Hesse: voting procedure against Frankfurt's mayor started

The city councilors want to get rid of Peter Feldmann as quickly as possible, including his own party.

Hesse: voting procedure against Frankfurt's mayor started

The city councilors want to get rid of Peter Feldmann as quickly as possible, including his own party. He appears unapologetic. Now the citizens have the last word in November.

Frankfurt / Main (dpa / lhe) - Frankfurt's Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann is to be voted out of office by the citizens. The city council voted on Thursday in the Römer town hall with the required two-thirds majority to vote out the controversial mayor. Only a few voted against it, and his own party also supported the motion. Feldmann initially did not accept the deselection. The SPD politician now has a week to accept the application. If not, a referendum will follow on November 6th. In October, Feldmann has to appear in court on allegations of corruption.

Feldmann had to leave the hall during the roll-call vote and the previous debate. A few minutes later he had a statement distributed in the Römer. In it he reacted "with regret and great concern" to the decision. "A deselection is not only expensive, but also unnecessary," said Feldmann. He offered his resignation for the end of January, but the coalition decided "to take the path of confrontation". "They accept months of paralysis in local politics for a few weeks shorter term of office - not to mention the risk that the end result will not be the result they want, not to mention the risk."

At the beginning of the meeting, the chairwoman had turned off the microphone. Feldmann had requested that the topic of free crèche care be preferred. City council leader Hilime Arslaner (Greens) tried several times unsuccessfully to interrupt him. When Feldmann continued to speak undeterred, she turned off the microphone to the applause of the city councillors. The meeting started with a delay because Feldmann shook hands for minutes before taking his seat.

The coalition factions had decided on Wednesday evening not to wait until January, but to leave the previously submitted motion for deselection on the agenda. An alliance of Greens, SPD, FDP and Volt governs the Römer in Frankfurt, but Feldmann also wants to get rid of the opposition CDU. The SPD admitted that it had not been possible to "reach out to Feldmann in terms of communication". Since he cannot be persuaded to resign, the decision is now being put in the hands of the citizens.

In the referendum, at least 30 percent of those eligible to vote must vote for Feldmann's deselection. In view of the rather low voter turnout in local elections in Frankfurt, this is a high hurdle. If Feldmann does not accept the deselection, he will stand trial as the acting mayor.

The public prosecutor's office brought charges in March on suspicion of accepting an advantage. It's about Feldmann's close ties to Arbeiterwohlfahrt (Awo). Feldmann's wife is said to have received a salary in excess of the collective agreement as the head of an Awo day-care center "without any objective reason". According to the public prosecutor, Awo also supported Feldmann in the 2018 election campaign by raising donations. In return, he wanted to "benevolently consider" the interests of Awo Frankfurt. Feldmann rejects the allegations and emphasized several times: "I'm not corrupt."

The SPD politician was elected mayor of the largest city in Hesse in 2012 and was confirmed in office for another six years in 2018. The plenary had already withdrawn its confidence in the last city council meeting. Only the left and a few smaller splinter parties voted against the motion to vote out.