The German Green party has taken a narrow lead over Angela Merkel’s conservatives for the first time, according to two opinion polls.
Buoyed by a surge in support from younger voters concerned about the environment, the party is now contemplating the possibility that one of its leaders could be Germany’s next chancellor.
Robert Habeck, 49, a charismatic novelist with a doctorate in literary aesthetics, has now stolen Mrs Merkel’s crown as the country’s most popular politician, a survey suggests.
His rise has come at the expense of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the chancellor’s intended successor and leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), whose approval ratings have slumped into negative territory over the past month.
One poll released yesterday put the Greens on 26 per cent to the CDU’s 25 per cent, days after a separate survey had the parties on 27 and 26 per cent respectively, suggesting that they are neck and neck in the contest for Middle Germany.
That poll, published by the ARD television channel, put the far-right Alternative for Germany (AFD) party in third place on 13 per cent, one point ahead of the Social Democrats.