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Berlin: Michael Müller Defeats Competitor in Race for Bundestag Candidacy

Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller is being treated like a doormat, for instance by his own party. Now he won an important race against a difficult competitor.

Berlin, October 29th, 2020 (The Berlin Spectator) — Michael Müller’s chances to become an MP at the Berlin Bundestag just increased substantially. In a member survey initiated by his Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin’s Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district, he got 58.4 percent and defeated his own State Secretary.

Important Hurdle

The decision will have to be confirmed by the SPD’s election district conference next month. Since the result of the survey is not binding, his win is not complete yet, but an important hurdle has been taken. While this partial win must be a relief for Müller, the reasons for which he even got to this point are rather disturbing.

Michael Müller is 55 years old, a father of two, separated, and from Berlin’s Tempelhof borough. He ran his family’s printing house in that neighborhood until 2011. Six years ago, he became Governing Mayor of Berlin. In spite of performing well on many fields, he was humiliated all the time, mostly by his own people, but also by certain dailies that are being printed in Berlin.

Likable and Modest

The voters punished him by giving his SPD the worst election result ever. Until today, it is unclear what exactly they punished him for. Müller’s coalition partners, the far-left ‘Die Linke’ and the left-wing ecologist Greens gave him headaches several times along the way. Then they overtook him in the polls. At this stage, the Berlin Greens are much stronger than the SPD.

Müller may not be the most thrilling rhetorician on Earth, but he mostly performed well, including on the big stage, when the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Airlift were celebrated. Besides, he is not among those arrogant self-exposers Berlin has quite a few of, but a likeable, modest person.

Convention on Halloween

In spite of it all, or because of it all, he was basically ousted by his own party. He will not be Governing Mayor for much longer. The Berlin SPD dropped Müller and intends to replace him with Franziska Giffey, who is Germany’s Family Minister right now. This coming Saturday, on Halloween, the Berlin SPD was going to vote for his successor at a party convention. It was just cancelled because of Corona.

On the federal level, the SPD did not vote Michael Müller back into its board a few months ago, which must have been both frustrating and humiliating. Then, Kevin Kühnert, a party colleague from the same neighborhood, took over the Tempelhof-Schöneberg electoral district for the Bundestag elections next year.

Conservative Competitor

So Müller applied for the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district. There, he was challenged by an employee of his, Sawsan Chebli, a controversial figure in Berlin, to say the least. The State Secretary for Federal Affairs and Civic Participation at Red City Hall ran against her boss for the Charlottenburg candidacy. She just lost with 40.2 percent.

But the light at the end of the tunnel is far away. If Müller is confirmed as candidate for the Bundestag in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf by the election district conference over there, he will still have to defeat a popular CDU member, namely Klaus-Dieter Gröhler.

Deserved Spot

In case it does not work, Müller has another opportunity to get into the Bundestag, at least in theory. The SPD would have to put him at the top of the list of candidates for Berlin. But there are those who would rather drop him instead. Whether his supporters will manage to give him the spot he deserves as Governing Mayor, and as the man who delivered almost all the time, is unclear. What this particular matter is concerned, the outcome will be known on December 19th.

The elections, both the ones for the Bundestag and those for the Berlin House of Representatives, will take place in the fall of next year.

For now, it remains to be seen what happens this coming Saturday. Will Michael Müller even be Governing Mayor next week? He probably will. On the other hand, if his party keeps on humiliating him in spite of his mostly convincing performance, especially during the ongoing Corona crisis, he might step down.