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Elections: Counting of votes in local elections – AfD fails in Thuringia

Elections: Counting of votes in local elections – AfD fails in Thuringia

They are in the shadow of the European elections, but the local elections are about the concrete concerns of the local people: in eight federal states, citizens were called upon to vote on Sunday.

In the local elections in eight federal states, unlike the European elections, no clear trend had emerged by Sunday evening. According to interim results, the AfD was able to gain significantly in Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg, but lost in run-off elections in Thuringia. The counting for local parliaments is much more complicated due to the possibility of distributing multiple votes and can take several days.

The AfD came away empty-handed in the runoff elections for district administrator posts in Thuringia. In none of the nine districts in which AfD candidates reached the second round did they win. In the runoff election in the southern Thuringian district of Hildburghausen, right-wing extremist Tommy Frenck received 31.0 percent of the votes after 120 of the 127 voting districts had been counted, while the Free Voters candidate Sven Gregor received 69.0 percent. Frenck became known nationwide because he organized a series of large neo-Nazi concerts.

AfD on the rise

In the district and city council elections in Saxony-Anhalt, a neck-and-neck race between the CDU and AfD was emerging. After counting around half of the 2,597 electoral districts, the AfD was ahead of the CDU with around 29 percent of the votes nationwide, with 27.6 percent. The AfD in particular was able to gain a significant number of votes compared to the last local elections in 2019. The Left, SPD, FDP and Greens, on the other hand, lost significantly in some cases.

The AfD is also on the verge of winning the local elections in Brandenburg for the first time. After three quarters of the votes had been counted, the AfD received around 28 percent nationwide – that would be over 12 percentage points more than five years ago. The CDU improved slightly to around 19 percent after three quarters of the votes had been counted; it had been ahead in 2019.

The trend is similar in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: After counting 1,100 of the almost 2,000 local election districts, the AfD received 27 percent of the votes. This would mean that the party would double its share of the vote compared to the previous local election. With slight losses, the CDU reached around 24 percent at the halfway point of the vote count.

Greens lose in Baden-Württemberg

Erfurt’s long-serving SPD mayor Andreas Bausewein has to vacate his office in the town hall after 18 years. The 51-year-old lost the runoff election for the mayoral office of Thuringia’s state capital on Sunday against his CDU challenger Andreas Horn, who received 64.2 percent of the vote. Bausewein, who was already behind Horn in the first round of voting at the end of May, received 35.8 percent of the vote, according to data from the state election officer.

According to a SWR forecast, the Greens will have to expect losses in the three largest cities in the state in the local council elections in Baden-Württemberg. However, the losses in Stuttgart, Karlsruhe and Mannheim will not be as strong as in the European elections. According to the forecast, the CDU could become the strongest force in Stuttgart and Mannheim, and in Karlsruhe the Greens are likely to hold on to this position despite losses.

A total of around 22.5 million citizens in Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt were called upon to cast their vote for the future composition of local parliaments, district offices or town halls. In the city state of Hamburg, the mandates for the district assemblies were voted on. In Thuringia, around 1.3 million citizens were also able to cast their votes in the run-off elections.

Mood test for state elections

Like the European elections, the elections are seen as a mood test for the parties – especially in Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia, where state elections will take place in the autumn. However, representatives of citizens’ initiatives and other associations often run for local councils or in smaller towns, meaning that the established parties sometimes play only a subordinate role.

One of the questions that was being discussed was whether the AfD could convert its current poll ratings into concrete election victories. However, exact results are not expected for several days. Mayoral and district council elections are usually quicker.

The last election in the eight states was five years ago. In five of them, citizens could vote from the age of 16, otherwise from the age of 18. Baden-Württemberg was the only federal state where 16-year-olds could even vote themselves. EU citizens residing in the respective cities and municipalities are also entitled to vote in local elections. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous federal state, local elections are not scheduled until 2025. Voter turnout in local elections, as well as in European elections, is usually significantly lower than in federal elections.

Source: Stern

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