German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union lost control of city hall in Porsche AG’s home town of Stuttgart for the first time in 38 years as a Green candidate won the mayoral race.
Fritz Kuhn, 57, a former national lawmaker and chairman of the Greens, won 52.9 percent of the vote in yesterday’s election, defeating CDU-backed opponent Sebastian Turner, who received 45.3 percent, according to results on the city website.
The defeat extends losses for Merkel in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, a one-time CDU stronghold that boasts Germany’s second-lowest jobless rate, less than 12 months before federal elections. The CDU’s 58-year rule in the state was ended in March last year, when Winfried Kretschmann became the country’s first Green state premier after winning elections held in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
“Nobody can say nowadays that green is bad for the state or bad for business,” Kuhn said on ARD television late yesterday. “You can even make a profit with green ideas.”
Kuhn ran on a platform of “thrifty” city finances and “ecological modernization,” such as promoting so-called green technology at auto companies such as Daimler AG and Robert Bosch GmbH, both based in the Stuttgart area.
In opposition at the national level, the Greens have declined from a high of 28 percent in the weekly Forsa poll in April 2011, when the Fukushima disaster buoyed voter support, to 11 percent in the latest poll published Oct. 17.
The mayor’s post became vacant when 16-year CDU incumbent Wolfgang Schuster declined to run again. The post was previously held since 1974 by Manfred Rommel, the son of World War II Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the Africa Corps commander known as the Desert Fox.