Table of Contents - January 1st: Greens Qualify as Major Party in California - April 3rd: Parti des Ecologistes Guineens founded in Guinea - April 17th-20th: Swedish Greens chose Marianne Samuelsson and Birger Schlaug as Party Spokespersons - May 15th-17th: Greens Hold Second Convention After German Unification - May 30th-31st: First Planetary Meeting of Greens - August 30th: Australian Greens Founded - August 30th-September 7th: Fourth National Convention and Gathering of the Green Party of Canada - plus CANAMEX - October 3rd: Brazilian Greens Win 54 Seats in Municipal Elections - October 28th: Finnish Greens Breakthrough in Municipal Elections - November 3rd: U.S. Greens run 91 candidates in 13 states - November 25th: Irish Greens Win One Parliamentary Seat, Lose Another ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 1: Greens Qualify as Major Party in California
By registering a record number of Green Party members over a two-year period, the Green Party qualified as a major party in California on January 1st with full ballot status. In California, political parties can qualify for statewide ballot status in either of two ways: by voter registration or petition. The number of registered voters needed is 1% of the number of persons who voted in the preceding gubernatorial election. The number of petition signers needed is 10% of the number of persons who voted in the preceding gubernatorial election.
The Green Party chose the voter registration route, meaning it had to register at least 78,992 voters as Greens to qualify; and the period of ballot qualification began in January 1990 and extended through December 1991.
As of December 31st, 1991, its two year ballot qualification campaign was successful and the Green Party of California had 100,897 Green voter registrants, surpassing the threshold it needed and making it the second state Green Party to qualify for ballot status in the United States, following Alaska (November 1990).
Green Parties in Africa were founded in 1991 in Guinea, Morrocco and Senegal. In Guinea, the Parti des Ecologistes Guineens was founded by Dixit Oumar Sylla, a former militant of the Federation of the students of Black Africa.
According to Sylla, "We were about fifteen in a coffee the Ninth which occurred with Conakry when we intended the Guinean president to authorize the parties. We then decided to create ours with the aim of protection the environment of our country." The Party of the Guinean Ecologists became the first to be made legal after the democratic opening of the country.
April 17-20: Swedish Greens chose Marianne Samuelsson and Birger Schlaug as Party Spokespersons
At its Party Congress in the southwestern Swedish city of Trollhättan, the Miljöpartiet de Gröna chose Marianne Samuelsson and Birger Schlaug as Party Spokespersons. The Congress was the party’s first after it fell out of Swedish Parliament in the September 1991 national elections. The Greens received 3.4% that year, failing to reach the 4% threshold necessary to enter the Riksdag, after receiving 5.5% and winning 20 seats in September 1988, in the process becoming the first new party to enter the Swedish parliament in 70 years. Under the leadership of Samuelsson and Schlaug, who served as co-spokerspersons from 1992-1999, the Greens returned to parliament in 1994 and remained there ever since.
May 15-17: Greens Hold Second Convention After German Unification
529 delegates from across Germany came together in Berlin for the German Greens' second Congress after German unification. In the 1990 Federal Elections, the West German Greens had suffered a devastating loss, receiving 4.8%, short of the 5% needed to win seats in the newly united German Bundestag (Parliament). The Greens had not embraced unification, instead focusing on Global Warming and Climate Change. After winning 8.3% and 42 seats in 1987, this left the party with only eight seats in the 662 seat body – those won in the old Eastern Germany states by Bündnis ’90 (Alliance ‘90), the East German civil rights movements alliance with whom the Greens were in coalition (a coalition that was formalized in May 1993 as Bündnis ’90/Die Grünen.)
The Berlin Congress debated and approved the party's 1994 election program with an eye towards beginning the campaign early enough to ensure a return to the Bundestag in force. The right of asylum for foreigners was discussed with large majority agreeing that German borders must remain open to all foreigners seeking asylum. The delegates also rejected Article 218 of the criminal code, which would have forbidden abortion.
