Election campaign ends: Bremen was about Bremen


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Status: 05/12/2023 2:47 p.m

During the election campaign, Bremen concentrated entirely on itself. Regional political issues dominated, above all it was about education, transport and security. Here the red-green-red Senate offered a target.

It was a tight and at the same time unspectacular election campaign that is coming to an end in Bremen these days. The SPD around Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte and the CDU with top candidate Frank Imhoff are close to each other shortly before the election. According to the latest representative survey by Infratest dimap from last week, the SPD currently has 30 percent of the votes, the CDU 27 percent.

For the Social Democrats, this would be a decent gain compared to the 2019 election. At that time they slipped to a historically poor 24.9 percent. For the first time, Bremen voted the CDU as the strongest political force (26.7 percent).

“We have shown that we can be a big city party,” says CDU top candidate Frank Imhoff, referring not only to the Bremen election four years ago, but also to the vote in February in Berlin. In the capital the CDU is again the governing mayor after 22 years. Imhoff and the CDU would like to do that for the first time in Bremen.

education policy plays important role

While federal politics shaped the debates in the state elections in neighboring Lower Saxony last October due to the energy crisis, the Bremen election campaign focused on state political issues.

The red-green-red Senate offers a target for attack because the coalition has not implemented many things from the oppositopn’s point of view. There is a lack of daycare places and the more attractive design of Bremen’s city center has not materialized. The planned construction of bicycle bridges over the Weser has been significantly delayed. Projects that were not realized due to the corona pandemic and the consequences of the Russian war against Ukraine.

The SPD’s sore point has always been education policy, which is causing frustration in the country. She has been in charge of the education department for 78 years. Bremen schoolchildren regularly take the last places in comparative studies. Almost half of the third graders have deficits in reading and arithmetic. Companies complain about badly qualified applicants for apprenticeships.

This is where the CDU set one of its priorities in the election campaign. Among other things, she calls for the reintroduction of sitting and school grades from the third grade. If there are language problems, there should be a compulsory pre-school year. She wants to make more study and traineeship places available for prospective teachers in order to alleviate the shortage of teachers.

Mayor Bovenschulte is on the defensive when it comes to education. He points to investments that should ensure improvements in the future. It is assumed that the SPD would like to get rid of the department after the election.

CDU relies on security

The balance of the red-green-red coalition is also bad when it comes to internal security. As recently in Berlin, the Bremen CDU is also focusing on this. The unprocessed cases are piling up for the police. The situation at the main train station as a hotspot for crime and the consumption of alcohol and drugs has deteriorated again, although SPD Interior Senator Ulrich Mäurer has significantly increased the police presence there.

Wiebke Winter describes the situation as “barely bearable for many people”. The 27-year-old is the CDU’s second top candidate alongside Imhoff. Women in particular, she emphasizes, would not feel safe at the main station. Mayoral candidate Imhoff wants to enforce, among other things, a no-alcohol and drug-free zone.

In the past few months, however, he has too seldom succeeded in presenting the SPD in terms of content and thereby gaining a profile himself. As President of the Bremen Parliament, Imhoff is an experienced but cautious candidate. His predecessor Carsten Meyer-Heder was more aggressive four years ago – and ultimately won the election. However, it was not enough for the CDU to govern, so only the opposition remained.

Bovenschulte popular

Social Democrat Bovenschulte is considered an approachable and binding mayor. He led the two-city state consisting of Bremen and Bremerhaven through the crises of the past few years with Hanseatic composure. When it comes to candidates, the 57-year-old is ahead. Direct dialing between the two would be loud Infratest dimap 59 percent of the people of Bremen vote for him. Only 23 percent prefer the CDU challenger.

However, Imhoff is still well ahead of Maike Schaefer, Senator for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility, and Urban Development and Housing. Only five percent of Bremen residents would vote for the Green top candidate in a direct election. In any case, behind the Greens is a botched election campaign. Even the start went wrong when they briefly debated ending passenger flights at Bremen Airport last November.

These are the top candidates of the smaller parties in Bremen.

Abolition of the “roll button”

Schaefer’s controversial attempts to turn around traffic in the city center have caused frustration in Bremen. Most recently, she also got rid of the “Brötchentaste”, a model for free short-term parking. There is also no tailwind from the federal party, the controversial heating plans of Economics Minister Robert Habeck are also a burden on the Bremen election campaigners. In the Bremen Trend the Greens were only 13 percent. Four years ago they got 17.4 percent of the vote.

It is considered certain that the left will make it through again. Your two senators Kristina Vogt (Economy, Labor and Europe) and Claudia Bernhard (Health, Women and Consumer Protection) have scored points over the past four years with their pragmatic work.

The FDP is also hoping for a return to the citizenship. At the beginning of March, the party was still at four percent, but top candidate Thore Schäck was apparently able to make up ground, most recently the FDP was at six percent in polls. Among other things, she calls for the abolition of the training fund decided in March. In terms of transport policy, the FDP is against the nationwide introduction of a 30 km/h speed limit and in favor of free 90-minute parking in the inner-city car parks.

AfD is not available for election

The AfD cannot take part in the election and will therefore no longer belong to the new citizenship. The national association is divided and consists of an emergency board and a rump board, which have submitted competing lists to the election committee. According to the Bremen electoral law, only one is allowed, so the AfD was not allowed to participate in the election. The party failed with urgent applications in court. After the election, the AfD wants to challenge the final result.

Citizens in anger (BIW), who describe themselves as “lawyers for motorists”, should benefit from their end on Sunday. When it comes to internal security, the voters’ association is demanding that young offenders be housed in closed homes. Polls see citizens in anger at nine percent. Four years ago they had received only 2.4 percent of the vote.

BIW candidate Heiko Werner made headlines two days before the election. He is said to have contacts in the right-wing extremist milieu. According to BIW boss Jan Timke, Werner admitted the allegations and left the voters’ association when asked.

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