Elections in hamburg: spd triumphs

The SPD becomes the strongest party. It defies the federal trend and, with Peter Tschentscher, will continue to provide the mayor.

SPD top candidate Peter Tschentscher cheers after the first forecast Photo: Axel Heimken/dpa

At 6 p.m. sharp, frenetic cheers erupt in the SPD headquarters at Kurt Schumacher House. The SPD is at around 38 percent, more than 12 percentage points ahead of the Greens. Peter Tschentscher will thus become governing mayor once again. "That was a great final spurt," said a delighted SPD faction leader Dirk Kienscherf.

For weeks it looked as if the Greens could still catch the SPD and lay claim to the mayoralty. Now he is not only first mayor, but elected mayor.

The fact that the party has lost about 8 percentage points compared to the last mayoral election hardly matters. To cross the finish line with such a result in the only scheduled state election of the year, to once again lead the affairs of state, that could be an important signal: Look, the SPD nosedive has stopped, we can still win!

For Tschentscher, it was a race against time. It took a long time before all Hamburgers knew his face and could pronounce his name. It took them a long time to get used to his reserved manner. Until he was so well coached that he could also show his edges. In the end, he was well-known and even popular with many Hamburgers. More popular than Katharina Fegebank, the big competitor.

Coalition partner of choice remains the Greens

Even though the Red and Green parties have moved somewhat closer together in the voters’ favor, the SPD can go into the upcoming exploratory talks with confidence. Should the Green partner of choice act too boldly, Hamburg’s CDU, which would so love to govern again, is at the ready.

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There will be talks with all democratic parties," Kienscherf announces, but at the same time sets the course for a continuation of the current coalition: "There is a great deal of agreement between Red and Green, and this coalition is wanted by the citizens" – the signal is clear. Red-Green had done successful work.

Mayor Tschentscher also spoke out in favor of a continuation of the Red-Green coalition. "We have always said that red-green is the obvious option – that is also true now. The first thing we will do is also talk to the Greens, take soundings," he said. Red-Green has done successful work, he said. In fact, both parties together will probably have a two-thirds majority in Hamburg’s parliament, which would even allow them to change the city’s constitution.

The SPD and the Greens are aware that they succeeded in doing something special on this election night. The fact that an existing coalition is still winning votes and that both partners are benefiting from the coalition, while the opposition is losing further votes, is without precedent. And to even be able to choose a partner in the coming days and then govern as a pair is a damn comfortable position in times when there are almost only three-party coalitions and difficult majority formations.

With this result, his result, Peter Tschentscher steps out of the shadow of the great Olaf Scholz, who was called "King Olaf" in Hamburg. The fact that Thuringia played heavily into his hands doesn’t matter to Hamburg’s Social Democrats on this election night.

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