On November 17, Sulzer mayor-elect Jens Keucher was not the only one surprised. Despite a lead of more than 60 percentage points, the election result was controversial. Is it a new election?
aspic – “I was very surprised,” explains Jens Keucher, the winner with more than 72 percent of the vote. mayoral elections on November 6, when our editors contacted him disputes the election result is addressed. He learned about it for the first time at a meeting of the municipal council.
“The head of the main office, Hartmut Walter, approached me before the meeting and explained the situation. The public found out about it a little later.
There is no information about the person and content of the challenge
From The 42-year-old is now in the air – the election exam is suspended, as requested, spokeswoman Andrea Schmider of the district office communicates. What’s next? “The procedure is that the city of Sulco is asked to comment on the issues raised. After that, a decision on the objection will be made and a notice of objection will be published.” No information about the person and the content of the challenge could be provided.
One thing is clear: only a limited group of people are suspected of participating in the elections. The Baden-Württemberg Local Elections Act stipulates that only every person entitled to vote and every applicant can file an objection within a week of the public announcement of the results. The challenge was timing.
Was the jealousy too much?
Was the jealousy of Keucher’s apparent success too much for the five competitors, Rene Hund, Dirk Konrad, Martin Sessler, Samuel Speitelsbach and Frank Tschany? “I take opposition to the elections in a sporting manner. I don’t resist calls,” Keucher explains. Of course, he was not enthusiastic, after all the procedure could delay the inauguration.
However, if Gerdas Hieber in 2023 February 1 will resign from the position of mayor of Sulc, there is no threat of vacancies. Answer from the district office: “The tasks can be taken over by the deputy mayor, the deputy or the new mayor. If a case is filed, an administrator can be appointed.” This would take over the functions of the mayor, without having the right to vote in municipal bodies.
The lawsuit would further delay it
A lawsuit? Precisely because, after determining the result of the investigation of the dispute carried out by the city of Sulz, a complaint about the notice of objection can be filed with the administrative court of Freiburg within one month of its receipt. For Keucher, that would be the worst-case scenario, of course.
It is not clear when the review of the challenge will be completed. Keucher even expects that this week, but is optimistic: “I am absolutely confident that the outcome of the election will not change.” In the meantime, he gets to know Sulc and his area of responsibility as mayor. “I attend meetings with Gerd Hieber and the first deputy as often as possible. He balances between Sulz and his job as head of the Balingen City Regulatory Office.
The citizens of Sulzer are amazed
Sulzer citizens are also surprised: “I got a lot of positive feedback. Many do not understand the contradiction.” The 42-year-old suspects: “I think the content of the objection can be used to identify a person.”
So the case remains intriguing. If, contrary to expectations, the challenge succeeds and the mayoral election is declared invalid, the Municipal Elections Act obliges the municipal council to “immediately order a repeat election.” It may only affect individual constituencies. But Jens Keucher doesn’t want to think that far: “I don’t know how I would have violated the rights of competitors.” And Andrea Schmider also confirms: “An election challenge is very rare.”
So Keucher will continue to sit on hot coals until the results are announced. But who knows: maybe the local authorities will put the recognition of the election results under the Christmas tree.