Who will be the head of the city and the district administrator – and with which majorities in the local parliaments? 14 million citizens determine it in the local elections in NRW.
On Sunday, about 14 million citizens will vote in the municipal elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, which will have to make the decisions in their hometown over the next five years. The polling stations have been open since 8 a.m.
Mayors, Lord Mayors (OB), district administrators, as well as city and local councils, district councils, and district representatives in independent cities are elected. Integration councils are also elected. For the first time in the Ruhr area, more than four million eligible voters from the Ruhr area will be given the opportunity to send delegates directly to the so-called Ruhr Parliament.
Surveys: It should be exciting in many cities
The local elections in the most populous state are the last major elections in Germany this year. According to representative voter polls, it should be exciting in many cities. The battle for the capital is particularly symbolic: in Düsseldorf, the CDU could retake the position of mayor. In Aachen, the Greens were able to hold such an office in North Rhine-Westphalia for the first time.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round of the top spot, a second election will take place between the two first-placed candidates on September 27. A simple majority is then sufficient for victory. Anyone living in North Rhine-Westphalia has German citizenship or that of another EU country can vote. The minimum age is 16 years.
Numerous protective conditions thanks to Corona
Due to the corona pandemic, numerous protective measures must be observed this year: In all polling stations, mask requirements and a minimum distance of 1.5 meters apply. Voters must bring their own pen.
Many citizens voted by letter this year for fear of a corona infection. A number of cities and towns reported a significant increase in the number of registrations compared to the local elections of 2014. At the time, the share of postal voters was 26.5 percent, the official said.
SPD is in danger of slipping
Since 1999, the CDU has regularly obtained the most national votes in local elections in NRW. In the previous municipal elections in 2014, she was the winner with 37.5 percent, followed by the SPD (31.4), the Greens (11.7) and the FDP and Left (4.7 percent each). With 2.5 percent of the votes, the AfD played almost no role.
In 2014, according to the Ministry of the Interior of North Rhine-Westphalia, about 19,350 mandates were awarded – about 14,300 to men and 5,000 to women. There is no threshold clause like the five percent threshold in state elections. NRW has 23 independent cities, 373 cities and municipalities and 31 districts.