Political battle in Ratingen:
Young people feel politics on their teeth
Ranking During the political battle of the Ratingen youth council for mayor, the candidates for the state parliament answered questions from the first voters. Climate protection, education and local public transport were topics.
For many young people in Ratingen, the regional elections on May 15 will be the first time they will have a say in politics with their two crosses on the ballot. With a political battle, the youth council, the Lux youth center and the youth support office prepared the young people for the election.
The particularity of the event: the approximately 500 visitors to the town hall were able to actively participate in the event. Using a QR code, attendees could vote on selected issues at the event or send their questions on individual topics to the youth council. The team of moderators, made up of Christian Pannes and Nele Ross, then forwarded the anonymous questions to the contestants.
The guests were Nina Eumann (Die Linke), Elisabth Müller-Witt (SPD), Jan Heinisch (CDU), Ute Meier (Bündnis 90/Greens), Alexander Steffen (SPD) and Bernd Ulrich (AfD). Before the event, they all had the task of introducing themselves in a short video which they were free to design. Sarah Burg (The Party – Burg, by the way, failed to say a word in her intro video and messaged anyway) had canceled the morning for personal reasons. Finally, the candidates personally answered the young people’s questions.
During a short question-and-answer session, during which the candidates only had the option of answering yes or no, visitors to the Stadthalle were able to get a quick overview of some of the candidates’ positions.
One topic that seemed to preoccupy young people a lot was climate change. However, there could not be excessive statements from the politicians, as the event organizers had installed a buzzer that always sounded when one of the candidates exceeded the speaking time. Nevertheless, all candidates were given the opportunity to explain their positions – and those of their party.
The question of whether local public transport should become free, how bureaucracy can be reduced, what the future design of the educational landscape might look like or how the parties intend to make housing affordable was also discussed. Finally, the theme of racism and the war in Ukraine was addressed.
The hosts also took a look at the election posters that currently line the streets of Ratingen. The politicians each had 30 seconds to explain the slogans and the motives of the posters.
Spectators were repeatedly involved in the question and answer session, so the contestants entered into a direct dialogue with the visitors. The young people showed a wide range of interests and were well prepared and did not let the candidates get away with platitudes and campaign phrases.
Even before the event, organizers asked who young people would vote for on May 15. This question was asked again at the end. The political battle had indeed changed the minds of some of those present. Probably the most important result at the end: before the start of the event, twelve percent of those present did not want to go to the regional elections. After the two-hour question-and-answer session, the 500 visitors to the town hall were ready to make their crosses on election Sunday.