The Green Party in Germany is set to tear down established political barriers later today, by electing a politician of Turkish origin to be co-Chairman.
Cem Ozdemir says he is happy to challenge the old order, but doesn’t plan radical changes to the the party.
“I don’t want to re-invent the party. We have the best programme and the most modern of all parties. We are in a good shape. But when I see that the policies of the Greens have more and more support, but that this isn’t translated into election success, I see ways to make things better,” said Ozdemir.
He was the first ethnic Turkish politician to enter mainstream politics. He could now be on track for a cabinet post if the Greens win a place in the ruling coalition in next years election.
It is expected that he will share the chairmanship of the Green Party with Claudia Roth. Critics have labelled the rise of Cem Ozdemir as purely symbolic. But he says he intends to use his leadership role to make a real difference to cultural integration in Germany.