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Stuttgart: Interview with Frank Nopper

2020-11-30T08:18:39.379Z

A green stronghold goes back to the CDU: The new Stuttgart Mayor is Frank Nopper. Here he talks about his plans for the state capital.



Icon: enlarge

Frank Nopper during the election campaign in Stuttgart-Degerloch

Photo: Arnulf Hettrich / imago images / Arnulf Hettrich

Frank Nopper becomes the new Lord Mayor of Stuttgart.

The CDU man won the election with 42.3 percent.

He also benefited from the fact that the eco-social camp could not agree on a candidate after the first ballot: The green Veronika Kienzle withdrew, but with Marian Schreier and the city councilor Hannes Rockenbauch two promising candidates remained in the race.

Schreier now got 36.9 percent, Rockenbauch landed in third place with 17.8 percent.

Shortly after the results were announced, Frank Nopper answers the phone. 

SPIEGEL:

Mr. Nopper, congratulations on your election victory.

The starting position was promising, but how confident were you of victory on the morning of election Sunday? 

Frank Nopper:

I was confident, I always said that, but not cocky.

Confident because I felt encouragement and encouragement from many of the conversations I had during the election campaign. 

SPIEGEL:

Tomorrow you will first go back to Backnang, where you are currently Lord Mayor - a city with just under 40,000 inhabitants.

What makes you sure that you can survive in a big city like Stuttgart? 

Nopper:

I believe that some things are different, but many things are similar - despite the different sizes of the city administrations.

Stuttgart is my birthplace and home town, I know local politics and how a large town hall works.

Incidentally, I have been a member of the regional parliament for over 20 years and therefore know a wide variety of players in Stuttgart and the region.

SPIEGEL:

Your victory is clear, but almost 55 percent voted for the so-called eco-social camp.

How are you going to take these people away?

After all, they are considered supporters of Friedrich Merz.  

Nopper:

It is frankly irrelevant whose supporter I am.

First and foremost, I am a local politician and therefore a factual politician.

In Backnang I have succeeded in connecting, reconciling, building bridges and making local politics across factions and parties.

And I am very optimistic that I will succeed in Stuttgart as well.

SPIEGEL:

Did the Greens defeat themselves to some extent in the run-up to their unsuccessful candidate search?  

Nopper:

That should judge the Greens.

>> I am an opponent of the radical, car-free inner city «

SPIEGEL:

You are seen as opponents of the car-free city center.

How do you want to get the excessive traffic in Stuttgart under control?

Nopper:

I'm an opponent of the radical, car-free inner city.

I'm realist enough to know that the car is becoming less important in German city centers.

But it will keep meaning if we want a vital inner city.

Think of the mobility impaired, the elderly, the sick, think of the service, delivery and craft traffic.

All of them need the automobile.

And I am also a supporter of freedom of choice.

That is why I am of the opinion that we have to find a solution based on moderation - and not radically one-sided.

SPIEGEL:

Outside the city limits, Stuttgart is associated with traffic jams, fine dust and the major construction site Stuttgart 21.

How do you want to polish up the bad image of the state capital?  

Nopper:

We have to run an image campaign so that Stuttgart shines more in terms of its external impact, in the region, in Germany and in Europe. 

SPIEGEL:

You have announced that you will celebrate the opening of Stuttgart 21 in five years' time as a festival of reconciliation.

How is that supposed to work with such a polarizing topic?  

Nopper:

It will be an atmospheric challenge to convince those of Stuttgart 21 who are still critical of the project.

For the majority of the population, however, I believe the project has been over since the referendum.

For the majority it is clear that the train is going in the direction of Stuttgart 21 and that one should now take advantage of the urban development and transport opportunities.

By the way, my father, who himself was a CDU city councilor, was a great skeptic and critic of Stuttgart 21. We always discussed this topic very intensely within the family.

But we never fell out about it.

I am confident that I will be able to relax the confrontational atmosphere that still prevails in part between supporters and opponents and make the opportunities that come with Stuttgart 21 more visible. 

SPIEGEL:

Stuttgart is one of the most expensive cities in Germany.

How do you want to implement your goal of creating affordable housing? 

Nopper:

By creating new living space in a wide variety of ways and in a wide variety of areas.

My target is an average of 2000 additional apartments per year.  

SPIEGEL:

There were riots in Stuttgart-Mitte in the summer.

How can something like this be avoided in the future?

Nopper:

This can be avoided, among other things, by showing determination when it comes to repression and sustainability when it comes to prevention.

We need both.

We need more street workers, more outreach youth work - but also an intensification of the work in the youth houses.

On the other hand, we need more police presence and also more presence of the municipal enforcement and security service.

In these two ways it must be possible to prevent this from happening again.  

SPIEGEL:

Do you think that your victory can also give the battered state CDU a tailwind for the upcoming state elections?  

Nopper:

I cannot conclude with you.

This victory can help a little, but mayoral elections are above all personality choices - including those in the state capital.

Icon: The mirror

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2020-11-30

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