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HomeWorldScholz's party suffers worst defeat since World War II in Berlin election

Scholz’s party suffers worst defeat since World War II in Berlin election


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The Social Democrats of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz suffered a defeat on Sunday (12) in the regional parliamentary elections in Berlin, falling second to their conservative rivals, according to exit estimates.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won about 28% of the vote, while Scholz’s SPD won 18%, its worst post-war result. The chancellor’s party had ruled Berlin for 22 years, in a coalition with the green environmentalists and the far-left Die Linke. The Greens and Die Linke had 18% and 13% of the vote respectively.

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“Berlin chose change,” CDU lead candidate Kai Wegner said of the results, adding there was a clear mandate for his party to form a state government.

The vote could oust leftist mayor Franziska Giffey well before the end of her term. Giffey acknowledged defeat in the election but said the CDU still needed a stable majority to govern the German capital.

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“We should see very clearly that this result first shows that Berliners are not satisfied with what exists. They want things to be different,” said Giffey.

Sunday’s rerun – ordered after the September 2021 election was overturned for irregularities including long queues and incorrect ballots – is yet another item on the list of accusations from those who see the capital as a mess that belies the reputation of efficiency in Germany.

The SPD appears to have suffered from the violence and chaos that gripped Berlin last year, when firefighters and police were attacked with firecrackers in neighborhoods inhabited mainly by immigrants. The conservative opposition accused the city of negligence and launched a heated debate about the failure of the integration policy in these neighborhoods.

Negotiations to form a new coalition government in Berlin, however, look complicated. Before the election, no party, except the liberal FDP, said it was willing to ally with the conservatives to govern.

Berlin is a regional state within the federal system that exists in Germany and a change of government can have repercussions on the federal parliament.

The election comes at a time when the country is reeling from inflation and there is debate over delivering arms to Ukraine to face a Russian invasion.

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