• Germany's news in English
 

'Stuttgart's future is at stake'

The Local · 28 Nov 2011, 11:07

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
Islamist vigilantes face trial for 'Sharia police'
Islamic fundamentalist preacher Sven Lau. Photo: DPA

Islamist vigilantes face trial for 'Sharia police'

31 minutes ago

State prosecutors in the Ruhr city of Wuppertal said on Tuesday that they have brought charges against notorious Islamic fundamentalist Sven Lau, who was behind a short-lived 'Sharia police' vigilante force in the city.

Are you a typical expat living in Germany?
Expats love German schools, but they're not so sure they receive a good welcome. Photo: DPA

Are you a typical expat living in Germany?

2 hours ago

A new survey is full of revealing facts about expats in Germany, why they came here, what they love and what they loathe. So how do you measure up?

Lufthansa pilots 'could strike at any moment'
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots 'could strike at any moment'

3 hours ago

Airline pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said on Wednesday that talks with Lufthansa had failed to reach an agreement and that their members could walk off the job at any moment.

Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees
Emergency services in Massow on Tuesday evening. Photo: DPA

Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees

4 hours ago

A man was arrested in Brandenburg on Tuesday evening after he attacked refugees with pepper spray while he was high on amphetamines. Eight of his victims were taken to hospital for treatment.

Ex-Chancellor Schmidt rushed to intensive care
Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was taken to hospital on Tuesday. Photo: DPA.

Ex-Chancellor Schmidt rushed to intensive care

6 hours ago

Helmut Schmidt, German Chancellor in the 1970s and early 1980s, has been taken into intensive care at a Hamburg hospital after suffering from a vascular obstruction in his right leg.

Smartwatches to shine at Berlin mega gadget fair
Photo: DPA

Smartwatches to shine at Berlin mega gadget fair

7 hours ago

Sleeker and sexier smartwatches are expected to premiere this week in Berlin at one of the world's biggest consumer electronics shows, with both phone manufacturers and watchmakers jostling for a share of the fast-growing market.

Poland to deploy army to hunt for Nazi gold train
An old mine shaft at Walbrzych in Poland. Photo: DPA

Poland to deploy army to hunt for Nazi gold train

7 hours ago

Poland said on Tuesday it would deploy the military to look for an alleged Nazi "gold train" that sparked global fascination after two anonymous treasure hunters claimed they had pinpointed where it is buried.

Munich woman bit sex attacker's tongue off
Photo: DPA

Munich woman bit sex attacker's tongue off

8 hours ago

A mother in Bavaria managed to bite off the tongue of a sex attacker who targeted her and her teenage daughter in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Archaeologists uncover oldest German mosque
Excavation of the mosque site outside Berlin. Photo: Freie Universität

Archaeologists uncover oldest German mosque

21 hours ago

Archaeologists have excavated the remains of Germany's oldest mosque on the outskirts of Berlin, a team from the capital city's Free University (FU) announced on Monday.

Kiel scientists: MH370 search in wrong place
The Malaysia Airlines plane which disappeared on March 8th 2014. Photo: Laurent ERRERA / Wikimedia Commons.

Kiel scientists: MH370 search in wrong place

22 hours ago

German scientists have challenged conventional wisdom on the crash site of the MH370, the Malaysia Airlines plane missing since March 2014, suggesting the search is being conducted in the wrong place.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Features
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Features
How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
Sport
German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Travel
Retiree finds parked car after three-week search
National
Ten ways Germany puts Britain to shame
Business & Money
German gadget clamps down on Nutella thieves
Society
Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
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

6,937
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd