“Municipal Super Election Sunday”: The data before the elections in Thuringia

“Municipal Super Election Sunday”
The data before the elections in Thuringia

Big election day in central Germany: In the Free State of Thuringia, numerous key positions at the local level will be filled this Sunday. Polls indicate major shifts. The most important figures and maps on the initial situation at a glance.

Two weeks before the European elections, all eyes are on Thuringia: In the state with its 2.1 million inhabitants, political decisions will be made in cities, municipalities and districts on Sunday, May 26. A total of 18,986 candidates are running in the city council, municipal council and district council elections for a total of 7,464 seats to be filled, as the Thuringian State Office for Statistics announced in advance.

In Erfurt, Gera, Jena, Suhl, Eisenach and Weimar, the position of mayor is also at stake. Observers speak of a “municipal super election Sunday“, which this time is also likely to attract a lot of attention from federal politics: recent polls have indicated possible vote losses for the AfD.

Review: The current political landscape in Thuringia

ThuringiaDistrict and city council elections

It will also be interesting to see how the Left, SPD, Greens, CDU and FDP perform in Thuringia. For example, Katja Wolf is running for the Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW) alliance in Thuringia. The incumbent mayor of Eisenach switched from the Left to the BSW.

The local elections come at a special time: state elections are taking place in Thuringia in the autumn. The vote at the end of May will provide an important first test of the mood for the new appointments to the Erfurt state parliament, which will take place in just three months. The parties are fighting for the best possible starting position for the European elections on June 9th and the Thuringian state elections on September 1st.

Overview: The current office holders by party

The election campaign is taking place in Thuringia: Away from the metropolitan areas, a total of 89 Thuringian towns and municipalities are voting for the position of mayor, including 64 full-time positions.

The members of the district councils are also elected, as are the city, district and municipal councils in most cities, districts and municipalities. In 13 of 17 districts and independent cities, the district administrators and mayors are also standing for election.

Two district council elections in Thuringia recently even caused a stir nationwide: In the Saale-Orla district, the CDU candidate Christian Herrgott narrowly beat the AfD candidate in the runoff election in January 2024, after the AfD politician Robert Sesselmann won the first district council post for the party nationwide in the Sonneberg district in June last year. The AfD has not yet been able to win one of the 603 mayoral posts in Thuringia. The best result was reaching the runoff election, which, however, only succeeded twice: in Gera and Nordhausen.

In the previous local elections, the CDU had emerged as the strongest force in Thuringia. The Christian Democrats received 37.9 percent in the district council and mayoral elections in 2018 and were also the strongest party in the mayoral elections in the district’s towns and municipalities. The Left, SPD and Greens, which govern in Thuringia and currently have to make do without a parliamentary majority, suffered heavy losses at the time. In the state elections in October 2019, however, the Left became by far the strongest force in Thuringia.

Review: Majority relationships in the municipalities

If there are no required majorities in the first round of the mayoral elections, run-off elections would be held two weeks later – which would then have to take place at the same time as the European elections on June 9.

According to state law, all Thuringians aged 16 and over are entitled to vote in the local elections, provided they have German citizenship or the citizenship of an EU state and have lived as their main residence in one of the state’s 605 cities and municipalities for at least three months.

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