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Thuringia's elections see CDU resist multiple assaults from AfD.

Neo-Nazi advances to the final round

In der Landeshauptstadt Erfurt wurde unter anderem der Oberbürgermeister neu gewählt.
In der Landeshauptstadt Erfurt wurde unter anderem der Oberbürgermeister neu gewählt.

Thuringia's elections see CDU resist multiple assaults from AfD.

The state of Thuringia has recently held an election, which saw a lower voter turnout than five years ago. The CDU party is experiencing a wave of success, leading in most major cities. In contrast, the AfD is usually lagging behind, and the Left Party seems to be in a precarious situation. A right-wing extremist is delighted by the turnout.

Thuringia has begun a super election year with the municipal elections. Around 1.7 million citizens were called upon to decide on parliamentary and municipal top officials. The upcoming Thuringian state election is a significant mood test, especially regarding the AfD, which is considered a securely right-wing extremist party by the state constitution. The party's leader, Björn Höcke, is also under scrutiny. The Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht is participating for the first time in the Thuringian municipal elections, hoping for a place in the Erfurt state parliament. There is significant interest in the election results. The Statistical State Office's election server briefly collapsed around 8 pm.

Election polling stations closed at 6 pm, but a polling station in the city of Mühlhausen allowed for voting to continue for a while. A large crowd was present, and those who were in line at 6 pm could still cast their votes. Reports indicated long waiting times and missing ballot papers in Jena. Some voting booths had to be delivered, which occurred primarily in larger districts.

The voter turnout stood at 46.2% around 4 pm, slightly lower than in the municipal and European elections 2019 (48.5%). Initially, it was said that the voter turnout was slightly higher than five years ago. The voter turnout varied greatly between different regions. Jena had only 49.5% voter turnout, whereas Weimar Land had 68% voter turnout.

The "Thuringian General Newspaper" reported that 30,000 election helpers would count the votes over the next few hours.

CDU secures town hall in Altenbeuthen

The mayor's position in the community of Altenbeuthen, Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district, was already determined around 6:30 pm. Lothar Linke, a non-partisan candidate, received 75.5% of the votes, whereas Wolfram Henrik from the CDU received only 24.5% of the votes.

In Erfurt, the CDU's Andreas Horn is currently leading, with 27.5% of the votes counted so far. Andreas Bausewein from the SPD is in second place with 22.2% of the votes. Stefan Möller, the AfD-nominated candidate, is in third place with 18.9% of the votes.

The counting is progressing smoothly in the city of Suhl with 37,000 inhabitants. After 18:35 pm, 18 of the 40 electoral districts had already been counted. CDU candidate André Knapp is likely to remain mayor with 82.2% of the votes. Left candidate Steffen Hartwig is in second place with 17.8% of the votes.

Incumbent Peter Kleine in Weimar's town hall already has an unbeatable lead (70%, a clear majority) after counting the mail-in ballots. Stefan Giebel from the Left Party is currently in second place with around 10% of the votes. No AfD candidate is running in this city.

The Left Party is not doing well overall. However, they have a bright spot in the mayoral election in Śommerda. Ralf Hauboldt received 42.1% of the votes, while Bastian Wulf from the CDU received 28.7%. Both are likely to go into a runoff, as AfD candidate Michael Bellstedt only has 23.3% of the votes.

AfD candidates are struggling in general. Robert-Olympic champion André Lange is competing against incumbent Petra Enders in the Ilm-Kreis for a spot in the runoff. Lange, who was nominated by the CDU without a party affiliation, has 23.2% of the votes from 43 of the 136 voting districts and is in third place. Ralf Gohritz, an AfD candidate, is currently in second place with 26.4% of the votes. Enders, on the other hand, is significantly ahead with 45.2% of the votes.

The AfD is experiencing difficulties in the Kyffhäuserkreis as well. As per MDR's reports, out of the total 119 voting districts, 67 have already been counted. Antje Hochwind-Schneider of the SPD currently holds 44.2% of the votes, while the AfD's Andreas Hartung-Schettler has 35.2%, and the CDU's Sven Osterheld with 20.5%.

In Altenburger Land, the AfD candidate Heiko Philipp leads the race, amassing 33% of the votes. CDU's Uwe Melzer follows closely with 32.3% of the votes, while the Left Party's Frank Tempel has 14.5% and the SPD's Alexander Paulicks has 7.4%.

In Hildburghausen, neo-Nazi Tommy Frenck managed to get into the Landrat runoff with 24.9% of the votes – just 0.2 percentage points higher than Dirk Lindner of the CDU, who will not make it to the runoff. With 42.4% of the votes, Sven Gregor from the Free Voters secured his place in the runoff as well.

"Leipziger Volkszeitung" anticipates that there will be 13 Landrat and 5 Oberbürgermeister of the free cities going through runoffs.

A comical event unfolded in Oberhof, known for its winter sports. The non-partisan candidate Daniel Fischer received an overwhelming 95.2% of the votes after counting all 800 votes. There was no opposition, but 37 voters wrote their own names on the ballots.

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