The Green Alternative List of Berlin helped get the convention off to an imaginative start by installing an original Berlin streetcar in front of the Moabit town hall, highlighting their local campaign for the reintroduction of streetcars to help ease worsening traffic problems. A week after the convention, the Greens received 14.4% of the vote in local elections in Berlin, an increase of 4%.
Just weeks earlier on April 5th, the Greens won 9.5% and 13/146 seats in the state elections in the wealthy, southwestern Land of Baden-Württemberg. In the rural, northwestern Land of Schleswig-Holstein, the Greens garnered 4.97 percent of the vote, 397 short of the 5% threshold needed to win seats.
May 30-31: First Planetary Meeting of Greens
250 Greens from 28 countries gathered together for two days in Rio de Janeiro, immediately preceding the United National Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), to convene the First Planetary Meeting of Greens where the first ever Global Greens statement was issued.
Reflecting the fact that the environmental movements at UNCED and elsewhere need an electoral complement, it began with this preface: "Experience teaches us that governments are only moved to take environmental problems seriously when people vote for environmental political parties.
Between 1990 and 1992, Greens from several continents worked together to plan O Primeiro Encontro Planetário dos Verdes, as it was known in Portugese.
The lead organizers were the host Partido Verde do Brasil and the Green Group in the European Parliament, with important roles also played by the European Green Coordination, the Partido Verde Ecologísta de México and the International Working Group of the U.S. Greens. At the Río meeting, a Global Green Steering Committee was created, a Steering Committee was created based on six major planetary regions of Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America, North America, and Europe. Each planetary region will be represented on the 12-person Steering Committee by a woman and a man following the principle of gender balance. The main tasks of the Steering Committee were (1) systematic communication, (2) coordinated actions, (3) delegations to meetings, (4) common global statements, (5) development of new Green Parties, and (6) transnational committees on different topics. The Committee met for two days following the conclusion of the Planetary Meeting.
Rio de Janeiro Green Alfredo Sirkis,who played a leading role in organizing the meeting, ultimately was elected twice to the Rio City Council and also served as the city’s Secretary of the Environment and Secretary of Urban Planning.
August 30: Australian Greens Founded
Green representatives from Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania, with observers from Victoria, the ACT and Western Australia, gathered in Lavender Bay, North Sydney on August 30th and agreed to form the Australian Greens. Existing state Green parties were incorporated and new bodies were created to form the Greens first truly national structure. This process was completed in October 2003 when the Western Australian Greens, who had historically been the most independent, voted overwhelmingly to join the national body.
Greens from across Canada came together for the Green Party of Canada’s Fourth Convention and Gathering held in Pigeon Lake, Alberta, near Edmonton.
Delegates passed a policy paper critical of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), calling it “an attempt by transnational corporations to escape national laws establishing environmental and labour standards” and voting to seek avenues by which to oppose it, including "if elected to form the Government of Canada, [to] remove the nation from the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement."
In conjunction with the Green Party of Canada meeting was the second meeting of CANAMEX, the organization bringing together the Green Parties of Canada, the United States and Mexico, that was founded a year earlier in September 1991 in San Francisco. CANAMEX delegates met together and passed their own statement criticizing NAFTA, including its negative effects on First Nations. They also endorsed a number of activities in support of the 500 Years of Resistance and Dignity project commemorating the landing of the Spanish and the beginning of European colonialism in the Americas in 1492. CANAMEX representatives also made plans for selecting the North American Region’s delegates to the Global Green Steering Committee. The text of all of these documents can be found here.
October 3: Brazilian Greens Win 54 Seats in Municipal Elections
Leading up to the 1992 Brazilian Municipal Elections, the Brazilian Greens built momentum upon two important events within Brazil that year. First was the focus on the environment that came with the United National Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) being held in Rio de Janeiro in June (along with the First Planetary Green Meeting hosted immediately preceding it). Second was that the Brazilian Greens were very active in the 1992 mass mobilizations against then-president Fernando Collor that led to his impeachment on severe corruption charges.
