Things can sometimes happen quickly in politics: At the end of October, Boris Palmer was still celebrating his third election victory as mayor on Tübingen's market square, conducted the marching band with a grand gesture - and it seemed only a matter of time before the Greens won their best-known mayor would rejoin the party. It has been clear since Monday evening: The story of Boris Palmer and the Greens is over - after a scandal over Palmer's statements about the Jewish Star and allegations of racism against him.
The 50-year-old, whose membership should actually only be suspended until the end of 2023, has left the party. His resignation was received, the resignation applies immediately, said a spokeswoman for the state association on Monday in Stuttgart. Palmer confirmed the exit to the German Press Agency.
The temporary end of the Palmer debate
The exit marks the temporary end of a heated debate surrounding Palmer. He caused a stir on Friday with a verbal argument with a group in front of a migration conference in Frankfurt am Main. In front of a building at the Goethe University, he had taken a stand on the way in which he used the "N-word".
When confronted with shouts of "Nazis out," Palmer told the crowd, "It's nothing but the Star of David. It's because I used a word that you guys frame everything else by. If you say the wrong word , you're a Nazi. Think about it." The so-called N-word describes a racist term for black people that was used in Germany in the past.
After his statements in Frankfurt, the mayor of Tübingen became very lonely within a few days, and even close companions distanced themselves from him. Palmer's lawyer, Rezzo Schlauch, who had represented him in the party exclusion proceedings against him, said: "Immediately after learning about the scandal for which Boris Palmer is responsible in Frankfurt, I terminated my personal and political loyalty and support as well as my legal representation. "
Close companions distance themselves
Hose, who used to be politically active for the Greens himself, explained further: "No provocation, no matter how harsh, no insults and insults, no matter how vile, of radical left-wing provocateurs justified establishing a historical parallel to the Jewish star as a symbol of the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany there is nothing left to explain, defend or excuse." Hose had also supported Palmer in the election campaign in Tübingen.
Other representatives of the Greens also clearly distanced themselves. The Green City Association of Tübingen condemned "the repeated use of the N-word and the unacceptable comparison with the Star of David" by Palmer. "We regret that many people were again injured by statements made by Boris Palmer." The federal manager of the Greens, Emily Büning, wrote on Twitter of a "new low point for Boris Palmer". She called his exit in the evening "logical".
Palmer himself released a personal statement on Monday announcing a hiatus. He wrote that he apologized to the people "whom I disappointed" and, looking at his words in Frankfurt, emphasized that as mayor he "never should have talked like that". "I'm incredibly sorry" that he gave the impression that he was relativizing the Holocaust.
Palmer wants "professional help" to complete
Palmer continued: "One thing is clear to me: This is not the way forward." "I can no longer put up with the recurring storms of outrage from my family, my friends and supporters, the employees in the city administration, the municipal council and the city society as a whole." He wants to take "professional help" during his time off in order to gain better self-control. "When I feel wrongly attacked and react spontaneously, I defend myself in a way that only makes things worse."
Palmer did not explain exactly what the break should look like. He wrote: "Unless I am confident in mastering new mechanisms of self-control that will protect me from recurrence, I will avoid all confrontations with apparent potential for escalation through abstinence."
The excitement about his statements in Frankfurt is not the first that Palmer had triggered with pointed statements. As early as May 2021, he had used the so-called N-word in a Facebook post about former national soccer player Dennis Aogo, who has a Nigerian father. This had triggered massive criticism from his Green party colleagues at the time. A party expulsion process ended a year ago with the compromise that Palmer would suspend his party membership until the end of 2023. In October 2022 he ran in Tübingen as an independent candidate and was re-elected for a third term in the first ballot with an absolute majority. He has been the mayor of the university town since 2007.
With pointed statements on refugee policy, he repeatedly caused controversy and was exposed to accusations of racism. His management during the corona pandemic and his municipal environmental policy also received nationwide attention and recognition.
Back to the election party on the Tübingen market square: the old and new mayor made it clear on the election night in October 2022 that the Greens would have to adjust to a loud and uncomfortable Boris Palmer after the re-election. He said to the journalists: "Why should a mayor, who is elected for the third time by a majority, change his style?"