February 26. 2024. 6:51

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Conservatives secure clear lead in Berlin rerun election

The conservative CDU was crowned the clear winner in the rerun regional election in the traditionally left-leaning capital on Sunday, ousting the Social Democrats but likely not denying the rule of a future left-wing coalition.

While Berlin held regional elections in 2021 that put Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) in the top spot, allowing it to continue to rule with the Greens and the far-left Die Linke, a series of blunders on election day prompted regional authorities to find the election invalid and hold a rerun.

In Sunday’s elections, the CDU charged far ahead with 28% of votes according to the Sunday night projection – a plus of 10 percentage points.

Trailing far behind were the SPD, led in Berlin by Scholz’s confidante Franziska Giffey, with 18.5%, which has governed the region of Berlin for 22 years.

“This is not a nice result,” federal party co-chief Lars Klingbeil admitted Sunday on public TV.

Playing on the chaotic organisation of the original election, the conservatives painted a picture of a disorganised and ineffective left-wing coalition, with slogans like “Berlin finally needs to function.”

Still, the current governing coalition in Berlin would still be able to govern.

Lacking an absolute majority or viable partners to form a coalition with, the CDU would likely not be able to take their result further and would leave it to the Greens, the SPD and Die Linke, who form a majority together, to rule Berlin again.

Meanwhile, liberal FPD, equally a governing party on the federal level, could take a severe hit: With 4.7% in the latest projections, the party might fail to pass the 5% threshold and thus not make it into the regional parliament.

For the Liberals, it is the latest in a series of regional election disappointments which have prompted the party to try and “sharpen its profile” by seeking confrontation with its federal coalition partners.

(Julia Dahm | EURACTIV.de)