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  District Reform in Brandenburg: The Greatest Defeat of Dietmar Woidke – Politics | Bit Updates
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District Reform in Brandenburg: The Greatest Defeat of Dietmar Woidke – Politics

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 | bitcoin updates


Brandenburg's head of state is now able to lead the way through the Meyenburg factory, where furniture is produced for Ikea and other chains. He speaks to every worker, surveys the robots that are stacking and screwing chipboard, making jokes, shaking hands. And someday he tells me that there is such a Billy shelf in his study at home. And sometimes the 1.98-meter giant acts as if everything is as always, a country father on tour, as if he had not announced the greatest defeat of his political career. Only a few minutes ago Dietmar Woidke announced the news in the TV cameras at 9.30 am on this wet, cold Wednesday morning: It's only a few sentences, not two minutes. And already the planned district reform for the state of Brandenburg has been canceled, in which the Prignitz, the district in which Meyenburg and the furniture factory are located, should merge with the neighboring district. A reform that Woidke had initiated in 2014, with which he and his government have since been tormented, which brought the state with its rather calmly prevailing population more and more in anger. And now? "There will be no vote in the state parliament," says Woidke. The bills would be withdrawn, without replacement, the planned millions for infrastructure, digital. Short and painless. Ending. Past. Everything as always? The morning had begun for Woidke at 8.30 clock with telephone conferences, in which he announced the decision to the National Board and the parliamentary group. He was clear, "not contrite," says one who was on the line. How are you? It was not easy for him, but now he was relieved, says Woidke on the tour. "Once a decision has been made, it is no longer stressful. And yes, I have a basic Protestant happiness. "It was only a long, exhausting night, because of the many phone calls. With the president of the city and community federation, with Christian Görke, the party leader and finance minister from the left, who is on vacation at the Red Sea. And now? Does Brandenburg's prime minister survive this crisis? How tight everything is, how scarce it was, reveals an impromptu press conference at the end of the visit to the furniture factory. As the local district is asked, even a social democrat, how he finds all this. And he answers: "I say: The decision was overdue. And it was without alternative. "It could not have been stated more clearly that Woidke was standing with his back to the wall. The head of government wanted to contradict, and left it. Prime Minister of Brandenburg, often it seemed as if Dietmar Woidke made for this office. Never did this man from the country seem like one who was drawn elsewhere, such as in the high Berlin policy, with the post as Prime Minister as a political pump of meaning. Dietmar Woidke from Forst still has his center of gravity there, in Lusatia, on the German-Polish border, on a farm that has been owned by the family for centuries. Only as a young man was the 56-year-old politician gone for a few years – as a student at the Berlin Humboldt University. In 1993 he joined the SPD, in 1994 he won his first parliamentary mandate in the Spree-Neisse district.

 Since then, things have been going up steadily. Soon he was sitting in important committees. In 2004 he became Minister of Rural Development, Environmental and Consumer Protection. In 2009 he took over the chairmanship of the group, in 2010 he became interior minister – as the successor to the dazzling Rainer Speer. He had been charged with the police reform Trouble, with which it had henceforth to do with: Less police – that does not appeal to a left-leaning, but basically conservative country folk not good, especially not in a time in the car thefts, burglaries and the theft of tractors has become a plague. Around 1800 posts, which belonged to the police reform, should be dismantled, the structure of the police changed. Even this experience as Minister of the Interior could have given Woidke the lesson that structural reforms bring little political fame. But in 2013 he became Brandenburg's third prime minister, and in his first government declaration he announced the next reform: "I say it very clearly: In my view, 18 complete district administrations are too much for a federal state like Brandenburg." Woidke promised efficiency and closeness to a reformed state Administration, the benefits of "our digital, mobile age" should be used more. However, administrative reforms always have the same effect on many people: they think that something is taken away from them if the state claims to have to save. Even if, as a citizen at most, you are directly involved with the office once or twice a year, it does not feel good when the state cuts jobs. Really negative are the consequences for all who volunteer for politics, as city councilor or deputies in the district council or on the board of a party structure. For them, changed administrative responsibilities often mean significantly more hours in the car, even less time for the family. And it was not the first administrative reform that made politics happy with the people of Brandenburg. For example, after 2001, municipal reform with changing authorities, responsibilities and countless legal proceedings over the permissibility of the reorganization – including the rural feeling of not losing sight of political independence in the village or small town. Woidke had barely held his government statement, as it was suspected that the announced reform would meet with massive resistance. AfD leader Alexander Gauland predicted that it would get more people to leave rural areas. The Greens criticized the bumbling preparation. The CDU made itself the advocate of all displeasure and all fears and acted as a defender of rural Brandenburg. Group leader Ingo Senftleben undertook an information tour through Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony.

 Especially with the northern neighbor, the negative consequences of a territorial reform have been shown. Since 2011, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has been divided into six major districts to save money. The largest districts in Germany were created – and bizarre political participation models such as rotating county councils, so that their deputies do not always have to drive a hundred kilometers to the meeting. Quarrels about new and old responsibilities, debt assumptions and loss of competence arose everywhere. The AfD probably benefited politically from this. In any case, the Brandenburger CDU man Senftleben stated after his information journey that it was time not to lead the debate on the reform in Potsdam, but in the "respective home of the Brandenburg". That was not said so elegantly, but met exactly the feelings of the people. The extent to which Woidke and his Minister of the Interior had been mistaken about the enforceability of the reform was finally revealed at a hearing eight days ago. Not an SPD politician from a city, a district or a village pleaded for reform. Even the man who had the least to fear the project, because he would not be affected, the Mayor of Potsdam Jann Jakobs, called it a "wrong path". Actually, the end for the district reform should be announced next week, after the autumn holidays. Tagesspiegel coverage was the reason they preferred it, says Woidke. As the official sightseeing program begins in Meyenburg on Wednesday morning, Woidke takes a moment to personally discuss something with the man next to him. He apologizes to him, the district administrator Torsten Uhe, and indeed for this disastrous hearing in the Interior Committee of the Diet eight days ago. It was these hearings, after which even for the head of government, the degree was full, after which it was clear to him that his fight for this reform was lost. "That was the point." So he will repeat it several times on this day. Uhe, from whom Prignitz had traveled to Potsdam, was at that time the last to arrive after hours' wait just before 3:30 in the morning, with his no. "I was back at five o'clock, then at the bakery, then I'm in office." Woidke shakes his head, with a face that speaks volumes, one who sees his decision confirmed. No, it really was not any more, you could not do any reform against the local authorities. But the thing is not over. Did Woidke think about stepping down like Stanislaw Tillich in Saxony? "No!" But even with questions, who takes over the responsibility for the failed reform, for the broken trenches in the country, the answer is more thoughtful. "It's not the day of personnel consequences." But while Woidke is still driving around in the Prignitz, his Secretary General Klara Geywitz announces her resignation in Potsdam. One separates oneself "by mutual agreement". What one says when the trust is disturbed, which always includes two. Here was Woidke, who did not understand why Geywitz and others still wanted to go through the reform, as his general's wife, who felt ignored at Woidke's turn, went by. Only a year ago, the Prime Minister had replaced his State Chancellor and the then government spokesman. There are already astounding numbers from the former Potsdam power center, which now remained on the roadside. These are losses that harbor new dangers. Geywitz was meanwhile preparing for the SPD the next state election, had looked in the summer before the Trump election in the United States. In Brandenburg, the SPD crashed in the federal election in third place behind the AfD. In Meyenburg, just before Woidke drives on to the next appointment of his home tour, he is asked to Geywitz, as a successor. And there is Brandenburg's head of government very, very monosyllabic.

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