In the October 1992 municipal elections Greens elected 54 city councilors in different states and mayors in three small towns in Säo Paulo state: Campina do Monte Alegre, Pederneiras and Macatuba. After the elections, members of the Green Party were invited to become environmental secretaries in about 100 municipalities, including such state capital cities as Rio de Janeiro (Alfredo Sirkis), Salvador (Juca Ferreira) and Natal (Eugenio Cunha).
October 28: Finnish Greens Breakthrough in Municipal Elections
Finnish Greens won a record 343 City Council seats across the country in municipal elections, receiving a record 184,787 votes. 55% of Greens elected were women. Four years earlier in the preceding municipal elections, the Greens received 61,581 votes and won 94 seats.
November 3: U.S. Greens run 91 candidates in 13 states
1992 was the first year Greens ran in large numbers across the US, with 91 candidates in 13 states. Twenty Green won their races, including 11 in California. Prior to 1992, the most candidates that ran in a single year was 21 in 1990, with six victories.
The highest office won in 1992 was by Keiko Bonk of Hawai’i who also became the first U.S. Green elect to the partisan office, when she was elected to the nine-member County Council on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Also in Hawai'i, Linda Martin received 49,921 votes and 13.7% for U.S. Senate, still an all-time high for a U.S. Green for the U.S. Senate.
Also elected in November 1992 was Dona Spring to the Berkeley, California City Council. Spring would serve almost 16 years - the second longest tenure in office by any U.S. Green. During 1992 four state Green Parties achieved ballot status, in Arizona, California, Hawai’i and New Mexico, joining the Green Party of Alaska, which became the first in 1990.
November 25: Irish Greens Win One Parliamentary Seat, Lose Another
The 1992 General Election brought new challenges for Comhaontas Glas/the Green Party in Ireland. In the 1989 General Election, the party had won its first seat in the Dáil Éireann (House of Representatives), electing Roger Garland in Dublin South. Competing under Ireland’s Proportional Representation-Single Transferable Vote Electoral System, Garland received 8.81% of first preferences cast and finished fourth out of ten candidates for five seats But in 1992, Garland faced an uncertain re-election. However, in two other constituencies – Dublin North and Dublin South East, the party held hope of winning a seat.
In Dublin North Trevor Sargent was elected with 8.77% of the first preferences, finishing fourth of ten candidates for four seats. In his inaugural speech to the Dáil, Sargent put forward his vision for a radical change of work in a post-industrialist society, calling for a shorter working week, work sharing, workers’ co-operatives, early retirement options and a guaranteed basic income. He added that he hoped to work with a Government that is "compassionate and caring, who gives equal status to women and men in positions of responsibility and uses ecological understanding as rule of thumb all its decision making."
Sargent, who first was elected to the Dublin City Council in 1991 before his election to the Dáil, would be re-elected in 1997, 2002, 2007, topping the poll in 2002 and finishing second in 2007. In 2001 Sargent was elected party Leader, a position he held til he resigned in 2007 after leading the negotiations to form a coalition government with Fianna Fáil.
The party’s other hope of winning the seat, John Gormley in Dublin South East, fell short. However Gormley, who had been elected to the Dublin City Council in 1991 and became Lord Mayor for 1994-95, was elected in 1997, 2002 and 2007.
In 1989 Garland sought and received transfers from all parties and independent candidates. In contrast, in 1992 Garland was weakened by several factors, from an attack from the right by Mary Harney over his defense against extradition to Northern Ireland of a Sinn Fein activist, to decreased support from with the Green party, to the entry into the race of Roger Greene, a former Green City Councillor who had resigned from the party in 1991 before he was expelled. Ultimately Garland finished seventh out of 13 candidates for five seats (Greene finished 10th), with 3.79% of first preferences.