In the mayoral election in Cottbus, the SPD is ahead of the AfD, a runoff election should now decide. The CDU wants to support the Social Democrats.
COTTBUS dpa | After the first ballot for the mayoral election in cottbus the SPD in Brandenburg hopes that candidate Tobias Schick will also be successful in the run-off election on October 9th.
“From my point of view, it is clear that the democrats must now stand together,” said Secretary General David Kolesnyk of the German Press Agency. Schick is “with a clear lead”. AfD candidate Lars Schieske.
In the mayor election in Brandenburg’s second largest city on Sunday, Schick got 31.8 percent of the votes, Schieske received 26.4 percent. Both are now in the runoff. None of the seven candidates had achieved an absolute majority on Sunday. CDU candidate Thomas Bergner, who got 24.7 percent, announced on Sunday that he wanted to support the SPD candidate.
The SPD candidate relies on community in the city. “Of course I also know what it means that the AfD was included in the runoff,” said Schick. “That’s why it’s really about getting across: How can we shape the future together in Cottbus?” The city is in the midst of structural change. According to information from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, it is considered in Brandenburg focus of right-wing extremism.
AfD sees “great success”
AfD candidate Schieske was satisfied with the first ballot. “We are in the runoff, that’s a great success,” said the professional firefighter of the dpa. “We have shown that we can bring people to the ballot box.” AfD state chairwoman Birgit Bessin congratulated him. “This is now going into the runoff,” she wrote on Facebook.
The election was also followed nationally with suspense: The AfD has not yet provided a mayor in Germany. In the local and state elections in 2019, the AfD became the strongest force. In the 2021 federal election, the mandate went to the SPD, with the AfD behind it. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution classified the AfD Brandenburg in 2020 as suspected right-wing extremist a. Schieske has taken part in events organized by the association “Zukunft Heimat”, which the Brandenburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies as right-wing extremist.
CDU incumbent Holger Kelch did not appear for health reasons. Brandenburg’s CDU General Secretary Gordon Hoffmann was disappointed that the city would not remain in the hands of the CDU. “Of course it hurts that we’re not in the runoff,” he said.
Around 79,000 Cottbus residents were called upon to elect a new city leader for the next eight years. Also in the running were Sven Benken (Unser Cottbus), Lysann Kobbe (Die Basis), Felix Sicker (FDP) and Johann Staudinger (individual applicant).
Social scientist calls for a democratic alliance
Social scientist Heike Radvan said it was “very welcome” that a candidate from the democratic parties was ahead. “There is a great opportunity for the city because this candidate stands for participation, for a cosmopolitan city, for social justice, ultimately also for the science location and in this sense the funds for the structural change towards innovation and internationality would be used “Said the lecturer at the Brandenburg Technical University of Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) of the German Press Agency. On the other hand, democratically oriented people stay in the city. Now all democratic forces would have to be bundled for the runoff election.