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Germany

Duisburg mayor prepared to be voted out after Love Parade disaster

A week after the death of 21 people at the Love Parade festival in Duisburg, the mayor of the western German city, Adolf Sauerland, is preparing to face a city council vote which could force him to resign.

Man wearing t-shirt saying Sauerland - you rat!

Sauerland has been called a 'rat' by Duisburg residents

Adolf Sauerland is ready to face a vote in the city council on his future as mayor of Duisburg, the western German city where 21 people died after being crushed to death at the Love Parade music festival on July 24.

Sauerland, who has been under pressure to resign over the city's organization of the event, said in a statement Monday that he "will face up to his responsibilities - both personal and political."

No-confidence vote

Several parties as well as the people of Duisburg have been calling for his resignation. The process of voting him out is complex, but he would be most likely to have to step down once two thirds of the city councilors vote for him to go.

Adolf Sauerland

Sauerland could face a no-confidence vote

"Of course, and I've said this before, I'm prepared to face being voted out according to the regulations of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia," Sauerland said in the statement.

Sauerland has not appeared in public since shortly after the disaster, and has communicated only in writing and through interviews with selected newspapers.

But if Sauerland, who is from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat party, gets enough support from his fellow party members, he could stave off the vote of no-confidence.

Looking for answers

In the meantime, Sauerland has launched an inquiry into the handling of the Love Parade festival, in which 21 people where killed on July 24, and over 500 injured. On Monday, five people were still being treated in hospital. The dead were crushed as they were led into an overcrowded access tunnel to the techno music festival.

Around 1,000 Duisburg residents have signed a petition demanding Sauerland's resignation. The Left party and the Social Democratic groups in the Duisburg city council have also called for him to step down. German President Christian Wulff said he should accept political responsibility, and pointed out that this did not mean he would be admitting personal guilt over the deaths.

An interim police report last Wednesday put the blame on organizers, listing a catalog of catastrophic mistakes in managing a crowd of hundreds of thousands on a site that was not suitable for that many people. Prosecutors have opened an investigation.

Author: Nicole Goebel (dpa/Reuters)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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