The Berlin Spectator
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Berlin: Back to Square One

The case is clear: Because thousands of Berliners did not have the opportunity to vote properly, the last elections will be repeated. Both the Greens and the CDU want to take over Red City Hall from Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey.

Berlin, November 17th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — On September 26th of last year, the Berlin Marathon was the only event in the city that took place without issues. Tigist Assefa from Ethiopia and Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya showed exceptional performances and won.

Sensational Win

In the same city and on the same day, someone else scored a similar, sensational win, namely Franziska Giffey. Before election day, many thought she would not be able to turn the tide and become stronger than the Greens were in the polls, also because of her plagiarism scandal that cost her the Family Ministry. But then, on the last few kilometers, she reached high speeds and crossed the finish line earlier than the others, just like her fellow Social Democrats (SPD) Olaf Scholz on the national level and Manuela Schwesig up there in Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania, on the same day.

Franziska Giffey and her predecessor Michael Müller could be the last Social-Democratic Governing Mayors for a while. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Now, Mrs. Giffey’s problem is that Berlin’s last state election was annulled by the federal state’s Constitutional Court. She is back to square one. The question is: Can she do it again, against all odds? The election rerun is supposed to take place in February. Will Franziska Giffey be able to overtake the left-wing Greens and the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), who are both ahead of her SPD in the latest polls?

Bavarian Accent

Later today, the Governing Mayor will make a government statement at the Berlin House of Representatives. On Wednesday, she had already said her Senate would not contest the court decision. This time, the elections would be prepared well. As she accurately stated, she was not Governing Mayor when those problems surfaced on Super Sunday in September of 2021, meaning she does not want the voters to make her responsible for something she had no influence on at all. Whether this aspect will help her will be seen.

Bettina Jarasch intends to take over Red City Hall. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Bettina Jarasch, her Senator for the Environment and Mobility, wants her job. The Green politician who still has a slight Bavarian accent, because she originally is from Augsburg, and who is just as likeable as Mrs. Giffey, but not quite as outgoing, has the numbers she needs in the polls. Her problem is that far less Berliners know her. But her party is very strong.

Third Contender

Mrs. Jarasch told the RBB radio and TV network, it was time for a change at the top. She stated she wanted to continue governing the city state with the SPD and ‘Die Linke’, Mrs. Giffey’s second junior partner, a far-left party, but this time she wanted to lead. Imagining Franziska Giffey as a junior partner in a coalition with Bettina Jarasch as Governing Mayor is difficult. Someone else in the SPD would probably have to do it, if at all.

Kai Wegner could become Governing Mayor of Berlin. Photo CDU Berlin

There is another contender who wants to become Governing Mayor. Kai Wegner of the CDU. In the latest polls, his party is about as strong as the Greens. He stated Berlin’s Constitutional Court had made clear that democratic rules applied to everyone, including the SPD. Responsible politicians would have spared Berlin this humiliation, Wegner said. At the same time, this was a chance for a new start. Berlin could finally become a city in which things worked. Of course, Kai Wegner would need a coalition partner. Maybe a third-placed SPD would do it, or the Greens, if the SPD refuses to become their junior partner.

Related article: Court Decision in Berlin: State Elections Need to be Repeated

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