Out of disappointment with their party's handling of the Hubert Aiwanger leaflet affair, the only two SPD city councilors in Aiwanger's hometown of Rottenburg an der Laaber have resigned from the Social Democratic Party. City councilor Peter Bauer wants to join the Free Voters, the previous SPD parliamentary group leader Angelika Wimmer has not yet decided.
At the request of the German Press Agency on Wednesday evening, both cited dissatisfaction with certain points with the SPD's policies as reasons. The deciding factor, however, was the SPD's handling of Aiwanger in the leaflet affair. Several media outlets reported about it. Both want to keep their city council mandate.
“I had to take this step to make a statement,” said Wimmer about her departure. Among other things, she criticized early calls from the SPD to the Bavarian Economics Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Aiwanger to resign because of the affair. "I don't run a campaign by badmouthing other people." That is not the style of politics that she represents.
Her parliamentary group colleague Peter Bauer also confirmed his departure to the dpa. Bauer wants to join the Free Voters. At the beginning of October, after his vacation, he will present the membership application to the board. Wimmer, however, said she had not yet decided. She is initially non-partisan. "I'll leave it open as to whether I'll join a group. I'm close to the Free Voters, but I haven't signed anything."
The first mayor of the city of Rottenburg, Alfred Holzner (Free Voters), told the dpa: "I have clearly felt the frustration of both of them in the last few weeks. So it didn't come as a surprise to me when both of them told me that they were leaving Leave the SPD."
For the work in the city council, this means that the number of mandates from the Free Voters will increase to eight or nine, said Holzner. However, this means that the Free Voters faction does not achieve an absolute majority in the body with 20 councilors. In local politics there are usually no close voting results, so the new constellation is not that relevant in practice. The administration is currently checking whether the two of them could keep their current seats on the committees. If both join the Free Voters faction, they could probably keep their committee seats.