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Extremely tight victories and green overtaking: What was surprising about the runoff election in NRW


Lots of Thomasse, few women, election-weary Sauerlanders and a colorful state capital: An initial data analysis of the mayoral elections and runoff elections offers unexpected insights.

Lots of Thomasse, few women, election-weary Sauerlanders and a colorful state capital: An initial data analysis of the mayoral elections and runoff elections offers unexpected insights.

  • Why a soccer team can decide an election - and where greens make it to mayor.

  • Data analysis of the 2020 local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia * highlights the political landscape.

  • We shed light on the most interesting aspects of the

    mayor election in NRW


Düsseldorf / Munich, 09/27/2020:




is over and just under 120 more municipalities have a



The second ballot also produced some important and curious findings (see also the original report).

An initial data analysis of the runoff election revealed, among other things, the fastest and the slowest electoral community in

North Rhine-Westphalia


The first city counted on the evening of the election was Nieheim around 6.30 p.m., the last was Cologne * - here an extremely high number of postal voters ensured that the final results were announced until around 9:55 p.m.

Greens from one to ten

: With this election at the latest, the Greens will be a serious opponent of the CDU.

This was also evident in the town halls on the second election Sunday.

After the first ballot there was just one

green mayor



- the runoff election has now produced



And these are only those who sailed exclusively under the green flag.

Particularly noticeable: With Aachen, Bonn * and Wuppertal even three large cities became green;

with Münster * it would have been almost a fourth.

Women alone on the loose

: Even after the runoff election, the

gender ratio is

anything but balanced.

Significantly more men than women were able to secure the post of mayor.

Only four town halls will soon be run by a female mayor, 18 by a male city chief.

And three of them are named


by first name, two are



The clearest victory in North Rhine-Westphalia

: With a more than

clear majority of 76 percent

, Peter Horstmann won in the city of Warendorf in the Münsterland.

In contrast, it was extremely tight in Iserlohn.

With a lead of only 36 votes, Michael Joithe secured the mayor's office in the city in the Sauerland.

Model Democrats

: Not only was Nieheim the earliest


, but it also had the

highest turnout


67 percent of those eligible to vote cast their votes.

By contrast, the participation was lowest in Gelsenkirchen at 27 percent.

The normal case is that voter turnout is lower in the runoff elections.


municipality of Augustdorf has


that this does not always have to be the case


The duel between Andreas Wulf (CDU) and Thomas Katzer (SPD) was a close race with only 119 votes difference in the first ballot.

Ultimately, Katzer was able to convince the majority in the runoff election with a higher turnout - if only just barely.

+++ Original notification: Election analysis for local elections on September 13, 2020

As soon as the nightly counting in

North Rhine-Westphalia has

ended, the observers pounce on the results.

We worked our way through the mayoral election dates for you.

And describe here seven interesting and unexpected facts about the local elections from the most populous federal state.

Among other things: Why even a football team can make the difference between victory and defeat.

When there are more Thomasse than women

There is little evidence of gender parity in NRW in 2020 either:

not a single woman

has been elected mayor in

any of

the urban districts of NRW.

On the other hand, after the first ballot alone,

two Thomasse are

among the mayors of the seven cities.

The runoff election is still pending in 15 cities.

But even if all women competing there won, the gender ratio would still be anything but balanced.

In Aachen, Bonn *, Gelsenkirchen, Cologne, Krefeld and Mülheim an der Ruhr, women run the runoff election.

In the end, this observation is not really surprising: Henriette Reker in Cologne * was the only woman in North Rhine-Westphalia to win a mayoral election in the 2014 and 2015 elections.

And if you look at all of the 400 or so mayors of North Rhine-Westphalia, it becomes clear that only around eleven percent of town halls were run by women in the last election.

Münsterlanders want to vote, Sauerlanders rather not

Enthusiasm for elections in the Münsterland, genteel restraint in the Sauerland: An exemplary look at the turnout in the

mayoral elections in



shows that the value was





73.9 percent


The high voter turnout could be due to the village character due to the low population: in Heek only 6,939 people were eligible to vote.

On the other hand, voter turnout was lowest in


, which is much more urban

: only

40.2 percent

of those eligible cast their votes there.

This is a tradition there: as early as 2015, only around 40 percent went to the mayoral election.

Two or three candidates to be elected - that was the most common scenario in the mayoral elections in North Rhine-Westphalia.

But the fact that a candidate




was not uncommon:

in every tenth municipality


A completely different picture emerged in



with the longest of all candidate lists.

In the state capital,

15 people


for the post of Lord Mayor.

Compared to the Bavarian election in the spring, however, this is almost little, there were communities with more than 25 candidates.

There it was possible to name and vote candidates on election day.

When a football team decides in a local election

The election results of the city of


show how decisive each individual vote can be


SPD candidate Ulrike Westkamp won

an absolute majority

with just

38 votes


And Christoph Dolle, who ran as an SPD candidate in


, was

17 votes

short of


the election.

The tightest duel in North Rhine-Westphalia was fought by Christiane Loeb and Sacha Reichelt in


: With only

11 votes difference

, the two candidates were almost on par.

This symbolically corresponds to the manpower of a football team.

The runoff election will now show who will actually move into the town hall.

The clearest of all results was achieved by Berthold Bültgers in the Münsterland



With 95.7 percent of the vote, the mayoral candidate clearly won the election.

Bültgers, who ran with a collection list of the parties CDU, UWG, SPD and FDP, had no opponent.

CDU loses considerably, but remains dominant among mayors

Decline of the CDU?

Despite the losses in the national result, the Christian Democrats were and will remain the most popular party among the mayors.



secured 121 of 263 already decided elections.

Multiple lists, voter associations and individual applicants accounted for 101 municipalities.

Things went much worse for the



The Social Democrats were only able to win 39 town halls.

And not only that: the Social Democrats have lost the mayor's office in 29 cities and towns.

After all, there are still 46 run-off elections in which the SPD could score.

Incidentally, the




only won one municipality each in the first ballot: Enrico Eppner (FDP) won the election in Hallenberg.

And Wolfgang Josef Pieper is the only mayor of the Greens after the first ballot.

He keeps his post in the city of Telgte.

Where did the strongest parties score the most, where did their candidate not get a proverbial flower pot?

This is shown by further analysis.

So the worst result of the


with 11.5 percent in Extertal is still almost better than the strongest result of the


with 12.1 percent in Gelsenkirchen.

We generally consider all results in which the candidate belongs to one party, as well as cases where other parties have sometimes joined the nomination.

Another finding of the observation: How much decisive not only the party affiliation, but the person is, is shown with the smaller parties.

The FDP achieved values ​​between two and almost 65 percent;

even the left can record a respectable success with 20 percent in a city like Hamm.

By Luisa Billmayer and Philipp David Pries.

* is part of the Ippen-Digital network

Where does the data come from, how we processed it

We automatically obtained and processed a lot of basic data for election reporting from all 400 municipalities.

We also used official sources.

As a result, we used various methods and calculations to try to work out the most interesting from the sheer mass of thousands of data: elements that are meaningful and represent an overarching trend.

We published a general article on our election methodology on the occasion of the 2020 local elections in Bavaria.

Source: merkur

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