Capital: Government formation in Berlin: CDU and SPD begin talks

Capital city
Government formation in Berlin: CDU and SPD begin talks

CDU top candidate Kai Wegner (l, CDU) and Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (r, SPD) come together for exploratory talks. photo

© Annette Riedl/dpa

A change could be imminent in the Red City Hall: After the repeat election in Berlin, a new coalition is at stake, and negotiations will begin today. There is also a headwind for SPD leader Giffey.

A good three and a half weeks after the repeat elections in Berlin, the victorious CDU and SPD begin coalition negotiations on a black-red state government. This Thursday (10:00 a.m.) the umbrella group is to meet for the first time, the core team of negotiators from both sides. From the beginning of next week, 13 working groups will meet regularly. The coalition agreement should be available in early April.

If both parties agree, there will be a change in the Red Town Hall. The SPD has governed with the Greens and the Left since 2016. In a coalition with the CDU, Kai Wegner is to become the first Christian Democratic mayor since 2001. An alliance between Christian and Social Democrats last existed in Berlin from 2011 to 2016, at that time with the CDU as junior partner.

Giffey would become a senator

The current incumbent and SPD state chairwoman Franziska Giffey wants to do without the red town hall for black and red, but has declared her willingness to become a senator in the new state government. If her previous coalition had continued, she could have remained head of government.

There has been a lot of criticism of the SPD’s decision to negotiate a two-party alliance with the CDU, and not only from the Greens and the Left. The Berlin Jusos have announced a campaign against black and red, and there is also resistance in some SPD district associations. Green parliamentary group leader Werner Graf recently called on the Berlin SPD members to vote against a coalition of CDU and SPD in a member vote.

In Berlin, the election to the House of Representatives had to be repeated due to numerous mishaps. According to the official result, the CDU won on February 12 with 28.2 percent. SPD and Greens both got 18.4 percent. The Social Democrats only had a small lead over the Greens with 53 votes. The left came to 12.2 percent, the AfD to 9.1. The FDP flew out of parliament with 4.6 percent.

No double department planned

According to information from the circle of negotiators, there are expected to be five Senate posts for the SPD and CDU. A double department for the current Prime Minister Giffey has not been agreed. Such a “super ministry” is viewed critically because there are only around three and a half years left until the end of the legislative period. Restructuring Senate administrations does not seem sensible, because too much time would be lost as a result.

The negotiations should last until the end of March, the working groups are said to meet from March 13th to 26th. The coalition agreement should be ready at the beginning of April. In the case of the CDU, a party conference must then agree, the SPD has planned a member vote.

“We have set ourselves a tight schedule because Berlin has no time to lose,” Wegner told the German Press Agency. In the areas of administration, transport, security, housing and education, the aim is to find solutions quickly. Giffey had announced that he would pay attention to a clear social democratic handwriting. “In the exploratory talks, we found many substantive overlaps between the two parties in trusting discussions,” she said. She now expects professional and speedy consultations for the coalition negotiations.

SPD state and faction leader Raed Saleh outlined his party’s demands before the negotiations began. In the Berlin Tagesspiegel, he ruled out a further extension of Autobahn 100 to the east and wants to promote the expansion of free education and an increase in the state minimum wage of 13 euros.


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