On 28 February 2004 Hamburg's First Mayor Ole von Beust won a famous victory in Hamburg election
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|This archived article was published in February 2004
Mayor von Beust to govern alone
after victory in Hamburg election
Hamburg Mayor Ole von Beust won an absolute majority in elections held on 29 February 2004. His party, the Christian Democrats (CDU) received 47.2 per cent of the vote. The opposition Social Democrats netted only 30.5 per cent, their worst result in a city they dominated until von Beust formed a right-of-centre coalition in 2001. Mayor von Beust will now be able to form a governing administration without needing the support of any other party.
2008 election: Mayor von Beust loses absolute majority and contemplates coalition with the Green Party.
Not even an excellent result for the Green party, who are in a national coalition with the SPD, could rescue the Hamburg Social Democrats. The Greens won 12.3 per cent of the vote, almost four percentage points more than in 2001.
Hamburg’s 1.2 million voters have not been immune to the rising unemployment in Germany and the stagnating economic growth that have dogged Schröder’s government since he first came to power in 1998. The city-state, which last year had Germany’s highest per capita gross domestic product and gross wages, also has a jobless rate that rose from 8.3 per cent in 2001 to 9.9 in 2003.
Another clear loser in the Hamburg election was the Party for a Law-and-Order Offensive. The party rode a wave of paranoia and law enforcement concerns to victory following the 9/11 attacks in 2001. But party leader Ronald Schill left both the party and the government after allegations that he planned to expose a homosexual affair between von Beust and a city official. The party failed to reach the five per cent hurdle for representation in the city parliament, winning only 3.1 per cent of the vote. The liberal Free Democrats (FDP) also suffered from the von Beust effect and, with a share of only 2.8 per cent of the vote, are no longer represented in Hamburg’s city parliament. (Source: Deutsche Welle)
Hamburg's city hall (Rathaus) was inaugurated in October 1897.
Hamburg, one of Germany's three city states
Hamburg is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Like Bremen and Berlin it is a city state - unlike the remaining 13 states, these being large area states containing any number of cities with one of them as its capital.
The government and parliament reside side by side in the Rathaus, the city hall. Parliament sits on the left wing, while the Senat, the state government, occupies in the right wing.
The parliament of Hamburg is called the Bürgerschaft, the citizens ruling body. It consists of 121 representatives, who are elected every four years by proportional representation.
The Bürgerschaft elects the head of government, First Mayor, legislates state laws and ratifies the budget. Laws may be submitted by the Senat, the Bürgerschaft or by citizens' petition for referendum. MORE