BONN — West Germany's radical Greens party ended its national conference Sunday by agreeing to consider joining the opposition Social Democratic Party in forming a coalition government if the two parties win enough votes in the January federal elections.
Such a coalition might offer the voters a realistic alternative to the ruling center-right coalition of the Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats, proponents argued during the Greens' three-day meeting in Nuremberg.
But the controversial motion passed only after strong opposition by the fundamentalist or "fundi," wing of the party led by Petra Kelly, a founding member of the Greens, Europe's largest environmentalist party, and a member of the Bundestag (Parliament).
She argued that the Greens' strength is in the party's determination to go it alone and not combine with conventional parties.
"Any Social Democratization will make the Greens superfluous," she maintained. "It is political suicide for us to continue running after (Social Democrats) with offers of coalition when they want nothing to do with us."
But Kelly's view lost out to the so-called realpolitik wing of the party, or "realos," who have advocated a coalition with the Social Democrats to help the Greens win a higher percentage of German voters.
Such a "red-green" coalition, the "realos" argue, would increase the Greens' drawing power in the national election next Jan. 25.
But the Greens' offer appeared to have been slapped down already by the Social Democratic leader and candidate for the chancellorship, Johannes Rau.
Rau, during the Greens convention, declared that he would never form a coalition with them because of their extremist views on major issues.
Rau was referring to the Greens' platform, which calls upon West Germany to leave the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, order out U.S. troops based in West Germany and ban nuclear power plants.
Insist on Policy Changes
In their motion to approach the Social Democrats, the Greens insisted that the Social Democrats would have to alter their policy to conform with these Greens views--which are unacceptable to the moderate wing of the Social Democratic Party.
Currently, public opinion polls show the Social Democrats with about 41% of the national vote and the Greens with 6%--so it would appear that the two parties even combined could not form a majority after a national election.
Meanwhile, polls show the strength of the ruling Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian affiliate, the Christian Social Union, to be running at about 45%, with 6% or 7% for their coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party.
In the immediate aftermath of the April 26 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in the Soviet Union, the Greens' stock went up at the polls. However, in the state election in Lower Saxony not long afterward, the environmental party polled a disappointing 7%.
In West Germany, a party must register at least 5% in a state or national election to be apportioned seats in the legislature.
In the last national election in 1983, the Greens polled 5.6%--or enough to give them 28 seats in the national Parliament.
Last spring, a Greens leader, Joschka Fischer, agreed to become minister of the environment in the government of the state of Hesse.
This was seen by political observers in Bonn as the "realos" wing's way of showing that it could function within a state government.
But the fundamentalists insist that collaborating with another party will compromise the Greens' basic principles, even though such a stand could reduce their share of the vote below 5%, depriving the party of national representation.
The Greens' policy of seeking an accord with an opposition party will be tested in local elections in Bavaria and Hamburg within the next two months.