Comment on the Basel elections – the rejuvenation in the government council is sorely needed

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Red-Green fails because of its own arrogance and loses the majority in the executive branch after 16 years. Woman power thanks to Stephanie Eymann and Esther Keller. The freedom from Baschi Dürr, on the other hand, has hit rock bottom.

Winner and loser close together: Stephanie Eymann and the voted out Baschi Dürr on the way to Basel town hall.
Winner and loser close together: Stephanie Eymann and the voted out Baschi Dürr on the way to Basel town hall.

Photo Nicole Pont

The population of Basel was not satisfied with the government council from 2016 to 2020. The old college suffered a historic rebuff in this exciting election campaign. Although the two SP greats Hans-Peter Wessels and Christoph Brutschin announced their resignation early on and thus made room, two magistrates, Elisabeth Ackermann (Greens) and now Baschi Dürr, were chased out of office.

The fresh cell treatment is sorely needed. Transport policy is stuck in a dead end, the industry has fallen out with the government council, the beers and cultural workers feel left alone in the corona pandemic. The museums are in crisis, the fair has been sold and almost bankrupt. In climate policy there is a lack of togetherness, there is disagreement in dealing with the beggars, and the countless demonstrations only annoy the people here. This city has lost its esprit, its unmistakable identity. But now there is a great opportunity. Fresh minds promise new ideas, they are the antidote to this indolence that had spread in the old crew.

Strong women

There is Stephanie Eymann. It stands for the triumphant advance of the Liberal Party, which has long outstripped the FDP. Of all the candidates, Eymann communicated most skillfully from the start. She took a stand on every topic and still never ran into the knife. In the race for the presidential department, she only has to admit defeat by SP-Strahlemann Beat Jans. Eymann embodies the type of woman that the majority wants: committed, experienced, authentic.

There is Esther Keller. In the first ballot it did not seem to be able to participate in the nationwide upswing of the green liberals. Now, however, after the Ackermann debacle at the end of October, it benefited from the botched nomination procedure of the SP and the Greens. Many left-wing voters preferred to vote Keller than Baschi Dürr in order to prevent a bourgeois majority. Keller embodies the type of woman who is on the advance across Switzerland: urban, modern, communicative, digitally networked, but full of concern for the environment and well aware that climate change will dominate the political agenda for decades.

Great result: Esther Keller has made the leap to the Basel government council - as the first ever green liberal.

Great result: Esther Keller has made the leap to the Basel government council – as the first ever green liberal.

Photo: Nicole Pont

The SP did not have a plan B.

For the first time, the Green Liberals take a seat in the executive; that’s historical. And that is why the red-green camp in the government council will have the majority on environmental issues in the next four years – at least some of their power has been saved by the left for the future. Her entire election campaign was marked by arrogance and arrogance. When Elisabeth Ackermann crashed out in the first ballot, the SP and Greens had no handy plan B in the drawer. Ackermann’s ineptitude was not to blame for the election defeat, but in their eyes it was the evil media. Because it absolutely had to be a woman, the decision was made overnight for Heidi Mück from the extreme party Basta. Mück failed rhetorically in the first days after her nomination, and with her radical positions on hot topics such as the police and the Israel boycott movement she stood in her own way.

Drought at its lowest point

Heidi Mück, who still got a decent election result, will be able to cope with the defeat. In contrast, Baschi Dürr experienced the low point of his political career. For the first time the FDP loses its seat in the government, for the first time in the history of the canton and the party; that is also historical. Freedom has lost its political compass, which is evident across the country. In Basel he was overtaken by his once little brother, the Liberals. Thanks to their Basel roots, they convey more closeness and more credible values.

Nothing is more humiliating for a government councilor than to be voted out by the people. Running a justice and security department is a royal task and – especially in Basel – ungrateful because demonstrations now seem to be part of everyday life. There is a demo for every nonsense. With his hesitant attitude around this trend, Baschi Dürr annoyed the left and right spectrum alternately for years. Only in the last few weeks and months did the FDP man show a clear edge; it was too late by then.

Now he will be able to watch from a distance how Basel’s new government is planning the future after the fresh cell treatment. Four men and three women – more than ever before – are required. It will be exciting.

Nothing is more humiliating for a government councilor than to be voted out by the people.



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