Gut is six weeks after the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wust (CDU) was again elected Prime Minister of the most populous federal state. The 46-year-old lawyer is the first head of government in a black-green alliance in North Rhine-Westphalia. 106 of the 181 MPs present voted for Wüst. Unlike the previous black-yellow alliance, which has governed with a unanimous majority since 2017, black-green has a comfortable majority of seats. Of the 115 MPs from the CDU and Greens, five were excused on Tuesday due to illness. Thus, Wüst received four fewer votes from the black-green ranks than possible.
Wüst was at the end of October as the successor to the candidate for Union Chancellor, Armin Laschet (CDU) was elected the twelfth prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia. In Laschet’s state cabinet, Wüst had previously been Minister of Transport. In the state elections on May 15, the CDU, under Wüst’s leadership, emerged as the clear winner with 35.7 percent of the votes; the SPD – which had long been tied in polls – had fallen to a new historic low of 26.7 percent. Compared to 2017, the Greens were able to almost triple, who came to 18.2 percent, their best value by far. The FDP had halved its result to 5.9 percent. Because of this debacle, the Free Democrats had rejected the initiative by SPD state leader Thomas Kuschaty to form a traffic light coalition in Düsseldorf based on the Berlin model.
The CDU and the Greens came together more quickly than expected even in their own ranks. The delegations of the two parties, which had previously been in opposing political camps, negotiated their 146-page coalition agreement in just three weeks. At the weekend, party conferences of the CDU and Greens approved the paper, in which the most important task for the coming years was the conversion North Rhine-Westphalia “to become the first climate-neutral industrial nation in Europe”.
The black-green cabinet is to be presented and sworn in on Wednesday. While the Greens had already announced at the end of last week who would head their four ministries, Wüst did not want to comment in advance on the selection of personnel by the CDU, which according to the coalition agreement is entitled to eight departments. Compared to the black-yellow alliance, however, there will be significant changes on the CDU side because Finance Minister Lutz Lienenkämper announced that he would no longer aim for a prominent political position in the new legislative period and because the Ministry of Transport, which has been headed by Ina Brandes (CDU) since the end of October has now gone to the Greens. A change is also pending at the head of the CDU parliamentary group. Your previous chairman Bodo Löttgen, who also played a key role in the black-green coalition negotiations, announced his resignation a few days ago.