Boris Palmer has been re-elected mayor of Tübingen. He prevailed against his competitors with an absolute majority of 52.4 percent of the votes, as the city announced on Sunday evening after all polling stations had been counted.
Palmer ran as an independent candidate rather than for the Greens because of trouble with his party. Hundreds of citizens gathered in front of City Hall to watch the count of the result - and to congratulate Palmer. But boos could also be heard.
After the victory on the Tübingen market square, Palmer first addressed his opponents: The election campaign was hard fought, but now it was important that the dispute was settled. It is the essence of democracy that everyone accepts the result of an election, whether they like it or not. He hopes that the people of Tübingen can now stand together and that everyone will do their best for the city.
"I admit that I would wish, when the election was over, that the result would not be greeted with boos. That is always an assessment of the other people who cast their votes," said Palmer of the German Press Agency after his win. "But that was maybe 5 out of 500. There are always some that you don't understand."
Palmer continues to campaign for the Greens
Around 69,000 Tübingen residents were eligible to vote. Voter turnout was unusually high at 62.6 percent. "We may have set a Baden-Württemberg record," said Palmer. He called the turnout sensational.
Palmer has been mayor for 16 years. He had declared in advance that he no longer wanted to compete in the second ballot if he was not ahead in the first round. The 50-year-old's membership of the Greens will be suspended until the end of 2023 due to arguments about breaking taboos and allegations of racism. He also went into his relationship with his party at the marketplace. On election day, he said, he was in contact with Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (both Greens). His intention and his offer is to campaign for his party, to join and to uphold the values that are important to him. Ecology is the unifying bond of the Greens, which he will emphasize more in the future.
After winning the election, Palmer also made it clear that he had no intention of changing his style. "Why would a mayor who is being elected for the third time with an absolute majority change his style?" he said. It's worth arguing in a democracy, said Palmer, and you shouldn't put everyone to sleep with asymmetric demobilization.
Palmer throws a local round
Tübingen agreed that they wanted to become climate-neutral by 2030, that they needed more affordable living space and that all children should have optimal childcare options, said Palmer to applause. He wants to advance the ecological transformation. Palmer also thanked his family, who were with him at City Hall. His wife did a lot. "When things like that are in the newspaper, it's not easy to let it all drain away when hatred and death threats are being spread." His 81-year-old mother was also in the marketplace.
At the end he went into the Ukraine war. Russia and Ukraine are currently debating who will throw the first "dirty nuclear bomb" next. "I'm very upset about this," Palmer said. "This is why democracy is so precious. Let us defend it against all enemies of democracy wherever they rise."
The election winner then invited to "Happy Hour" in a Tübingen bar at the town hall. Drinks are free for everyone for an hour.