Green party, any of the political parties established in various countries to oppose the destructive environmental effects of many modern technologies and the economic systems and institutions that drive them. Many Green parties also advocate pacifism and strongly support human rights; the parties are typically grassroots leftist in their political orientation.
There are numerous Green parties in Europe. In 2003 the European Federation of Green Parties established the European Green party, in part in order to campaign on a common platform in EU elections; 50 parties are now members of the European Green party. The German Green party, founded in West Germany in 1979, had some political successes in the 1980s and merged with a group from the former East Germany in 1993. In 1994 it outpolled the Free Democrats, previously Germany's third largest party; it again was the third largest party in 1998, when it first entered the government in a sometimes strained coalition with the Social Democrats, and in 2002. In 2005 and 2009, however, it placed fifth, and was not in the government. Green parties in several other European nations have been part of coalition governments including in France (1997–2002, 2012–) and the Irish Republic (2007–11).
A U.S. group has existed since 1973; the Green party of the United States was officially formed in 2001 from the Association of State Green Parties. There are 43 state organizations affiliated with the national confederation. Ralph Nader was the Green party's presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, and in the latter election the party garnered the largest vote (2.6%) of any U.S. third party. In subsequent presidential campaigns the party's candidates have been much less successful.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.