Table of contents
- city council groups and councillors in the municipal council
- Lord mayor and mayor bench
- Our team
- Tasks and work in the city council
The municipal council is the main organ of the administration of the city of Karlsruhe. There, the 48 city councilors make decisions. City councilors are elected by eligible voters every five years in municipal elections.
The city council groups and 48 city councillors in the Karlsruhe City Council
Since the 2019 municipal elections, there are eight city council groups that represent their political positions in the city council on a voluntary basis: the Green, CDU, FDP, AfD, Die Linke, KAL / Die Partei and FW | FÜR Karlsruhe group factions. Since 2023, there are only seven city council groups, the AfD dissolved as a group due to the resignation of a councilwoman. Group status is available for three or more city councilors.
|KAL/ The Party
The mayor and the mayor’s bench
The main difference between a lord mayor and a mayor is the size and status of the city they govern. A lord mayor is the head of a large city or a city with special status. This title is used in some countries for mayors who work in larger cities with more inhabitants and a larger administrative area.
A mayor, on the other hand, is the head of a smaller city or town. The latter is responsible for the administration of the city or municipality, coordinates local affairs and represents the interests of all residents. The exact powers and responsibilities may vary depending on the country, region or municipal constitution.
In Karlsruhe, the aldermen are not directly elected by the citizens, but appointed by the municipal council. The exact number of aldermen and their responsibilities are determined by the municipal constitution and the regulations of the city of Karlsruhe.
The municipal council elects the aldermen in a meeting or a special election meeting. As a rule, the election shall be by secret ballot. The members of the municipal council can propose candidates and vote on them.
The selection of aldermen in Karlsruhe can depend on a number of factors, including political affiliation, qualifications, and experience in specific areas. The exact rules and procedures for the election of aldermen in Karlsruhe are laid down in the municipal code or other municipal regulations. To obtain specific information, it is advisable to consult the relevant legal regulations of the city of Karlsruhe or to contact the city administration directly.
The business circles of the mayors in Karlsruhe are organized thematically:
- Gabriele Luczak-Schwarz (CDU): Finance and investments, economy, science and labor, congresses, exhibitions, events and tourism, utilities, transport and port, market affairs and property transactions,
- Dr. Albert Käufleich (CDU): Culture, public safety and order, personnel and organization, statistics and elections, citizen participation, district development, and information technology and digitization,
- Dr. Martin Lenz (SPD): Youth and parents, social affairs, pools, schools, sports and migration issues,
- Bettina Lisbach (GRÜNE): Environment, nature and climate protection, health, fire and disaster prevention, cemetery management, waste management, forestry, green space planning and maintenance,
- Daniel Fluhrer: Planning and Construction, Real Estate Management, Land Management and the Zoological City Garden.
Our group and councillors: Who is a group member?
Who are Freie Wähler and FÜR Karlsruhe?
The “Freie Wähler” are committed and professionally qualified Karlsruhe residents who form a political association and have been running as a joint list in the municipal elections in Karlsruhe since 2009. They represent a realistic and serious policy that strives to be close to the people and keeps an eye on the real concerns of the population.
“FÜR Karlsruhe” is a Christian voters’ association which, since its foundation in 2008, has been striving for politics with a Christian heart and derives its actions from this. “FÜR Karlsruhe” lives being a Christian and brings this into everyday local politics. One strives for a balanced policy between ecology and economy, in which the focus is on people and the concerns of the citizens are taken into account. After a reorientation in terms of content in 2019, the name was changed from “GfK” to “FÜR Karlsruhe”.
Petra Lorenz, Jürgen Wenzel and Friedemann Kalmbach
Petra Lorenz has been a member of the municipal council for the municipal council group the Free Voters and FÜR Karlsruhe since the 2019. She is on the Economic Development Committee, the Disabilities Advisory Board, and the Structures and Arts Commission. In 2020, she ran for mayor and received 8.71% of the votes cast. Councilwoman Lorenz is professionally active as an entrepreneur. In 2001 she started her own leather goods store in Bretten, in 2003 she founded “Lederpoint” in Karlsruhe. In 2012 “Taschenreich” was created in Durlach and in 2014 in Ettlingen.
Petra Lorenz has been President of the North Baden Trade Association since 2018 and is a member of Vollversa.
Jürgen Wenzel is professionally active as an entrepreneur in Karlsruhe. He is co-founder of the Freie Wähler Karlsruhe and the Aktionkreis’ Mehr Demokratie Karlsruhe and has been politically active since 1988. In 2009, he was elected to the Karlsruhe City Council.
In addition to his voluntary work in the Karlsruhe City Council, he is an elected member of the Durlach Local Council. Councilman Wenzel stands for a policy of sound city finances and citizen participation.
Friedemann Kalmbach has been a member of the municipal council for the voters’ association FÜR Karlsruhe since 2009. He is co-founder of the bookstore “Atempause” and of the Nehemiah Initiative, which he directed until 2018. He stood as a candidate in the 2012 lord mayoral election in Karlsruhe and achieved a share of the vote of 4.46%. Councilman Kalmbach is committed to policies that promote fair-paying jobs, affordable housing for all, good social interaction, and reconciling economic growth with environmental protection. In the current legislative period, Councillor Kalmbach represents the city council group in various committees such as the Main Committee, Youth Welfare Committee and Environment and Health.
How did the city council group come about?
