A new state parliament will be elected in Lower Saxony today, October 9th. SPD Prime Minister Stephan Weil leads in election polls ahead of his CDU coalition partner Bernd Althusmann. The polling stations are now open. All news about the Lower Saxony elections in the Newsticker.

11:01 a.m .: In the state elections in Lower Saxony, as many voters cast their votes on Sunday morning as they did five years ago. At 10 a.m., the turnout was 7.44 percent, as the state election management announced on Sunday. Five years earlier, the figure was 8.21 percent. Polling stations are open until 6 p.m.

Postal voters, many of whom are expected this year, are not yet included in the interim results. Almost 6.1 million people are allowed to take part in the election.

In the 2017 election, the turnout was 63.1 percent, after 59.4 percent in 2013. The highest figure so far was 84.4 percent in 1974, the lowest was recorded in 2008 with 57.1 percent.

Sunday, October 9th, 8.25 a.m .: Around 6.1 million Lower Saxony are called on Sunday to elect a new state parliament. The polling stations have been open since 8 a.m. and voting is possible until 6 p.m. The SPD and CDU are currently governing in a grand coalition led by Prime Minister Stephan Weil. The SPD politician is aiming for a third term, but hopes for a new edition of red-green. Weil had already led such an alliance from 2013 to 2017. CDU top candidate Bernd Althusmann, currently Economics Minister, does not rule out another grand coalition.

In the most recent polls, the SPD (31 to 32 percent) was just ahead of the CDU (27 to 30 percent), followed by the Greens (16 to 19 percent). The AfD (9 to 11 percent) could improve to a double-digit result, the FDP (5 percent) has to tremble about staying in the state parliament in Hanover. The left (3 to 4 percent) was just below the five percent hurdle.

The all-determining issue in the election campaign was the energy crisis, which is why the Lower Saxony election is also being watched with great excitement in Berlin. The CDU in particular has also declared the election to be a vote on the crisis policy of the traffic light coalition in the federal government.

During the election campaign, the SPD relied heavily on Prime Minister Weil’s popularity ratings. In polls on the preferred prime minister – Weil or Althusmann – the SPD man was regularly well ahead of his challenger. Thanks in part to this official bonus, the polls for the SPD in Lower Saxony are significantly better than in the federal government.

However, a few days before the election, Weil had to put up with a setback when he chaired a federal-state summit on the energy crisis without a result – grist to the mill of the CDU, which accuses the federal government around Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) of not having a clear plan to address energy concerns.

In the 2017 state elections, the SPD (36.9 percent) was the strongest force, followed by the CDU (33.6 percent), the Greens (8.7 percent), the FDP (7.5 percent) and the AfD (6.2 percent). . The left narrowly missed entering the state parliament in Hanover with 4.6 percent. Voter turnout was 63.1 percent.

It is unclear whether worries about rising prices will particularly motivate voters to go to the polls this time, or whether they will deter them from doing so. However, a higher proportion of postal votes than in the past state elections is expected. The state parliament is elected for five years.

Saturday, October 8th, 5:30 a.m.: One day before the state elections in Lower Saxony, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is supporting his party colleague Stephan Weil this Saturday at the end of the election campaign. In the afternoon, an election campaign event of the incumbent Prime Minister is planned in Hanover, to which Scholz and the Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) are expected.

Weil’s CDU challenger Bernd Althusmann will also campaign for votes again on Saturday in Hanover before the Lower Saxony state parliament is re-elected on Sunday.

In the most recent polls, the SPD was several percentage points ahead of the CDU for its top candidate Weil. So far, both parties have governed together in Lower Saxony. Weil’s desired coalition is a red-green alliance, the two parties can hope for a majority. Weil had already governed together with the Greens in his first term.

The energy crisis and high inflation were the dominant issues in the election campaign – national political aspects only played a subordinate role. With a lack of teachers and educators or the restructuring of agriculture in the agricultural country, there would have been important issues.

Plenty of prominent politicians came to Lower Saxony on Friday to support the respective state parties in the final stretch of the election campaign – including CDU leader Friedrich Merz, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) and Federal Minister of Finance and FDP leader Christian Lindner.

The liberals have to worry about entering the state parliament – polls have seen the FDP at five percent for some time. If the CDU catches up with the SPD, it could be their third state election win in a row after Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia in the spring. That would give CDU leader Friedrich Merz further tailwind. Should the FDP miss its entry into the state parliament, there would probably also be an impact on the traffic light coalition at federal level.

