Voting on the future of Stuttgart’s station

Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof - ©

After over a year of protests, the residents of the state of Baden-Württemberg will be voting tomorrow in a referendum on the future of the main station in Stuttgart.

The project, called “Stuttgart 21”, plans to demolish part of the station and take the railway lines underground.  The so-called “Kopfbahnhof”, a station where the tracks end and trains go in and out of, would then become a “Durchgangsbahnhof”, where tracks and trains run through from one side to the other, resulting in a number of changes to the rail network in the area.

A year ago, the politicians were saying that the project had been decided on in a long planning process, and that nothing could be changed.  Then there was a conciliation process (“Schlichtung”) where alternatives where looked at, and apart from the railway being required to prove that the new station would really bring a benefit to the network, not much changed.

However after the local elections in March of this year, the political situation in Baden-Württemberg changed considerably, when the CDU/FDP coalition, who had been in favour of the project lost such a large share of the vote, that a new Green/SPD coalition was formed to take control of the local parliament.

And whilst the Green party and the SPD disagree on the future of the station, they agreed that the people should be given a chance to decide, hence the referendum tomorrow.

Except that technically they are not voting on whether the station should be demolished and moved underground, instead they are voting on whether the state should terminate the contracts that it has to finance the project.

So tomorrow the ballot paper will read:

‘Stimmen Sie der Gesetzesvorlage “Gesetz über die Ausübung von Kündigungsrechten bei den vertraglichen Vereinbarungen für das Bahnprojekt Stuttgart 21 (S 21-Kündigungsgesetz)” zu?’

which translates roughly as ‘Do you agree to the draft of the law “Law to carry out the right termination of the contractual agreements for the station project Stuttgart 21?”‘

Or put simply: everyone who is against the new station has to vote JA tomorrow, and anyone who wants the project to go ahead has to vote NEIN.

I hope that all those people who have been saying that they will be voting against the project read the ballot paper carefully, and put their cross in the right place!

For the law to be enacted, and the project stopped, the referendum needs a simple majority for “JA”, and for those votes to come from at least one third of those eligible to vote.

And… since this is a referendum and not an election, the ballot paper has to be put inside a special envelope before it is put in the ballot box!

Let’s hope that everyone understands the process, puts their crosses in the right place, and remembers to put the paper in the envelope before it goes in the box!


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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