Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats suffered a severe setback in the Berlin elections

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool) (JOHANNA GERON/)

The social democrats of the German chancellor Olaf Schölz suffered a severe setback in a regional survey in berlin on Sunday, falling behind the opposition Conservatives in the capital for the first time in more than two decades.

Although the Berlin vote revolved around local issues, the disappointing defeat comes as Scholz faces widespread criticism for his faltering military support for Ukraine after last year’s Russian invasion.

In a court-ordered replay of the 2021 election, the chancellor’s party won its worst post-war result in the capital, where he has held the mayor’s office since 2001.

the conservative CDUin the opposition in the city and in the federal Parliament, rose to about 28%, compared to 18%.

Courts have ordered Berlin, one of the country’s 16 federal states, to return to the polls after the 2021 election was deemed not to meet basic democratic standards amid widespread voting problems.

Problems for the coalition

The result of the repetition of the elections calls into question the continuity of the coalition between the social democratsthe Green and the extreme left party linke.

“If we have the opportunity to form a government led by the SPD, we will try to organize a stable majority for it,” declared the current Social Democratic mayor. Franziska Giffey to the ZDF after the first estimates.

The mayor of Berlin Franziska Giffey (REUTERS/Lisi Niesner)
The mayor of Berlin Franziska Giffey (REUTERS/Lisi Niesner) (LISI NIESNER/)

But early figures suggested that its coalition partner, the Green, could end up ahead of the Social Democrats with around 18.5% of the vote. The match linkefor its part, would be around 13% of the votes.

Giffey and the Social Democrats appear to have been penalized by voters after the violent scenes lived in the capital during the New Yearin which revelers attacked emergency services with fireworks in neighborhoods with a large immigrant population.

The conservative opposition accused the Berlin administration of not knowing how to control the situation and sparked a city-wide debate on integration.

The elections were also marked by the discontent with the rise in rental prices in the capital and disputes over transport policy.}

Rubbish litters a street during New Year's celebrations in Berlin, Germany January 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/File Photo)
Garbage litters a street during New Year’s celebrations in Berlin, Germany January 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/File Photo) (MICHELE TANTUSSI/)

The election result reflects the struggles of the Social Democrats at the national level, while the Scholz government – in power for just over a year – faces a runaway inflation and to the aftermath of the war in Ukraine.

Scholz’s coalition difficulties with the Greens and the liberal FDP have benefited opposition parties.

Together with the conservative CDU, the far-right AfD He slightly increased his percentage of the vote to around 9 percent in the repeat of the elections on Sunday, according to estimates.

marathon vote

The rerun of the polls in Berlin is the second time in post-war German history that a state election has been declared void, after irregularities were reported in a vote in hamburg in 1991.

The organization of the 2021 elections on the same day as a national vote, a local referendum on housing and the Berlin marathon had caused logistical problems widespread.

Ballot papers got stuck in traffic as roads were closed for the race, and queues formed outside polling stations to process votes.

Sunday’s elections were held under the watchful eye of international election observers from the Council of Europe, invited by the city itself to restore confidence after the fiasco of 2021.

Berlin also summoned an army of 42,000 polling helpers – 8,000 more than last time – and gave polling stations extra ballots to avoid shortages.

The German Parliament has also decided that the national elections will be partly repeated in Berlin, although the date has not yet been set.

With information from AFP

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