“Green with absolute majority” – A first in Germany for student parliamentary elections

At the elections for the University’s student parliament held from 16 to 20 January 1995, the Green Party of the University (GHG) achieves the absolute majority of seats and thus a first in the German University landscape. Never before had a university party achieved an absolute majority of seats on its own.

The AStA (student union) in 1995/96, from left to right: Klemens Kleiser (President), Renato Pacheco, Ulrike Baus, Peter Schulze, Michael Kober, Ralf Brandt.

Photo: Klaus Halbe
Source: Universitätsarchiv Bielefeld, FOS 01705

With the unification of Germany, major student political parties of the 1970s and 1980s had vanished from the scene. In terms of University policy, the Bologna Process was still a long way off, even though the voices demanding university reforms were getting louder. It is not surprising then, that there was little political campaigning in the run-up to the Bielefeld student elections. As with other parties, the GHG’s election manifesto offered important, but not really gripping themes: Current account fees for students at the Sparkasse bank, the need for a nursery at the University or the lack of environmentally friendly public transport connections (tram line 4).

The University Green Party (GHG) manifesto for the 1995 election to the student parliament.

Source: Universitätsarchiv Bielefeld, FBS 36

Nevertheless, the GHG won a total of 15 of the 29 seats in the student parliament with a turnout of 18.3% and 45% of the vote. Even the formation of an “AStA”, a student “government” elected by the student parliament, was relatively easy. After a record-breaking twenty days, the 22nd AStA (student union) of the University was elected on February 9, 1995.

Five years later, another first was reported by the media from Bielefeld University, though rather inaccurately under the headline “Women rule at the University”, when the first all-female AStA (student union) in the regional state NRW was elected.

The first all-female AStA (student union) at Bielefeld University, first row from left to right: Marion Döpker (President), Kristina Sonnenburg, Katja Sabisch; second row from left to right: Susann Fegter, Andrea Kallmeier; third row from left to right: Ulla Regenit, Manuela Worbs, Anna Rabien.

Photo: Norma Langohr
Source: Universitätsarchiv Bielefeld, FOS 01122