Ten parties or voter associations stood for election in the 2019 local elections in Karlsruhe. Of the 48 seats, the Free Voters won two seats – FÜR Karlsruhe one. At least three seats are required to form a city council group. The formation of a city council group and the bundling of seats creates the opportunity to give weight to the will of the voters with more votes. Freie Wähler and FÜR Karlsruhe already formed a counting group in the last legislative period. Now, with the cooperation, the decision was made for a policy of a healthy center and proximity to the citizens.
What political viewpoints are shared?
Both voter associations advocate balanced and serious politics that adequately represent the interests of the citizens. There are joint efforts in the highly topical issues such as citizen participation / inclusion of citizens in the design of the city, housing / housing shortage / lack of space, urban development, safety and cleanliness.
In times of Corona, the group focuses on the tumbling economy and the survival of companies. The livable city of Karlsruhe faces a serious threat if livelihoods continue to be threatened by the ongoing lockdown. People are advocating for new and creative ways to prevent a wave of insolvencies and to support entrepreneurs.
In addition to the physical well-being of the people, offers for the emotional and social needs of the community are initiated, such as the establishment of a drop-in center for people in loneliness during the lockdown.
The parliamentary group is opting for a people- and business-friendly path to climate neutrality. A green transformation of cities, transport and the economy is welcomed, but it should happen at a pace that society and the economy can sustain. The group does not see actions pro-environment in bans and restrictions on everyday life, but in efficient innovations such as the expansion of electromobility for cars or the use of synthetic fuels for economical transport. Restrictions on private transport in Karlsruhe must not be at the expense of the weak in society, but only in coordination with the voters and according to the possibilities that the city can offer. Citizens must not be burdened by ideological politics, but should be included in the ideas for a balanced ecology.
In all contents and political ideas of the group applies that the best should be done for the citizens and the city of Karlsruhe.
The legislative period: Five years until the next municipal elections
The city council group was established after the election day and always exists until the next local election. Then the cards will be reshuffled, whether the group will exist in the upcoming council, the voters will help decide.
Tasks and work of the city councillors in the Karlsruhe city council
How does a session work?
Each faction member the right to ask questions in the Municipal Council. These must be answered publicly by the administration. This usually happens in written, formal form. Nevertheless, it may happen that questions are asked during a municipal council meeting which are later answered in writing by the administration or by the Lord Mayor.
With parliamentary group status, motions may be submitted to the municipal council – a core task of the work in the Karlsruhe municipal council. In the absence of caucus status, motions must gather a minimum of 12 signing City Councilors. The applications must then be placed on the public agenda of the monthly meetings of the municipal council by the Lord Mayor, Dr. Frank Mentrup. At the meeting, the motions of the city councilors will be discussed. Each group has one speech per discussion round. If there is a need for more discussion, there may be further rounds of discussion. The first contribution to the discussion is made by the requesting group. The remaining city council groups then speak in the order of their group size. The submissions of the city administration as well as the motions of the city council groups are finally put to the vote and decided.
For each agenda item, each city councilor as well as the municipal council factions may submit further motions, e.g. on climate protection. These include supplemental motions that add to or expand the original motion, or amendments that make changes to the original motion.
The public municipal council meeting is open to the press, staff and all Karlsruhe residents in the public gallery. At the end of each municipal council meeting there is a non-public part, which is discussed in camera. There, it is about agenda items that are considered sensitive or not yet ready for decision by the municipal council factions or the city administration.
All speeches and the voting behavior of the city council groups in the public part are recorded in minutes. The responsibility for the minutes lies with the secretaries, so that the contributions can be read after the meeting.
The fair handling of city finances – the budget law
Each municipal council group tries to shape local politics and the framework conditions of city politics and development through its own motions and inquiries. The diverse views on the shaping of the city are particularly evident in the discussions on municipal finances / budgets – also called “double budgets”, which are decided for the next two years. The budget will be discussed in a mammoth meeting in two days – during the pandemic in the garden hall. The budget is set by a majority vote of the members of the municipal council.
Due to continuously increasing debts, the difficult financial situation has turned into a Karlsruhe financial crisis. The city councillors of the Freie Wähler and FÜR Karlsruhe city council group are in favor of restricting spending in order to limit the expansion of debt in the coming years and to reduce debt. If debts continue to expand, Karlsruhe faces the threat of having its budgetary rights revoked. Normally, the municipal council disposes of the finances of the city of Karlsruhe. If the budgetary authority is withdrawn by the regional council due to excessive debt, the city administration can no longer spend money on its own projects or plans – the financial sovereignty is taken away from the city by the regional council. From now on, all decisions on public spending will be made by the Regional Council.
Other topics in the municipal council
Regular items on the council’s agenda include housing construction, public transportation, strengthening small and medium-sized businesses and trades, integration, and major construction projects such as the expansion of the Turmbergbahn, a newly renovated state theater, and the reconstruction of the Wildpark Stadium. Due to construction complications, escalating costs and significantly longer construction times, in the future, more detailed planning and a fixed cost framework should precede construction projects before they are approved.
The work in the committees
In order to prepare the councillors for the topics of the municipal council meetings, to plan speeches or to make individual decisions, the upcoming agenda items are discussed in the committees for the upcoming meeting. There are committees for social affairs, environmental protection, economics, migration, culture, etc. Details of the upcoming budget, for example, are discussed in advance in the Main and Structure Committee. The city council groups send their councillors to the respective committees, who represent their political positions there and contribute different views.