Bremen is traditionally governed by the Social Democrats. It stays that way for the time being. The Greens have to accept a setback, the FDP has to tremble.
The SPD won the election in the state of Bremen by a wide margin. According to forecasts by ARD and ZDF, the Social Democrats were well ahead of the CDU on Sunday evening. Your mayor Andreas Bovenschulte could continue his previous red-green-red coalition. However, he announced that he would not only talk about a possible alliance with the Greens and the Left, but also with the CDU. Bovenschulte spoke of a “terrific result” for his party, which has been the mayor for almost 80 years.
Bremen election: Bovenschulte also wants to speak to the CDU
According to the forecasts, the co-governing Greens ended up in third place, but with significant losses. They were followed by the third coalition partner, the Left Party, and the right-wing populist voters’ association Bürger in Wut (BiW), which rose sharply. The return of the FDP to the state parliament, the Bremen Parliament, was on the brink. The AfD was not allowed to vote because it had submitted two competing lists.
Since 2019, Bovenschulte has led a coalition of SPD, Greens and Left Party that is unique in West Germany. The opposition CDU won the 2019 election in the state of Bremen for the first time, but was unable to form a government.
According to the forecasts, the Social Democrats were 29.5 to 30 percent ahead – they were able to significantly improve their historically poor result from 2019 (24.9 percent). The CDU with top candidate Frank Imhoff was 24.5 to 25.5 percent (2019: 26.7). The Greens slipped significantly to 12 to 12.5 percent (17.4). At 10.5 to 11 percent, the left achieved roughly the same result as in 2019 (11.3). Citizens in anger rose sharply to 10.5 percent (2.4). With 5 to 5.5 percent, the FDP only just cleared the five percent hurdle (5.9). Voter turnout was given as 57 percent by both broadcasters – less than 2019 with 64.1 percent.
According to the forecasts, the SPD will receive 27 to 28 seats in the parliament. The CDU has 23 to 24 seats, the Greens 11 to 12. The Left Party gets 9 to 10 seats, the FDP 5 and the BiW 10.
Bitter result for the Greens
SPD leader Lars Klingbeil said the victory would give “tailwind for us here in Berlin, too.” Regarding the coalition question, he said: “They don’t need any advice from the federal level.” Greens top candidate Maike Schaefer spoke of a bitter result that will have consequences. However, the government coalition wants to continue. Greens leader Omid Nouripour admitted that there was “certainly no tailwind” from the Greens in the federal government. It is a “day of humility”. CDU top candidate Frank Imhoff said his party was ready for exploratory talks with the SPD. The left top candidate and Senator for Economic Affairs Kristina Vogt hopes for quick exploratory talks, as she said.
The right-wing populist BiW benefited from the fact that the AfD was not allowed. For the first time, they are moving into parliament with faction strength. The AfD got 6.1 percent of the votes in the 2019 election. The BiW locate themselves between the CDU and AfD. Lead candidate Jan Timke said his association was a “collecting basin for the dissatisfied”.
A provisional official final result is not expected until the middle of the week – the counting is lengthy due to the complicated Bremen electoral system. When voting, voters can tick up to five boxes. Later in the evening, the state returning authority only publishes an official extrapolation, which experience has shown is already close to the final result.
In the smallest German federal state, the two-city state of Bremen and the smaller Bremerhaven, around 463,000 people were called to vote. The once rich Hanseatic city of Bremen, with its tradition of seafarers and merchants, has endured severe structural change and is now heavily indebted. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the proportion of recipients of citizen income, formerly known as Hartz IV, is the highest in a comparison of the federal states at 17.1 percent, and Bremen is also in last place in the ranking of the best education systems according to the INSM Education Monitor 2022.
FDP looked spellbound to Bremen
According to the Bremen social department, the state has the highest proportion of people with a migration background among those entitled to vote at 17.8 percent – the national average is 11.5 percent. But the country is also a strong business location – with its ports, the world’s second largest Mercedes plant and aerospace companies.
SPD top candidate Bovenschulte has been mayor and president of the Senate for four years. The 57-year-old, who has a doctorate in law, was previously mayor of the neighboring municipality of Weyhe in Lower Saxony, but from 2010 to 2013 he was also chairman of the SPD in Bremen. The rock music fan, who is almost two meters tall and known as “Bovi”, is considered a party leftist. CDU leader Imhoff is a trained farmer and landscaper and is the fifth generation to run a farm in the Strom district. The 54-year-old has been a citizen since 1999.
In federal politics, the FDP in particular had looked spellbound to Bremen, because they had to cope with a real series of defeats in the federal states since the 2021 federal elections. This has greatly stimulated the mood in the Berlin traffic light coalition.
The quarrels about personnel policy and the heating law from Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) now felt his party in Bremen. For the left, the Bremen election is a welcome change from the ongoing crisis in the federal party.
Traditionally, Bremen is not a home game for the CDU – the federal government is therefore more concerned with the upcoming elections in Bavaria and Hesse in the autumn. Then almost a quarter of those eligible to vote in Germany will be called to vote.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.