EFor the first time in the history of Rostock, a woman has been elected mayor: 40-year-old left-wing politician Eva-Maria Kröger prevailed in the run-off against her competitor – the non-party Michael Ebert (52), supported by the CDU and FDP. According to the preliminary result, Kröger was unassailable on Sunday evening with 58.4 percent of the votes. Ebert came up with 41.6 percent. Voter turnout was 36.9 percent.
Kröger is a member of the state parliament and has been leader of the Left Party parliamentary group in Rostock for many years. She was very grateful for the election result, she said in the evening at City Hall. “It’s a very happy moment right now.” At the same time, she emphasized that every Democrat is always disappointed when voter turnout is low.
Kröger and senior police officer Ebert came out on top in the first round on November 13 from a field of 17 candidates and thus made it into the runoff. SPD and Greens had asked their voters to vote for Kröger.
The election was necessary because the previous incumbent, Claus Ruhe Madsen, moved to Schleswig-Holstein as Economics Minister in June in the cabinet of Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU). The office of Lord Mayor is awarded for a period of seven years. With almost 210,000 inhabitants, Rostock is the largest city in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.
A choice that mattered a lot
In contrast, the incumbent was able to prevail in the mayoral elections in Heidelberg on Sunday evening. Eckart Würzner is entering his third term as mayor of the city. Challenger Theresia Bauer (Greens), who had given up the post of Minister of Science in Baden-Württemberg for her candidacy, lost in the second ballot with 42.42 to 54.03 percent of the votes. “I’m really overwhelmed,” said the non-party Würzner, who had supported the CDU and FDP. “I didn’t expect such a clear result.”
For Bauer, who was named Science Minister of the Year four times by the German University Association, a lot depended on the election: the 57-year-old had resigned from her position at the end of September to become mayor. There is no return ticket, she emphasized at the time. She intends to retain her seat in the state parliament until the end of the legislative period, i.e. until 2026 as planned.
That’s not a little, she said after the defeat. Since Heidelberg is her constituency, local and state politics are very closely linked and there are a lot of construction sites. She feels responsible for the university town. “I won’t lack work, nor will I be lacking in motivation,” said Bauer. “I don’t feel as if I have a need for early retirement.” Around 107,000 eligible voters in the university town were invited to vote. Voter turnout was 44.16 percent.
In the first ballot three weeks ago, none of the then nine candidates had received an absolute majority of more than 50 percent of the votes. So it was chosen again.
On November 6, Würzner was about 17 percentage points ahead of Bauer. Sören Michelsburg from the SPD, who came third with 13.54 percent, withdrew his candidacy and did not recommend any of the candidates.