor and minister for economics and climate.

Baerbock, Habeck and other Greens leaders “need our solidarity,” Nouripour said, “but they also need a smart and self-confident party” to help them develop their plans even further.

Lang encouraged party members to see the compromises of governing as an opportunity, “Governing isn’t a punishment, it’s a huge chance,” she said.

Nouripour, who was born in Iran and immigrated to Germany at 13, is a veteran Greens politician who has served in the Bundestag since 2006. He was previously a member of the party’s national board and also served as its foreign policy spokesman.

Lang is the youngest-ever Greens leader. Elected to the Bundestag in September, Lang got her start in the party’s youth wing and served as its spokeswoman on women’s issues. She is seen as a representative of the party’s left wing.

The Greens traditionally have two leaders on the national level, one woman and one man. Lang ran unopposed while Nouripour had two challengers but won easily.

The two politicians face the challenge of following in the footsteps of Baerbock and Habeck, who are popular in the party and widely credited with broadening the Greens’ voter base in recent years.

They also need to shape the Greens to operate as part of the ruling coalition, instead of in opposition.

In December, the three-party coalition between the centre-left Social Democrats, the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats took office under Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The government marks a new era after 16 years of Angela Merkel’s leadership and the Greens’ first time in government since 2005.

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