Expert: Stuttgart OB election a warning shot for the Greens


Updated November 30, 2020, 7:28 a.m.

Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) – From the point of view of communications scientist Frank Brettschneider, the Stuttgart mayor election should give the Greens, above all, food for thought.

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“With a view to the state elections, this is definitely a clue for the Greens that they shouldn’t think that the election has already run,” said the professor at Hohenheim University of the German Press Agency. “That is clearly a damper for the Greens.” The party must campaign and be capable of campaigning. She did not succeed in doing that in Stuttgart. In March, Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) runs for re-election.

In Stuttgart, Frank Nopper won the election for the CDU on Sunday with 42.3 percent of the vote. Green candidate Veronika Kienzle was runner-up in the first round of voting three weeks ago after a dispute in the center-left camp. The CDU has thus recaptured the town hall in the green stronghold of Stuttgart after only one term of office from Fritz Kuhn (Greens).

“For the CDU this is initially a tailwind, but not a general trend,” said Brettschneider, who also researches political communication. He referred to Göppingen, where incumbent Guido Till (CDU) Alexander Maier (Greens) was recently defeated in the mayor election.

The fact that the independent candidate Marian Schreier landed in second place with 36.9 percent of the vote was explained by Brettschneider with the peculiarities of local elections. “These are personality choices.” At the local level, people were more likely to try to elect a candidate who is not tied to a party.

Schreier does have an SPD party book. But since the Stuttgart Social Democrats wanted to send their own applicant into the race, Schreier had decided in the dispute with the party for an independent candidacy and always emphasized this in the election campaign.

On Sunday evening he assessed his performance on the local broadcaster Stuggi.TV as confirmation that “politics can also be made beyond the established and deadlocked structures”. This is a “sign that political structures are changing”. Brettschneider compared the respectable success of Schreier with the OB election in Freiburg, where the non-party social scientist Martin Horn had defeated the long-time city hall chief Dieter Salomon (Greens) in 2018.

In state and federal elections, however, parties played a bigger role, said Brettschneider. “It’s about long-term relationships.” Voters have learned which party stands for which issues. That this is different at the local level is also shown by the comparatively high proportion of free voters there.
© dpa

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