BERLIN, May 20 (Xinhua) -- German citizens placed much more trust in local politicians than in European or national political actors, according to a survey published by the Bertelsmann Foundation on Monday.
Almost 64 percent of Germans surveyed placed "great" or "very great" trust in local mayors while 48 percent said the same for local politicians.
The vast majority of Germans believed that local authorities "make a major contribution to solving problems" in childcare, education and school, as well as sports and leisure facilities, according to the survey.
Only 28 percent of German respondents said that they trusted federal politicians, while 32 percent trusted in European politicians.
More than 80 percent of Germans wanted more opportunities to have a say beyond elections, which showed that "expectations of participation opportunities have thus fundamentally changed in recent decades," according to the survey.
"Democracy thrives on participation. That is why it is particularly important for people to vote," said Brigitte Mohn, member of the executive board at the Bertelsmann Foundation.
Only by voting could Germans "influence political decisions at the local level and thus the shaping of their community and living space," stressed Mohn.
At the same time, voter turnout in German local elections had developed negatively over the long term and dropped well below 50 percent in some federal states at the last local elections, according to the survey.
Many citizens seemed "to recognize the relevance of local elections, but still do not participate in them," the Bertelsmann Foundation noted.
"Older people expressed a clearly above-average intention to vote in both local and European elections and their confidence in politics is significantly higher than in other age groups," Kirsten Witte, director for the livable community program at Bertelsmann, told Xinhua on Monday.
According to the Bertelsmann survey, one of the reasons for low turnout in local elections was a lower level of interest in local politics in Germany of 66 percent, compared to 78 percent of Germans who were most interested in federal politics.
The number of Germans who did not feel sufficiently involved in local decision-making was "relatively high" at 55 percent and even higher in large cities, where two out of three Germans were dissatisfied.
In view of the fact that only 25 percent of local German council members and less than 10 percent of German mayors were women, 54 percent of Germans surveyed considered it "important" to "very important" that more women were represented in local councils or district assemblies.
"The desire for a higher proportion of women is much more pronounced among older people than among middle-aged people," Bertelsmann program director Witte told Xinhua.
Local elections will be held in 10 of Germany's federal states alongside the elections for the European Parliament on May 26.