• Germany's news in English
 

'Stuttgart's future is at stake'

Published: 28 Nov 2011 11:07 GMT+01:00

Just under half of those in the state voted, with more than half of them supporting the idea of the state being involved.

The project has attracted huge and passionate opposition for more than a year, which in itself was a major force behind the election of the first ever Green-led state government led by Winfried Kretschmann last spring. He and state transport minister Winfried Hermann both opposed Stuttgart 21, yet they will now have to work with Deutsche Bahn on the pricey project.

Kretschmann has already said he will not tolerate any cost increases, amid fears that they could continue to soar. He will also have to hold his coalition with the centre-left Social Democratic Party together in the face of triumphalism of the conservative opposition.

The regional Stuttgarter Nachrichten said the results demanded a change in direction from the Greens in particular. This will be problematic with ministers such as the anti-Stuttgart 21 activist Winfried Herman – and will bring them into conflict with some election promises. “But here they must show courage and clarity as they pull it off. Even disappointed voters will surely be able to discriminate between what a party initially wanted, and what is possible for it in government in light of the majority situation.”

The city’s other paper, the Stuttgarter Zeitung said despite the result, protests were likely to flare up again as building work starts and trees around the main station are felled. “All protagonists, particularly the Greens, must realise that what is needed now is an approach to the billion-euro project which can be critical but must be constructive. A good outcome is elemental to Stuttgart’s future.” In the light of next year’s Stuttgart mayoral election, the paper called for political leaders to adopt a conciliatory tone, and to see the chances offered by the project, but also to name the problems and to take the concerns of the people seriously.

Munich's centre-left Süddeutsche Zeitung said the good thing about the result was its clarity. It has been difficult for people outside Stuttgart to form an opinion – should those demonstrating against the project be praised for their civil engagement? Or were they being irrational? The opponents may have felt they had majority opinion behind them – by getting more people on the streets than those in favour of the scheme, and electing the first Green state premier in great part as a result.

“But they will not have thought it possible that the majority that they felt themselves to be, was in reality such a clear minority,” the paper wrote. “On the other hand, the high quorum required by the state constitution to force a withdrawal from the scheme was always the expression of the political elite’s mistrust of direct democracy. Perhaps that mistrust will now abate. Which a referendum would be good for.”

The left-wing Berliner Zeitung said any other result would have been a sensation. “It was a defeat with advance notice, a trap into which the Greens had wandered open-eyed. (State premier) Kretschmann will keep his word that the construction will be pushed through. It is a question of credibility for him and his party, but tragic – because the alternative model of a modernised station developed by Stuttgart 21 opponents was better and cheaper.”

The right-wing daily Die Welt tackled the subject of holding a referendum, saying the vote was never rid of suspicions of being little more than a pressure valve for the opposition movement to take the edge off what was always going to be a defeat. Yet it suggested that rather than end the fight over the train station scheme, the result of the vote could heat up a debate over democratic legitimacy. “Plebiscites do not work as magic to establish an allegedly authentic will of the people – that is illustrated by the Stuttgart example,” the paper wrote. “And the attempt to put direct democracy as a addition to or even as an equal to representative democracy could prove to be a sure way to water down both at the same time.”

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:34 November 28, 2011 by maxbrando
Yes, it is great that the Stuttgart 21 will go forward, but do not bet money on it. Remember Don's 1st law of every leftist/Socialist: Someone who knows what is good for you and will make you do it even if you do not want to. Be prepared for officials in power to break the law. This is how they operate.
22:11 November 29, 2011 by finanzdoktor
Of course, because they know what is better for you, because you are uneducated and simple-minded in their view. You need someone to lead you by the hand, because you cannot do or make up your own mind about anything. You are ignorant of what you really need, and they need to show you that you are being exploited, even if you are content. ROFL.
12:49 December 13, 2011 by murka
The local politicians stole a part of the votes by obscuring the question, I quote:

"Kündigung der Vereinbarungen

Die Landesregierung ist verpflichtet, Kündigungsrechte bei den vertraglichen Vereinbarungen mit finanziellen Verpflichtungen des Landes Baden-Württemberg für das Bahnprojekt Stuttgart 21 auszuüben"

In addition to the ballot, I received an "explaining" leaflet, with a block of 7pt text, even more obscure. It is not that German isn't my mother tongue, my native German friends complained about it as well.
Today's headlines
Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son
Jeremiah Duggan. Photo: Justice for Jeremy

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son

The family of a British student killed in Wiesbaden over 12 years ago made a fresh step towards justice on Thursday, after a London coroner disagreed with German authorities' belief that he killed himself. READ  

Property of the week
Property of the Week: May 22nd
Photo: Mr Lodge

Property of the Week: May 22nd

Modern and sophisticated: This week’s property combines classic architecture with chic furnishings to create an elegant and luxurious living experience. READ  

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence
The judge said, given his age, he was not the ideal candidate for therapy. Photo:DPA

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence

An 83-year-old man was handed a six month suspended sentence on Thursday after being caught carrying seven bags of heroin in Düsseldorf. READ  

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks
The dazzling colour of 2014's festival parade. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks

This weekend Berlin will be lit up by the vibrancy and colour of the Carnival of Cultures, an annual four-day urban festival that celebrates the diversity of Germany's capital. Here are six things not to miss. READ  

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light
FC Bayern's first team in 1925, the year of the commemorative publication. Photo: Jewish Museum

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light

For decades the early history of FC Bayern München was forgotten, but FCB fans have re-discovered a book from 1925 documenting the club's founding moments. READ  

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA
Gerhard Schindler admitted that the BND had made mistakes in its handling of NSA requests. Photo: DPA

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA

The head of the German Intelligence Agency (BND) told a special parliamentary committee on Thursday that his agency is 'dependent on' the American National Security Agency (NSA). READ  

Autobahn driver suffers drone windscreen smash
Photo: Polizei Bochum

Autobahn driver suffers drone windscreen smash

After a low flying drone crashed into the windscreen of a car on the Autobahn outside Bochum, police announced on Thursday they are looking for witnesses. READ  

Business confidence slack as growth slows
A worker puts the finishing touches to BMWs at the car producer's Regensburg, Bavaria production line. Photo: DPA

Business confidence slack as growth slows

German business confidence slipped fractionally from its previous high level in May, as the upturn in Europe's biggest economy continues, the Ifo economic institute said Friday. READ  

Two criminals on the run after daylight escape
Two fugitives on the run since Thursday. Photo: Polizei Kleve

Two criminals on the run after daylight escape

Police are searching for two fugitives in North Rhine-Westphalia after a young woman freed a man from custody as he was being taken to the doctor. READ  

Merkel pushes for Greece deal at Euro meet
Angela Merkel with Francois Hollande and Alexis Tsipras in Riga. Photo: DPA

Merkel pushes for Greece deal at Euro meet

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held "friendly and constructive" debt talks with the leaders of France and Germany Thursday, but gave no sign of a breakthrough ahead of a crucial June deadline. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,748
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd