Oman Daily Observer
Thunberg rallies climate activists for German vote ‘of a century’
BERLIN: Tens of thousands of climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, rallied in cities across Germany on Friday ahead of the weekend general election to crank up the pressure on the candidates to succeed Angela Merkel.
Speaking at a rally in front of the Reichstag parliament building in the run-up to Sunday’s poll, Thunberg told cheering Fridays for Future youth supporters that they needed to hold Germany’s political leaders to account past election day.
“It is clearer than ever that no political party is doing close to enough... not even their proposed commitments are close to being in line with what would be needed to fulfil the Paris Agreement” on curbing climate change, she said.
“Yes, we must vote, you must vote, but remember that voting only will not be enough. We must keep going into the streets.”
The head of Fridays for Future’s German chapter said the country, one of the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, had an outsize responsibility to set an example, with time running out to reverse destructive trends.
“That is why we are calling this the election of a century,” Luisa Neubauer said.
The race has boiled down to a two-way contest between Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, the centrist finance minister, and Armin Laschet from Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats. Both were set to address crowds later on Friday, in Cologne and Munich respectively.
Polls give Scholz a small lead of about 25 per cent over Laschet at around 22 per cent, with the candidate from the ecologist Greens, Annalena Baerbock, trailing in the mid-teens.
All three leading parties have said they aim to implement a climate protection agenda if elected, with the Greens presenting the most ambitious package of measures.
Despite the urgency of the climate for a majority of Germans, particularly in the aftermath of deadly summer floods in western Germany, the relatively inexperienced Baerbock has failed to garner widespread support among voters.