Annalena Baerbock: Trampolinist offers Germany’s Greens a bounce in race to succeed Merkel

Annalena Baerbock: Trampolinist gives Germany's Greens a bounce in race to succeed Merkel


Among a lineup of gray-haired middle-aged men vying for the top job, Baerbock — a 40-year-old former professional trampolinist — stands out.

Baerbock is the Green party’s first ever candidate for chancellor, in September’s momentous elections that will see Merkel step down after almost 16 years at the helm.

The question is, can Baerbock translate that “breath of fresh air” into real winds of change for Germany?

The Greens’ surge coincides with a slump in the CDU/CSU’s popularity; the conservatives are mired in corruption scandals, leadership squabbles, and questions over their handling of a ferocious third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Along with the party’s co-leader, Robert Habeck, Baerbock has steered the Greens — once known as the “anti-party party” — to the center of German politics.

“There is something of the Tony Blair about her,” said Nicholas Wright, lecturer in EU politics at University College London.

“The fact that she comes from the pragmatist, realist part of the…