In an election thriller lasting several hours, the Berlin House of Representatives elected a CDU politician as Governing Mayor for the first time in more than 20 years. The 50-year-old Kai Wegner only got enough votes in the third ballot to succeed SPD politician Franziska Giffey. In the secret ballot, he received 86 yes votes, just as many as the coalition partners CDU and SPD together have in deputies. 70 MPs voted against Wegner in the third ballot. The AfD parliamentary group then declared that it had voted for Wegner in the third ballot. Wegner accepted the election.
Wegner failed in the first two ballots. He initially got 71 yes votes, in the second attempt 79 votes. An absolute majority of 80 votes was required for the first two ballots. The new Berlin coalition of the CDU and SPD has 86 votes and the opposition of the Greens, Left and AfD has 73. The CDU and SPD in Berlin will each have five senators in the future.
The dramatic vote brought back memories of the election of former mayor Klaus Wowereit in 2006. The SPD politician was only re-elected in the second ballot with the narrowest majority of one vote.
After Wegner failed twice, politicians from the CDU and SPD blamed each other for the election drama. Former member of parliament Wegner is at the head of a black-red alliance that was formed after the repeat elections in February. Wegner is the first governing mayor from the ranks of the CDU after Eberhard Diepgen, who held this office until June 2001.
New black-red alliance
The new coalition of CDU and SPD replaces the alliance of SPD, Left and Greens that had governed Berlin since 2016. Unlike the SPD, there had been no public discussions about the black-red alliance among the Berlin Christian Democrats. At a CDU party conference, the coalition agreement passed without a dissenting vote, while the SPD’s approval in a member vote was fairly narrow at 54.3 percent.
Wegner’s predecessor, Giffey, will take over the post of Economics Senator in the new Senate. The CDU emerged as the strongest party from the repeat elections in February, relegating the SPD and the Greens to their places. Giffey was then ready to resign from office for the black-red coalition. The vote in February had become necessary because there had been numerous organizational breakdowns in the regular parliamentary elections in autumn 2021.
kle/uh (dpa, rtr, afp)