Friday, October 7th, 7:55 a.m.: The CDU top candidate for the Lower Saxony state elections, Bernd Althusmann, has asked the federal government to act on the question of the further course in nuclear power. “The federal government should have acted a long time ago,” he said on Friday on ZDF’s “Morgenmagazin”. He would have expected an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act from the Prime Ministers’ Conference: “You would have had to order fuel rods in Canada and store them at the three locations of the nuclear power plants in order to have a secure power supply here at least for the period of the crisis until the end of 2024.” In Lower Saxony A new state parliament will be elected on October 9th.

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) recently said that according to the current status, his ministry assumes that the “reserve” will be drawn and that the Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim nuclear power plants will continue to be connected to the grid in the first quarter of 2023. Like the Emsland nuclear power plant in Lower Saxony, they should actually be taken off the grid at the end of the year.

Althusmann said the three remaining nuclear power plants together provided a secure power supply for ten million people. It’s about getting through the winter safely. Regarding the question of saving energy, the politician said he was trying to convince his family “that it’s also possible with less light”.

Thursday, October 06, 2022, 8:41 a.m .: Ex-Prime Minister Gerhard Glogowski (SPD) hopes that the grand coalition in Lower Saxony will end soon. “I think it’s quite good if the CDU goes back into opposition,” said the 79-year-old of the German Press Agency. He constantly looks at polls and suffers or rejoices with the SPD.

“It’s looking pretty good at the moment, I’m happy about that,” he said, referring to polls before the election on Sunday, which often see the Social Democrats ahead. “Should the CDU govern again, I will endure it as a democrat,” said Glogowski.

Under Gerhard Schröder he was the interior minister and deputy prime minister. However, he only remained head of government for a short time: around a year after taking office, he resigned in 1999 after allegations of financial privileges from companies. Today he is part of a “traffic light family”: He himself is still a member of the SPD, his son is active in local politics for the Greens and his wife is a member of the Bundestag for the FDP.

2:29 p.m .: Before the state elections in Lower Saxony on Sunday, the CDU chairman Friedrich Merz accused Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) of leadership weakness. Merz said on Wednesday at an election campaign event in the Diepholz district that Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) had been arguing publicly for weeks. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is not just a problem for these two, it is a problem for the Chancellor,” said Merz. “You can’t lead a government like that.” The CDU chairman said that as Chancellor he would not have allowed it.

At the event, Merz warned that a poor design of the energy price brake could lead to a legitimacy problem for the federal government and could also fall back on politics in general. “Then everyone will point the finger at us and say: They are not even able to solve such a problem.” At the end of September, the traffic light coalition announced a new “defense shield” of up to 200 billion euros to protect consumers and to prop up businesses because of rising energy prices. The opposition leader in the Bundestag offered the federal government his cooperation on the energy price brake. “I don’t want any partisan arguments at this point,” said Merz.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022, 8:51 a.m .: Before the state elections in Lower Saxony, Die Linke is promoting the introduction of a state-wide 365-euro ticket for local transport. The parliamentary group will submit a corresponding application in the first 100 days after the election if it succeeds in entering the state parliament on Sunday, according to a ten-point program available to the German Press Agency. According to this, the 365-euro ticket should be a first step “towards free local public transport”.

The program also includes calling for an additional holiday on March 8, International Women’s Day, “as a feminist sign and to reduce working hours”, hiring at least 1000 additional teachers by February 1, 2023, annual investment in the hospitals of at least 250 million euros and a ban on power cuts.

In some points, the left is in line with campaign promises made by the SPD and the Greens, such as the establishment of a Lower Saxony fund for more public investment, the increase in salaries for primary, secondary and secondary school teachers or the establishment of a state-owned housing association. The aim is to promote the ten-point program to the SPD and Greens from within the opposition, according to the left. On Wednesday (2:00 p.m.), the leader of the Bundestag parliamentary group, Dietmar Bartsch, and the top candidates Jessica Kaußen and Lars Leopold want to present the details in Hanover.

According to the latest polls, the left would fail at the five percent hurdle with 3 to 4 percent. So far, she was only represented in the Lower Saxony state parliament from 2008 to 2013.

You can read older news about the Lower Saxony elections on the next page

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