November 29th, 2011 | Published in What's going on in Germany?!
When we first investigated the matter back in October 2010 (http://www.dehnenblog.com/eng/wgoig/railway-project-stuttgart-21-turns-into-a-matter-of-politics/) we investigated the circumstances surrounding the protest movement – and now, after more than a year of constant protest, it has come to its conclusion. The referendum held this Sunday voted to keep on building the train station. With 58.8% voting to keep building and 41.2% against, the decision sounds like a close vote. However, these numbers can be misleading since the quorum that would have been needed to abolish the construction was missed by a long shot – a mere 48.3% of the eligible voters turned up. Since people directly opposed to the construction arguably would have shown up to the legal conclusion of their pet project, the supposed “mass opposition” can’t really claim the support of the silent majority anymore.
So what’s going to happen now? Construction will immediately be resumed. And why wouldn’t it? The people have decided. The current plans state that the building will be finished in November 2019. Most political opposition has, understandably, dwindled. Premier Kretschmann of the Green Party is on record (reluctantly) stating “We will accept this vote. The whole state government will.”
A small number of voices have stated that their opposition will continue even without political support. Environmental protection group “Parkschützer” is one of them. However, these voices do not seem to be supported by even their own previously zealous allies. State chairperson of BUND (the biggest environmental protection group in Germany) Brigitte Dahlbender: “We will have to accept this outcome.”
So have we seen the end of this? Probably, at least as far as the mainstream media and politics are concerned. The people of Stuttgart will likely have to put up with a (severely smaller) number of protesters until the new station has been built. In 2019.