Yanis Varoufakis' star power wanes as his populist movement appears… unpopular

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“We are talking about the end of diesel, the end of coal power, today — and none of it paid for by taxpayers,” he said.

At times it feels as if Mr Varoufakis is trying to start a populist pro-European movement. But his critics say his message is undercut by his own admission that even if he is elected as a German MEP he plans to resign in a few months, so he can stand in September’s Greek national election.

“Look, Greece is Ground Zero of the financial crisis. I have to stand,” he says. “I want to be honest with the German people. I’m asking for their vote for a party, and I’ve named the candidate who will take my place if I resign.”

Though he doesn’t spell it out, essentially Mr Varoufakis is standing to lend his star power to his new party’s campaign.

But, as the small crowd at his Hanover rally attests, so far it isn’t working. His party is doing so badly the German poll companies don’t even include it in their data.

There is fierce competition for the pro-European, environmentalist vote in Germany, where the Greens are second in the national polls.

But Mr Varoufakis could still end up a German MEP,  for a few months at least. Under Germany’s European election rules there is no minimum threshold, which means even parties that win tiny shares of the vote can win seats — unlike in Greece.



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