Elections: Before the mayor's election: candidates face questions from the people of Cottbus

Before the election of a new mayor in Cottbus this Sunday (September 11), the candidates for the city leadership answered questions from the citizens.

Elections: Before the mayor's election: candidates face questions from the people of Cottbus

Before the election of a new mayor in Cottbus this Sunday (September 11), the candidates for the city leadership answered questions from the citizens. An estimated 180 people discussed, among other things, structural change, crisis management and right-wing extremism in the old town hall in the city center on Wednesday evening.

First of all, the event was about cleanliness in Cottbus. Residents called on the candidates to do more against a "dirty city" and also criticized the work of the public order office. There is too much weed and dog excrement, said a participant in the election forum, which was moderated by journalists from the "Lausitzer Rundschau". In addition, the city must become more attractive - also for families, demanded the citizens.

On September 11, the population is called upon to elect a new mayor for the next eight years. There are one and six candidates in the running: Lysann Kobbe (Die Basis), Johann Staudinger (single applicant), Thomas Bergner (CDU), Tobias Schick (SPD), Lars Schieske (AfD), Felix Sicker (FDP) and Sven Benken (Unser Cottbus). Incumbent Holger Kelch (CDU) will not stand again in the election for health reasons.

One of the topics was the structural change in the city and region that was initiated with the decision to phase out coal. The non-party candidate Johann Staudinger, for example, spoke out in favor of promoting projects such as the railway works or university medicine. He also wants to involve medium-sized companies more in structural development. The only female candidate, Lysann Kobbe (Die Basis), was skeptical that university medicine could be successfully established in the city. There was a lack of skilled workers and staff. The candidate for the FDP, Felix Sicker, referred to the training of doctors and medical professionals with exactly this project. SPD candidate Tobias Schick recalled the 1.4 billion euros that the federal government was giving to Cottbus in structural funds. This offer should be taken advantage of, he said. Lars Schieske (AfD) wants to create living space for families if he is elected - including on former demolition sites.

Cottbus needs a different image for the influx of skilled workers, stressed SPD candidate Schick. According to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the city is considered a focus of right-wing extremism in Brandenburg. Schick called for the problem not only to be clearly stated, but also to show courage with society as a whole and to discuss it. As expected, Schieske from the AfD did not see the problem of right-wing extremists in the city. "We have other problems than right-wing extremism," said the candidate.

The CDU candidate and current head of the regulatory office Bergner referred to a strategy paper against right-wing extremism by the city and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which shows various fields of action and does not just rely on dialogue and debate with the outside world. Employees in administrations should also be trained and made aware of the topic.

The Brandenburg AfD, which according to the Ministry of the Interior has become more radical since it was classified as a suspected right-wing extremist two years ago, finds support from right-wing extremists such as the micro-party The Third Way. According to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, they are also trying to become active and expand in Cottbus. The right-wing extremist association Zukunft Heimat is also active in Cottbus.

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