Lower Saxony has a new state government around a month after the state elections: the coalition of SPD and Greens was officially sworn in on Tuesday in Hanover. Previously, the majority of the members of the state parliament had elected the SPD politician Stephan Weil as Prime Minister for the third time.

The 63-year-old received 82 yes votes in a secret ballot – one more than the red-green coalition of MPs. 63 MPs voted no, with no abstentions. Because the entire legislative period of five years in office, a record beckons him: Then he would replace the former CDU politician Ernst Albrecht as Prime Minister with the longest term in office in Lower Saxony.

During his first term from 2013 to 2017, Weil governed together with the Greens. At that time, the alliance lost its one-vote majority prematurely because a Green MP had switched to the CDU. A grand coalition of SPD and CDU followed. However, before this year’s state elections, Weil had made it clear early on that he was aiming for a return to red-green.

AfD made it into the state parliament

With 33.4 percent, the SPD was clearly the strongest force ahead of the CDU in the October 9 election. With 14.5 percent, the Greens achieved their best result so far in Lower Saxony. The AfD made it into the state parliament as the fourth parliamentary group. The FDP and the left, on the other hand, failed at the five percent hurdle. The SPD politician Hanna Naber was elected as the new President of the Landtag.

There was a first dispute with the AfD over the question of how many vice-presidents the state parliament should have. SPD, CDU and Greens want to increase the number of deputies from four to five. The AfD wants to prevent this and referred to the costs of an expansion. In view of the inflation, that is not to be conveyed to the people. However, the parliamentary group also wants to provide a vice-president itself. The AfD application was referred to the Council of Elders.

In the new state government, the SPD has six ministers in the departments of economy, home affairs, social affairs, justice, science as well as federal and European affairs. The Greens receive the finance, culture, environment and agriculture departments. Weil’s deputy is the new Minister of Education, Julia Willie Hamburg, from the Greens.

Relief package in the energy crisis

The first major political project by Red-Green is to be a relief package worth around one billion euros in the energy crisis. Small and medium-sized companies, day care centers and schools, cultural and sports facilities as well as the health and care sector should benefit from this.

“This month we will present the draft for a supplementary budget, with which we are proposing an immediate program of around one billion euros – just as announced during the election campaign,” affirmed Prime Minister Weil in the first government statement from the Red-Green Party.

In addition, the government wants to introduce a nationwide valid 29-euro monthly ticket for schoolchildren, trainees and volunteers. In addition, a state-owned housing company is to be founded for more affordable housing, the goals for climate protection and the expansion of renewable energies are to be tightened and the starting salaries for many teachers are to be raised.

The first debate on future government policy will take place in the state parliament on Wednesday. Then the new opposition leader Sebastian Lechner, who took over the chairmanship of his party after the election defeat of the CDU and is also aiming for the CDU state chairmanship, could also make a prominent appearance for the first time.

In the new state parliament, the SPD has 57 seats, the CDU 47, the Greens 24 and the AfD 18 MPs.

coalition agreement