Ahen it becomes clear that she will be acting head of Frankfurt by next spring, Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg first wants to shake hands with all the assembled politicians and journalists – even if Frankfurt is the fifth largest city in Germany, the Römer, the town hall, is the place to be but more familiar. But that evening the rush is so great that she soon has to stop. The interest in the deselection of Mayor Peter Feldmann was simply too great. He is on trial on charges of accepting benefits in office. In the city, he is also accused of embarrassing performances in which he played in the foreground.
When on Sunday evening it was foreseeable that the referendum on Feldmann’s deselection would succeed, the 57-year-old Eskandari-Grünberg said that she wanted to represent the city in the coming months. In September last year, the Green Party, which has been in local politics for 20 years, was elected mayor of the city – and since the allegations against Feldmann she has represented him very regularly. She now said her task was to restore the trust of the citizens – and by that she probably meant trust in the highest office in the city.
Demonstrated against the mullahs’ government at the age of 15
A psychotherapist at the head of the city, that should be a good fit after the turbulent months. After fleeing Iran, where Eskandari-Grünberg demonstrated against the Mullah regime at the age of 15 and was imprisoned in the notorious Evin prison, she began studying psychology in Germany in the 1980s, earned her doctorate, became a therapist and set up her own practice . Her daughter is the actress Maryam Zaree, her husband the psychotherapist Kurt Grünberg.
From 2008 to 2016, Eskandari-Grünberg was head of the Frankfurt integration department. She was appreciated by aid organizations and migrant communities. “I know what people are talking about,” she said when she said goodbye in 2016. In 2021, as mayor, she again took over the office of head of department for diversity, anti-discrimination and social cohesion.
The Greens will play an important role in Feldmann’s successor. They emerged from the local elections last year as the strongest faction with almost 25 percent. Whether Eskandari-Grünberg will be her candidate in the spring elections has not yet been decided. She had finished third in 2018 and, at 9.3 percent, had done worse than previous mayor candidates in her party. She herself did not want to rule out that she will compete again.