Greens candidate looks to undecided voters in German leadership race

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Germany's candidate for chancellor Annalena Baerbock and co-leader of Germany's Alliance 90/The Greens party, speaks during a Party Congress event in Berlin, Germany, September 19, 2021. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/File Photo

BERLIN, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Annalena Baerbock once looked the person to beat in the race to become Germany's chancellor, winning over voters with her promise of a climate-friendly "new start" after 16 years of conservative rule.

But months after she briefly rose to the top of opinion polls, the Greens' candidate to succeed Angela Merkel has become an outsider in Sunday's national election.

Bearbock's campaign faltered after accusations of plagiarism that she has rejected, inaccuracies in her resume and a scandal over an undeclared bonus payment, and her hopes of victory are pinned largely on winning over undecided voters.

The Greens now trail both Merkel's conservative bloc and the Social Democrats in opinion polls. read more

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz and conservative Armin Laschet have highlighted their government experience and their parties are part of an uneasy ruling "Grand Coalition." read more

Baerbock, 40, has been targeting voters who look for more than continuity and stability, and says there are two choices for voters.

"More of the same with the Grand Coalition, and it doesn't matter whether Olaf Scholz or Armin Laschet are in the chancellery, or do we want a proper new start, a government that is Green and that is what we will be fighting until the very last minute because time is running out?" she told a recent rally.

A London School of Economics graduate, and a member of the German parliament since 2013, Baerbock has struck a chord with younger voters with her uncompromising push for greener, more sustainable policy and economy.

A co-leader of the Greens since 2018, she represents the eastern state of Brandenburg in the Bundestag where she has focused on climate policy, economic affairs, energy and child poverty and has been involved in Germany's exit from coal.

Reporting by Tanya Wood and Lena Toepler, Writing by Tomasz Janowski, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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