Germany’s Greens have chosen co-leader Annalena Baerbock as their candidate for the federal election in September.
Baerbock’s candidacy was announced on Monday morning after beating co-leader Robert Habeck to the role.
Baerbock, 40, dismissed concerns about her lack of political experience during her acceptance speech.
“Democracy lives off change. Yes, I was never a chancellor and never a minister,” she said. “I stand for renewal. Other stand for the status-quo. I am deeply convinced that this country needs a new start.”
The former trampolinist said she favoured a “political culture in which people value each other, take critical voices seriously and do not work against each other but with each other”.
A Forsa poll last week put support for the Greens on 23%, behind 27% for the conservative alliance of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their Bavarian CSU sister party.
To lead a coalition government, the Greens could team up with the SPD, which the Forsa poll showed to have 15% support, and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), at 9%. Another three-way tie-up could be with the SPD and the far-left Linke.
At this stage, the more likely scenario is that the Greens join government as junior partner to Merkel’s conservatives.
CDU chairman Armin Laschet and Bavarian premier Markus Soeder remained at loggerheads on Monday over which of them should lead Merkel’s conservative alliance, with no prospect of resolving the matter in sight.
Baerbock has promised to boost investment in education, digitalisation and green technology.
The federal election in Germany will take place on September 26.