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Run-off election brings change : Katja Dörner is the new mayor of Bonn

Run-off election brings change : Katja Dörner is the new mayor of Bonn

Clear victory for Green candidate Katja Dörner in the run-off elections against CDU incumbent Ashok Sridharan. She won 56.3 percent of the votes.

Katja Dörner, Green member of the Bundestag and deputy leader of the parliamentary group in Berlin has won the run-off election for the Lord Mayor's office in Bonn against incumbent Ashok Sridharan (CDU). It was a clear victory, with Dörner winning 56.3 percent against 43.7 percent of the votes. In the end, 67,880 to 52,762 valid votes were cast for the new mayor of Bonn.

Dörner won the election in three of Bonn's four city districts: In Bonn she received 59.8 percent of the votes, in Beuel 56 percent and in Bad Godesberg 53.5 percent. Sridharan was only able to win the district of Hardtberg with 54.8 percent. Voter turnout was 48.7 percent (2015: 45.1 percent). In an initial statement, Dörner expressed her great satisfaction with the trust placed in her by the voters: "But I face this task with great respect and I want to tackle the issues in the city straight away.”

A fortnight ago, Sridharan scored 34.5 percent and Dörner 27.6 percent in the first round of the mayoral elections, which took place alongside the elections for the city and district councils. As the incumbent mayor did not achieve an absolute majority at that time, a second round, or run-off vote (Stichwahl) was held between the strongest two candidates - as in many other German cities and districts.

Dörner’s election makes a left-wing alliance in the city council more likely. In the city council election, the Greens gained significantly compared to the 2014 result. With 27.9 percent, they will form the strongest faction in the new city council, which will be constituted at the beginning of November. Together with the SPD and the Left Party, they would receive 34 of 66 votes, a wafer-thin majority of one vote. Dörner's vote as Lord Mayor counts in addition. Such a coalition could therefore achieve a majority of two votes.

Dörner had indeed announced that she wanted to conduct open coalition talks. However, when presenting her election programme, she had also stressed that her goals could be more easily achieved with the SPD and the Left Party. The 44-year-old member of the Bundestag, who first entered the Berlin parliament eleven years ago via the North Rhine-Westphalian state list, had chosen the slogan "Bonn needs a change" (Bonn braucht den Wechsel) to promote herself as mayor in the two weeks before the run-off election. She named her key issues as changing the city’s transport policies, housing with equal opportunities and the fight against child poverty. The CDU came second in the city council elections with 25.7 percent, burying hopes that Sridharan could at least remain as Lord Mayor.

(Original text: Philipp Königs, Translation: Caroline Kusch)