Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Madsen goes to Kiel: new elections in Rostock in five months

When Claus Ruhe Madsen took his oath of office as mayor of the Hanseatic city of Rostock at the end of August 2019, he received a lot of advance praise.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Madsen goes to Kiel: new elections in Rostock in five months

When Claus Ruhe Madsen took his oath of office as mayor of the Hanseatic city of Rostock at the end of August 2019, he received a lot of advance praise. Not much of that is left.

Rostock (dpa/mv) - Now it's official: Rostock's Mayor Claus Ruhe Madsen (independent) is leaving the Hanseatic city and becoming Economics Minister in the black-green state government of Schleswig-Holstein. He will also be responsible for transport, work, technology and tourism in the cabinet of Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU).

Madsen (49) is leaving the Hanseatic city, in which the law stipulates that the successor must be arranged within five months, during a critical phase. Just last week, the citizenship canceled the federal garden show planned for 2025. Rostock was awarded the contract for the major project in 2018, which was intended to promote urban development. Madsen was blamed for the failure of the Buga because, according to his critics, he had not managed to swear the administration to the Buga.

Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) wished Madsen every success in his role in the Kiel state government, with which her government has been working very closely for many years. "I would like the people of Rostock to be able to decide on the successor quickly," she said. The state government has the goal that Rostock, as the largest city in the state, continues to develop well. "To do this, the joint projects of the city and state must pick up speed again," stressed Schwesig.

The independent Dane Madsen took office at the end of August 2019. He was the first mayor of a major German city without German citizenship. Madsen had scored points in the election campaign with many new and, above all, unconventional ideas. Among other things, he wanted to advance the digitization of the administration, encourage cyclists, respond more to the needs of the people of Rostock or combat the housing shortage in the city with its 200,000 inhabitants, for example with tiny houses.

But he didn't have much time to calmly implement his plans: After a good four months in office, the corona pandemic demanded everything from the newcomer to politics. At first he was able to impress with his approach. When the corona virus was not yet part of everyday life for many people, he canceled a concert in the Stadthalle, which often led to confusion and annoyance.

His reputation as a doer quickly spread, and Madsen became a regular guest on TV talk shows. But in the city, the unsolved problems were piling up and the head of the town hall was faced with an administration that was less and less friendly to him. His ideas, which often could not be reconciled with the procedures of an administration that proceeded with clear legal steps, increasingly isolated him.

This became clear in the Buga plans, which have since been buried. In view of the short time span and the many expensive projects, the project was highly ambitious from the outset. - A bridge over the Warnow, a completely new residential area or the expansion of the city harbor were planned. It would have required every effort on the part of the administration, especially since other major projects are waiting to be completed with the new building of the Volkstheater or the Archäologisches Landesmuseum.

But Madsen, who has been feeling the wind in his face more and more in recent months, had to admit to himself and the city that the Buga 2025 project had failed. The state government also turned away from him. In some places, relief was felt last Thursday when the news of his departure to Kiel got through.

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