Germany’s Hamburg city goes to elections marked by climate issues

BERLIN (AP) — Voters in Hamburg, Germany’s second-biggest city, went to the polls yesterday to pick a new regional assembly in an election that’s been dominated by the issue of climate change.

The city state has been governed by a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Green party for the last five years. They are the two leading parties.

Before the vote, incumbent mayor Peter Tschentscher of the Social Democrats unveiled plans to shut down a modern coal-fired power plant and make the city centre largely car-free. His party had a solid lead of 15 percentage points in recent polls, though the Greens look to double their share of the vote compared with 2015.

The Green party has pledged to make the city of 1.8 million people climate neutral by 2035 — far sooner than the national goal of ending greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Its local leader Katharina Fegebank joined students and Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg at a protest last Friday.