CDU and SPD express doubts about the political neutrality of the municipal election compass. On their initiative, the online voting aid in Mühlheim is put on hold.
Mühlheim – The corona pandemic is currently hardly making street election campaigns in the local elections in Hesse possible. Nevertheless, there will not be a local election compass in Mühlheim. Because CDU and SPD have doubts about the political neutrality of online electoral assistance. Therefore, the leadership team of the Wahlkompass project, which is supported by the Hessian State Center for Political Education, the Evangelical Academy Frankfurt and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among others, decided to put the offer for Mühlheim on hold.
“In the light of the polarized debate about it, a sensible implementation of the municipal election compass in Mühlheim does not seem possible any longer,” says a statement signed by the three leaders of the Wahlkompass project. This is how Dr. Christian Stecker, Professor Dr. Thomas Zittel and Dr. Michael Jankowski responded to allegations that were initially formulated by the CDU on Facebook and later also by the SPD in a statement.
Local election compass for Mühlheim: CDU is shocked
The stumbling block: Tim Rieth works in the Wahlkompass team, which is a cooperation project between the Universities of Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Oldenburg, and is fourth on the municipal electoral list for the Mühlheim Greens. “The CDU is shocked to see how the Mühlheim Greens are trying to campaign at the taxpayers’ expense.” One had considerable doubts about the party-political neutrality of the online electoral assistance offered after Rieth had worked with him through “internal research”. “Here, under the guise of political neutrality and at the expense of state institutions, attempts are being made to campaign,” says CDU party leader and First City Councilor Dr. Alexander Krey. That is not acceptable and should be examined legally. In addition, the election compass for Mühlheim only queries and deals with the issues of the Mühlheim Greens, according to the statement of the Christian Democrats. There is “a clear suspicion that there was ‘cooperation’ with the Greens in Mühlheim in order to positively present and inquire about the green issues on this platform,” says CDU parliamentary group leader and top candidate Marius Schwabe.
The SPD also expressed doubts about the integrity of the municipal election compass for the city of Mühlheim. The Social Democrats apply this to local issues as well. These have been analyzed and found that “with only one exception, there is always at least one passage in the election manifesto of the Greens”. Therefore, one could not recommend the election compass with a clear conscience to the candidates of the party and the citizens.
Greens: Accusations made entirely out of thin air
The Greens are also shocked. Namely about “how personally and undifferentiated the CDU Mühlheim attacks a 24-year-old volunteer”. Melvin Macaluso, Green Board member and top candidate for local elections, says: “To attack a young person in such a homicidal manner and to defame him personally in order to weaken political competition is level.” The CDU has nothing to do with populist forces after”. The allegations are completely out of thin air.
The attacked person himself also says: “The allegations raised could have been completely cleared up immediately in a direct request to me or the team of the municipal election compass,” says Tim Rieth. This attack said more “about the CDU than about me”.
The development of the municipal election compass is led by Dr. Christian Stecker, Professor Thomas Zittel and Dr. Michael Jankowski is responsible. None of the three members of the management team was party-politically organized or active in a way “that could conflict with the party-political neutrality of the online voting assistance offered,” said those responsible. “Those affected are therefore resolutely against the allegations made by the CDU Mühlheim.” Nevertheless, the distrust expressed is taken seriously.
Developer of the municipal election compass: Unilateral influence excluded
Party-political inclinations are inevitable in university contexts – according to Steck, there are also other students who work for other parties. You deal with this fact transparently and in a reflective way. “The larger team of those who work on the Kommunalkompass is characterized by a variety of ideological positions. Unilateral influence is therefore excluded. ”The results of the teamwork are also always subject to a strict final control by the project management. “We regret that in the case of the Mülheim am Main community there was some irritation.”
At an event in Frankfurt in December, the construction of the municipal electoral compass and the theses were discussed with citizens and parties from across the political spectrum. In this context one regrets the failure to invite any of the Mühlheim parties. Connector also comments on the accusation of unilateral choice of topics: “In the case of party programs that were not available at the time of the research, we looked, among other things, on the homepages of parties.” , public discourse, topics from local citizens’ initiatives, and agendas of city councils. (Ronny Paul)