After the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Greens are considered kingmakers. It doesn’t work without her. Mathematically, both a coalition of the CDU and the Greens and a traffic light coalition are conceivable. The party achieved success with state leader and top candidate Mona Neubaur. The Greens are entering the state parliament with a record 18.2 percent and have almost tripled their result.

The Greens are still reticent about a possible coalition, but according to information from the Tagesspiegel there is a preference for black and green. This is also supported by the clear election victory of the CDU and the incumbent Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst. “Now it will be a matter of getting the maximum out of what we represented independently in the election campaign. Green handwriting must be clearly recognizable,” said Neubaur in an interview with the “FAZ” on Monday. What drives the green country leader and what can be expected from her?

For North Rhine-Westphalia, Neubaur has set itself the goal of nothing less than a “green economic miracle”, as she puts it. She wants to make the federal state the first climate-neutral industrial region in Europe. For them, climate protection is therefore also the key issue when forming a new government.

When asked about their priority, Neubaur told WDR: “That we, as Greens, accept the responsibility to show now that we can take action on the task of mankind to protect the climate.” Crucial to the question of a possible coalition partner is the “real will”, committed implement climate protection.

Before her career as a politician, she worked in the energy industry. After her studies, she first worked for an alternative energy supplier. Since then she has also been involved with the Greens. She also worked for seven years at the party-affiliated Heinrich Böll Foundation in North Rhine-Westphalia, from 2010 to 2014 as managing director. Neubaur became an active party member in 2005, and two years later she elected the Düsseldorf Greens as spokeswoman. She has been President of the National Association since 2014.

Neubaur describes herself as a Rhinelander by choice out of “complete conviction”. Born in Bavaria, she has lived in Düsseldorf since studying education, psychology and sociology.

Now the 44-year-old, who has never been a member of parliament before, is expected to become Vice Prime Minister in North Rhine-Westphalia and can decide with her Greens whether Hendrik Wüst (CDU) or Thomas Kutschaty (SPD) will become head of government. It is quite possible that she herself will become Economics and Climate Minister in Düsseldorf.

Neubaur describes their “green economic miracle” as a future that is “climate-neutral, social and digital”. North Rhine-Westphalia is “the land of coal and steel, it is an industrial country at heart”. According to the ideas of the Green politician, who likes to visit football games at Fortuna Düsseldorf in her free time and says she has a weakness for Düsseldorf mustard, it should stay that way – but driven by renewable energies and clean technologies.

On Sunday, Neubaur and the North Rhine-Westphalian Greens benefited from the emigration of former SPD and CDU voters – and also from the national trend of their own party. In the election campaign, she noticed that the “political style” of the ministers in the Berlin traffic light coalition had helped the state Greens, says Neubaur in Düsseldorf. “We have clearly received encouragement for what Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck do every day. We have obviously succeeded in translating the good green national trend to NRW,” she also told the “FAZ”.