May 28, 2024

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Berlin gets its first conservative mayor in more than 20 years |  outside

Berlin gets its first conservative mayor in more than 20 years | outside

The city of Berlin will soon be led by a conservative mayor, the first in more than 20 years. This is evidenced today by the draft alliance agreement between the conservative CDU and the Social Democratic Socialist Party.

Seven weeks after a landslide victory in the local elections with 28.2 percent of the vote, CDU leader Kai Wegner and outgoing SPD mayor Franziska Giffe have set the priorities for the new team.

And the Social Democrats, the party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, suffered a crushing blow in the mid-February elections with 18.4 percent, its worst result since the end of World War II. The Social Democrats are the second largest party, by a small margin of votes ahead of the Greens, and will be the “junior partner” in the new government in the German capital, which it has led continuously since 2001.

“The best for Berlin, that will be our motto,” says Wegener, 50, who himself came from the city and will become the first conservative mayor since Eberhard Diepgen (1991-2001). In recent years, a coalition of social democrats, greens and the radical left has led the city of Berlin (Die Linke).

Affordable living and public transportation

One of the priorities of the new team will be to provide affordable housing. “Nobody here wants a situation like Paris and London,” said Raed Saleh, leader of the Social Democratic Party’s parliamentary faction in the upper house of Berlin. The German capital, where living was relatively cheap for a long time, has faced a modernizing center and rising housing costs for a decade, but has failed to turn the tide.

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The new coalition also wants to keep the monthly subscription for public transport in the city at 29 euros. The action was introduced in favor of the environment in October last year by the previous team. Salih also pushed for the city’s “struggle against Islamophobia, along with anti-Semitism and the far right”.

Current Mayor Franziska Giffe (SPD) and future Berlin Mayor Kai Wegener (CDU) presenting the draft coalition agreement between the two parties. © Reuters

The CDU and SPD in Berlin have yet to give the green light to the submitted draft agreement, which paves the way for a transfer of power to Wegener.

The February 12 vote had to be held due to the cancellation of the September 2021 election, which was won by the Social Democrats but marked by unprecedented organizational problems.

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