The Lord Mayor of Frankfurt, Peter Feldmann (SPD), has not accepted a decision by the city councilors to vote them out. A few minutes after the city parliament decided to start a vote-out procedure, he had a statement distributed in the city hall. In it he reacted “with regret and great concern” to the decision.

A two-thirds majority had recently voted in favor of his deselection. Feldmann must now resign within a week, otherwise a referendum will be sought. This was scheduled for November 6th.

“A deselection is not only expensive, but also unnecessary,” said Feldmann. He offered his resignation at the end of January. However, the coalition decided “to take the path of confrontation”. “They accept months of paralysis in local politics for a few weeks shorter term of office – not to mention the risk that the end result will not be the result they want, not to mention the risk.”

In the referendum, 30 percent of those eligible to vote must decide against Feldmann. In view of the rather low voter turnout in local elections in Frankfurt, this is a high hurdle.

In October, Feldmann has to appear in court on allegations of corruption. The public prosecutor’s office brought charges in March on suspicion of accepting an advantage. It’s about Feldmann’s close ties to Arbeiterwohlfahrt (Awo).

Feldmann’s wife is said to have received a salary in excess of the collective agreement as head of an Awo day-care center “without any objective reason”. According to the public prosecutor, Awo also supported Feldmann in the 2018 election campaign by raising donations. In return, he wanted to “benevolently consider” the interests of Awo Frankfurt. Feldmann rejects the allegations and emphasized several times: “I’m not corrupt.”

The SPD politician was elected mayor of the largest city in Hesse in 2012 and was confirmed in office for another six years in 2018. At the beginning of last week, after massive pressure from his own party, Feldmann announced his resignation – but not until the end of January. In doing so, he wanted to save the city of Frankfurt “an agonizing and expensive vote-out procedure,” as stated in a written statement.