Germany's traditionally left-leaning Greens have chosen two centrists to lead them into this year's election, in which the party could be a key to forming a new government.

Senior Green official Michael Kellner said Wednesday that party co-chairman Cem Ozdemir and parliamentary caucus leader Katrin Goering-Eckardt won a ballot of party members.

Germany's election is expected Sept. 24. Conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel currently governs in a "grand coalition" with the center-left Social Democrats. The Greens could be a key to producing a different government with or without Merkel.

The party is divided between those who favor a coalition with Merkel and others who back a three-way left-wing alliance that would remove her from the chancellery. In the ballot, members rejected prominent left-winger Anton Hofreiter.