Local Elections in Oberursel

The centre of OberurselWith local elections taking place in Oberursel tomorrow, amongst other things for the town parliament (Stadtparlament), I decided to take a trip into the town centre this morning and see what the political parties had to say for themselves.

In particular I wanted to know about plans to replace the town swimming pool, which has been closed for several years.  Recently there has been some discussion about the town selling off land to finance the building work.  This would not be so bad, if there was not already a sports field on it!

Then I wanted to know what plans the town has for the future of the schools here, in particular any plans for Ganztagsschulenschools that teach all day rather than just in the morning.

And finally I wanted to see what they had to say about the forthcoming Hessentag, in particular about the lack of information for businesses in the town and my recent attempts to get a permit to enter the closed-off part of the town in order to visit my customers during the event. [Read more…]

Kumulieren and Panaschieren

Ballot box - ©iStockphoto.com/jgroupVoting in Germany used to be easy.  As every German student knows, you have two votes – one for a candidate and one for a political party.

At least, that makes it easy for the electorate, because they can vote for someone they like, but still express a preference for a different party to have a majority in parliament.

For those working out the make of the parliament, there is a highly complex formula that determines how many seats each party gets, and depends on the number of direct mandates that individual candidates achieve, leading to the infamous Überhangmandate, which are worth a post all by themselves one day.

Until a few years ago, when some parts of Germany – Hessen included – introduced something call “Kumulieren und Panaschieren”. [Read more…]

What purpose does the Ausländerbeiratswahl serve?

Ballot box - ©iStockphoto.com/jgroupToday I went to vote in the Oberursel Ausländerbeiratswahl.  Not an easy feat considering that the polling station was in the town hall, with a trade fair going on next door and as a result the (chargeable) car park being nearly full up.

So what’s the Ausländerbeirat you might be asking?

The state of Hessen (Hesse) stipulates that any town with more than 1000 foreigners living in it must have one.  Once in office, the town has to inform them about any decisions that will affect foreigners.  They are also allowed to sit in on various committees.

The last time I heard anything from them was 5 years ago – at the last election. [Read more…]

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