Political sibling battle for a seat on the bamberg city council

He sits at the dining table and grins – sebastian niedermaier, 25, self-employed master gardener. On the one hand he grins, because he actually always likes to do so. On the other hand, because he has just told an anecdote: "many people have said: 'but you're an organic gardener, you have to go to the greens'. Others again: 'your godfather is csuler, you have to join the CSU'."

The young man landed somewhere else entirely: with the SPD. He is running in the city council elections in march on list position 9. Why? Because he has the most in common with the SPD, as he says. And he thinks: "I can do it in my own time."

For his sister, only the CSU was an option
Time, that's also the keyword sister anna (27) addresses. Two years ago, she was already asked by CSU members whether she wanted to run for office. "But I wanted to concentrate on my job first", says the master florist. Now she has time and money – and the new challenge of "politics" wanted. "For me, only the CSU came into question. I am also influenced by my father."

He has been a member of the CSU for 35 years and is proud that the next generation now wants to get involved in politics. "The bamberger gartners have always been 'black'", anna explains. The niedermaier family has already had to listen to a few jokes about son sebastian's SPD candidacy.

But he remains calm: "now bamberg has gotten used to a 'red' oberburgermeister for so long, it's time for a 'red' gartner too." There it is again, the grin. Whether it might pass him in the political discussion with the sister? "No", he says for sure. The sister adds: "it's about being respectful to each other. I miss that in politics sometimes."

Still they discuss at home
Both siblings always want to speak their mind, not to bend. Sebastian likes his role as a lateral entrant. "It can be that I sometimes "push back" – "and I always say what I think, anna agrees. The political discussion still only takes place at home, neither of them is a member of the city council yet.
What if it stays like this for the time being and the election doesn't work out?? "We have enough work", says sebastian. Of course, the two would still like to make it on the first try. They want "contact persons and be, as they say, "ka fahnla in der wind" (a flag in the wind), sebastian adds.

Thematically, the 25-year-old and his two-year-old sister are not that far apart. Both want to stand up for the preservation of the gartnerflachen – and their culture. "It's unbelievable how the garden culture in our city is being sold off in some places. I want to present her as she is, not as a package for tourists." Anna nods. When asked what is on her list of topics, she answers: "at the moment, too many young families are moving away from bamberg. I would like to advocate for housing for her." Now sebastian nods. He cares about young entrepreneurs "I'm one myself, I know what it's like." Then the sister again: she wants to strengthen the local retail trade in bamberg. And events in the city, yes, they are good. The brother nods again: "it's important that something is going on."

Not at lunch
So rough cuddling between red and black at niedermaier's dinner table? Not at all. Dad knows his offspring and has therefore already set up the rule: "on sundays at lunch we don't talk about politics"!" But in the evening, they are allowed to get started when the political programs appear on television.

Sebastian tells: "then i call: subba!" – "and me: no, blob net!", says anna and laughs. She becomes more serious: "we already have our positions. But at the same time we are open." Some people might find her brother a bit too open. Mother marlis tells: "the other day someone asked me if I'd given sebastian a bath too hard. I asked: why?? ,because he is so red' was the answer." And then all four of them grin at the dinner table.

Comment by anna lienhardt: "here's to cooperation"

the niedermaier siblings stand for "the young people, who want to get a fub in the bamberger city council. Every faction has its offspring, who naturally "want to make a difference" – you just have to let him have a go. Now that the candidates for the city council elections in march 2014 have been decided, some factions like to emphasize that the names of young people also come up.

It will be interesting to see if and how many of them the citizens of bamberg will actually elect to the city council. Because the newcomers can't yet be properly assessed, they don't yet have a clear profile like an established city councillor. They are not yet known for a basic attitude or a certain way of doing politics.

But that does not have to be bad. They will look for their way in local politics. But they don't just have to find and defend their own points of view. Above all, they have to question decisions and views in their groups and factions. He asks questions, criticizes and sometimes even gets looked at askance. But the experienced ones have to concede to their questions.

After all, it's not about an internal power struggle between young and old, but about making good decisions for the city. These arise from mutual respect and the often praised "constructive cooperation". This applies to sports clubs just as it does to everyday work – and to politics.

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