The political landscape in Lower Saxony will be reshuffled next Sunday. Thousands of posts in district, city, community and local councils have to be filled. Around 6.5 million people are called to cast their votes in local elections. In addition, mayors, mayors and district administrators are directly elected in 282 municipalities. Big cities like Braunschweig, Göttingen or Oldenburg are hotly contested.
The polls are also used as a mood test for the federal election two weeks later. Will the CDU again become the strongest force at the local level? Or does the SPD manage to replace the Christian Democrats at the top after more than forty years? And can the Greens – as hoped by the party – double their result? In the local elections five years ago, the CDU won 34.4 percent of the votes in the districts and urban districts and was ahead of the SPD (31.2), the Greens (10.9), the AfD (7.8), the FDP (4.8) and the Left (3.3).
CDU and SPD confident of victory
Despite the crash in the nationwide polls, the CDU wants to emerge as the winner of the elections this time as well. State chief Bernd Althusmann has clearly defined the claim: “We are competing to become the strongest force in Lower Saxony again, and I am confident that we can do that too.” Convincing staff offer.
In view of the positive trend for his party at the federal level, Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister and SPD state chief Stephan Weil is hoping to break the dominance of the CDU. “Our goal as the SPD is clear: We want to win the elections and become the strongest local party in Lower Saxony. I see good prospects for that, ”said Weil. The SPD in Lower Saxony is deeply rooted in the individual municipalities.
Lord Mayors are no longer running
However, the social democrats have to cope with a personnel change in the big cities: With Braunschweig, Göttingen and Wolfsburg there are three big cities in which the previous SPD incumbents no longer run for elections. The same applies to the cities of Delmenhorst and Lüneburg.
In addition to the election of the regional president in Hanover, politics is primarily looking at the mayoral election in the second largest city of Braunschweig. The previous town hall chief Ulrich Markurth (SPD) is leaving office. The SPD set up the young lawyer Thorsten Kornblum, who had worked closely with Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) for many years. Kornblum are given a chance to prevail in a runoff election at the latest. Competitors are likely to be either the architecture professor Tatjana Schneider, who is supported by the Greens, or the farmer Kaspar Haller, who is also non-party and is favored by the CDU and FDP.
Tension in Braunschweig and Oldenburg
The three-way battle in Oldenburg is also eagerly awaited. Here, the incumbent Mayor Jürgen Krogmann (SPD) is the favorite. The challengers are Daniel Fuhrhop (independent), who competes for the Greens, and Ulrich Gathmann (independent). The longtime managing director of the Oldenburg “Nordwest-Zeitung” starts for the CDU. In Oldenburg, a candidate nominated by the CDU had completely surprisingly defeated a popular SPD mayor.
In Göttingen, Rolf-Georg Köhler (SPD) will no longer run after seven years in office. The candidates here: Petra Broistedt (SPD), Doreen Fragel (independent, runs for the Greens) and Ehsan Kangarani (CDU). In Wolfsburg, eight candidates want to succeed Klaus Mohrs (SPD). Here, the AfD also threw its hat into the ring with Thomas Schlick.
MPs want to become district administrators
In Salzgitter, the CDU politician Frank Klingebiel, Vice President of the Lower Saxony City Council, wants to keep his post as Lord Mayor. The SPD and the Greens send a joint candidate into the race with Harald Rau, the FDP is hoping for a sensation from Andreas Böhmken. The third challenger is no stranger: Ulf Küch (Free Voters), former Braunschweig police chief and critic of German refugee policy.
In addition, the district administrators are elected in 21 districts. Among other things, the focus here is on five members of the state parliament who would prefer to lead district administrations in the future. The long-time CDU parliamentary director Jens Nacke will be in Ammerland, and ex-CDU general secretary Kai Seefried in Stade. His former SPD counterpart, Alexander Saipa, wants to become a district administrator in Goslar. The SPD MPs Bernd Lynack and Tobias Heilmann will run in Hildesheim and Gifhorn, respectively.
Around 71,000 candidates
In total, more than 71,000 candidates apply, according to the Lower Saxony state election committee. Most are posted by the 26 approved parties. Around 15,000 belong to the numerous groups of voters, around 450 enter the race as individual applicants. Should runoff elections be necessary, they will take place two weeks later together with the federal election.
From Marco Seng