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Bremen State Elections: Progressive Coalition Paves the Way for Healthcare Reform and Improved Access to Care

On Sunday, 14th May 2023, state elections took place in the smallest state in Germany: the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. Ever since World War 2, Bremen has been governed by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) which, at the moment, they do with the Greens and the Left party.

With an overall voter turnout of 56.8%, SPD won again, with approximately 30% of votes. The Greens lost many votes with a turnout of just under 12%, which has been their worst election result in Bremen for decades. Consequently, the senator for environment and mobility, Maike Schaefer, stepped down and the co-chairs Alexandra Werwath and Florian Pfeffer announced that they would not run again in the next board elections. Also, the Left party achieved approximately 11% of the votes which is almost equal to the result of the last state election. In Bremen, they stand significantly better than the Left in the federal parliament which they see as proof of confidence in their regional politics.

After the first projections, it was clear that a majority for a progressive alliance of SPD, Greens, and Left remained. Just a few weeks of negotiations later, the parties agreed on a coalition agreement that will form the basis for a joint government.

The Left party will be responsible for the areas of health, care, women, equality and consumer protection. In the chapter on health, the parties state that prevention and health promotion will be the basis of their health policy. The goal is to provide everyone with equal access to health care at all stages, from prevention and health promotion to outpatient and inpatient care and rehabilitation. To improve outpatient care, the coalition will become active by establishing tax-financed municipal care centers to fill the gaps that are a consequence of age-related practice closures. Regarding hospital and inpatient care, the coalition will develop a cross-sectoral care planning with expansion of outpatient and partial inpatient care in hospitals. Emergency care will be developed in close cooperation between hospitals and registered doctors. The joint government will also focus on improving the working conditions for nursing staff and attracting young people to nursing professions to be able to ensure high-quality care in the future.

The coalition agreement was signed on 3rd July 2023. The new government will most likely be elected to office in the first week of July – just in time for the summer vacations in Bremen.

RPP will be observing the further development in Bremen’s politics. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Nora Klein

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