Right to vote for refugees? SPD admits “stupid mistake”

A paragraph in Nancy Faeser’s election program received a lot of criticism. Now the SPD says it was a mistake.

The Hesse SPD and top candidate Nancy Faeser caused a stir with their election program. It says: “We want to work hard at the federal level and in the Bundesrat to ensure that all people who live in Hessian municipalities for more than six months are given the right to vote in local elections.” Co-determination also applies to recognized asylum seekers and other non-EU citizens.

This planned change to local electoral law promptly sparked criticism from the Union, FDP and AfD. But now the SPD is rowing back: it should actually have been six years instead of six months. So the party told “Bild”. There was a “stupid mistake” when drawing up the election program.

Wording comes from position paper

“Research and inquiries gave rise to the genesis of the incriminated sentence from the election program to be understood in every detail,” said the SPD spokesman. The result of the research: The wording comes from a position paper from the SPD parliamentary group, but it also mentions “six years”. This was then changed when it was incorporated into the election program.

“The six years that are in the group paper turned into six months on the way to the final version of the election program – a truly catastrophic editorial error that no one noticed until your request,” the spokesman told “Bild”. “We have now corrected this error in the election program that is on the SPD Hesse homepage and made the correction transparent in a disclaimer.”

Criticism from the Union, FDP and AfD

In the meantime, the election program had provoked some violent reactions. The right to vote should not be “weakened arbitrarily,” warned André Berghegger, chairman of the local policy working group of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. “Local elections are not second-class elections.” The demand raises “doubts about sufficient respect for the local councils and local self-government,” added the CDU politician.

Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) called Faeser’s initiative an “absurd idea”. What is needed is “an effective restriction on uncontrolled immigration and not an expansion of the right to vote,” wrote Söder on Facebook.

Criticism also came from FDP parliamentary group deputy Konstantin Kuhle. “A municipal right to vote for refugees is the wrong approach,” he explained. “The right to vote must fundamentally remain linked to German citizenship.” Only those who live permanently in Germany and meet the requirements for naturalization should be given the right to vote. The AfD member of the Bundestag Albrecht Glaser explained: “The right to vote is a civil right and is genuinely reserved for German citizens.”


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