Who are the lead candidates of the major parties?

Reinhard Bingener

Political correspondent for Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Bremen, based in Hanover.

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Leonie Feuerbach

Editor in politics.

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Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte is running for the SPD. The 57-year-old lawyer took over the office after the 2019 election from his former roommate Carsten Sieling, who retired at the time due to the poor SPD election result. Bovenschulte has quickly gained high approval ratings in Germany's smallest state, especially through his prudent management of the Corona pandemic. His party has therefore consistently coordinated the election campaign with its top candidate, in which "Bovi" repeatedly picks up the guitar and sings himself. Most recently, the SPD was at around 30 percent in the polls.

The CDU is campaigning with the president of the parliament, Frank Imhoff. The 54-year-old farmer is a veteran of the Bremen Union and belongs to its inner circle of power. In 2019, the CDU ran with IT entrepreneur Carsten Meyer-Heder, with whom the party became the strongest force in Bremen for the first time. However, the political newcomer quickly became unfamiliar with the processes in the parliament and will soon also give up the CDU state chairmanship. Imhoff is considered an affable type, but did not make a particularly name for himself during the election campaign. For the campaign, the party has provided him with the young CDU politician Wiebke Winter as co-top candidate, who is advertised as a "tandem" with Imhoff on posters. In the polls, the CDU/CSU, which has often had a hard time in Bremen, is stable at around 27 percent.

And what about the other parties?

As in 2019, the Greens are running with Maike Schaefer as their top candidate. She holds a doctorate in biology and is Senator for Transport, Environment and Construction. The Greens have a great deal of influence in the previous Bremen government because they had the freedom to choose between a Jamaica coalition and a red-red-green alliance after the 2019 election. In the party leadership, key forces tended towards a CDU-led government, but the left-wing party base clearly favored the SPD and pushed through this alliance. From their position of strength, the Greens were able to wrest many concessions from the SPD and push through ambitious climate protection plans.

In the city, however, this policy is now met with noticeable rejection, especially in the transport sector. Transport Senator Schaefer herself is also struggling with reservations. When she was nominated, she received a mixed result, and according to the demographic surveys, she is not highly regarded by the population either. The latest polls put the Greens at 13 percent in Bremen – if that happens, it would be a bad result that Schaefer is unlikely to survive politically.

Kristina Vogt is running again for Die Linke. The Senator for Economic Affairs has been leading Bremen's Left Party for years with a pragmatic course based on Bodo Ramelow and enjoys respect even among entrepreneurs. As part of the Left Party's first participation in government in West Germany, Vogt has caused the highly indebted state to turn away from its consolidation course. However, the election campaign of the Bremen Left Party is weighed down by the deep crisis of the federal party. In polls, however, the party has improved again to nine to ten percent.