The big changes in politics often start in small units before moving through the republic. That is why the federal parties are now going to investigate exactly how the second elections for cities and districts in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most densely populated state, ended and what developments can be derived from it.
The most important note is: The winners of the second round in North Rhine-Westphalia are the Greens, who will supply mayors in the old capital of Bonn, in Wuppertal and, with about 70 percent, also in Armin Laschet’s hometown, Aachen. These successes and the rise to national values of 20 percent show: the eco party is no longer a small majority funder, but can credibly claim a place next to the CDU and SPD when it comes to power. For both ancient folk festivals this is a challenge to which they have not yet found an answer.
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Prime Minister Armin Laschet judged his CDU’s top spot two weeks ago (34.3 percent) as confirmation of his claim to the presidency of the CDU. While competitors Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen have not yet won an election, he was able to prove that he can also defend successes. The fact that the CDU has now conquered Düsseldorf from the SPD and thus once again provides the mayor in the capital of a large country, reinforces this message.
There are still Social Democrats showing their fists: Thomas Westphal SPD, winner of the Dortmund mayor’s second election Photo: imago images / Friedrich Stark
The situation of the SPD is the most difficult. She suffered brutal losses on both ballots – and yet it could have been worse for her. Two weeks ago, contrary to many expectations, she managed to keep second place (24.3 percent) behind the CDU and ahead of the Greens (20 percent). In the second, she was able to defend her ventricle of Dortmund, where she had been mayor continuously since 1946. There, the Greens called for the election of the CDU candidate, which many in the SPD saw almost as treason. She was spared this symbolically very effective loss. The fact that the Social Democrats were able to defend multiple major cities and also acquire the chairman of the board in several town halls of major municipalities should now reinforce the pragmatists against the left ideologues in the dispute over the direction of the NRW-SPD .
But even if some pressure has now been taken off the kettle: if the SPD does not resolve its power struggle quickly and strengthens its country head Sebastian Hartmann against his opponents around faction leader Thomas Kutschaty, the influence of the urgent Jusos and other dogmatists in the party neither should be rosy Destroy the odds of the state and federal elections completely. If Saskia Esken, one of the two federal presidents, continues to refuse to support Hartmann, she will make such a development more likely.
In its prime, the SPD has always succeeded in bringing different social and cultural environments together and thus not only become strong, but also contribute to the cohesion of society. In contrast, the Greens in the federal government have so far addressed a predominantly academically educated audience, often working in the public sector. The lesson for the Federal Greens from the NRW municipal elections is therefore: Open yourself to other environments! This victory is a task. Anyone who wants to be a people’s party and represents everyone must speak for everyone.