The ÖDP state chairmen Agnes Becker and Tobias Ruff lead the Bavarian ÖDP as top candidates in the state election campaign. The delegates of the small party voted unanimously for the dual leadership at their state party conference at the weekend in Regensburg.
Becker, 42, a trained carpenter and veterinarian, became known throughout Bavaria as the initiator of the popular initiative “Biodiversity – Save the Bees”. She runs a small organic farm in Wegscheid in the Bavarian Forest as a part-time job and is a member of the district council in the district of Passau. The 46-year-old Ruff is a forest engineer, water ecologist and chairman of the ÖDP city council group in Munich. Becker and Ruff have been party leaders of the Bavarian ÖDP since April 2022.
“We will prioritize existential issues that are not dealt with by the parliamentary parties,” Becker announced in her speech to the delegates. She cited the extinction of species as an example. From her point of view, it is “even more dangerous than all other crises that are currently burdening our society. This is about the network of life and ultimately about our nutrition”. The top candidates described the announcement by Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger (FW) at a public festival speech that he would “fight a reduction in the use of pesticides” as “irresponsible”.
The ÖDP also criticizes Prime Minister Markus Söder’s demand for natural gas to be extracted through fracking. If the ÖDP manages to make it into the state parliament, it will first apply there to protect the groundwater with its own constitutional article. There is of course a long way to go until then. In the 2018 state elections, the small party, which sees itself as a value-conservative alternative to the Greens, won just 1.6 percent. So far, she has only played a role in state politics because of her extensive experience with referendums. The bee referendum, for example, which she was responsible for organizing in 2018, was supported by 18.3 percent of those eligible to vote in Bavaria. It was the most successful referendum in the Free State to date.