Berlin state election, 2011
The last Berlin state election was held on 18 September 2011, to elect members to the Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Deputies) of Berlin. All 141 seats were up for election. Berlin was governed by a coalition between the Social Democratic Party and The Left at the time. Current mayor Klaus Wowereit was the favourite heading into Sunday's election.
The SPD won the most seats, 48, despite losing five. The Left also lost three seats, making a renewal of the two parties' red-red coalition impossible. The centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) gained two seats to 39, putting them in second place, while the Greens gained seven to finish third, with 30. The Free Democratic Party lost three-quarters of its votes and all its seats. Meanwhile, the Berlin chapter of the Pirate Party, in its first Berlin state election, won fifteen seats: the first time it had won election to a Landtag anywhere in Germany.
Issues and campaign
Christian Democratic Union
The Christian Democrats (CDU) considers safety on the Berlin U-Bahn an issue after a number of attacks on the property of the U-Bahn. The CDU was using the images from attacks with the word "Safe?". The postcards have since been recalled. The CDU has posted billboards with a photo of its top candidate that also shows figures that compare the number of police officers cut from the force by the Red-Red Coalition with the number of crimes committed on the city's buses and U-Bahn trains. Nils Diederich, a professor of political science at the Free University of Berlin, stated that this will not be much of an issue since there is a positive mood within the city.
Social Democratic Party
The Social Democrats (SPD) top candidate and mayor Klaus Wowereit stated, after "well-publicized attacks" in late winter and spring, that he plans to heighten security by increasing the number of police officers by 200 and lengthening the time video surveillance recordings are kept before being erased from 24 to 48 hours.
Election results and analysis
The Free Democratic Party (FDP) representation was removed from the Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin after they failed to reach the 5% threshold. This was the fifth time in 2011 in Germany that the Free Democrats failed to obtain representation in a state parliament. They also lost representation in Saxony-Anhalt, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bremen and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg are the only states in which they reached the 5% electoral threshold in that year. The win in Berlin marks the 7th time out of seven elections in 2011 that the Social Democrats got into government.
On 21 September 2011, election officials found that the results of the Green Party and The Left were inadvertently swapped in the Lichtenberg district. Evrim Baba-Sommer of the Green Party will replace Karin Seidel-Kalmutzki of the Social Democratic Party.
On 22 September 2011, Norbert Kopp, the district mayor for Steglitz-Zehlendorf, confirmed at least 379 postal ballots had found their way into the bin of a block of flats. The ballots were properly sent to the Zehlendorf city hall and the votes could change a number of the local council seats. The police have started an investigation over the incident.
Initially, the Social Democrats concentrated on forming a coalition with the Greens. However, on 5 October 2011, coalition talks between the SPD and the Greens broke down. The disagreement was about the extension of Bundesautobahn 100. The Green Party platform had insisted on not extending the Bundesautobahn 100. The Social Democrats offered a compromise to not go ahead with the 3.2 km extension A100 if the €420 million provided by the federal government could be invested in other transportation infrastructure projects. However, the federal government rejected the possibility of transferring the money to other projects. Green Party head Bettina Jarasch stated that “There was not really the will within the SPD to work together with us on a coalition” while the Berliner Zeitung wrote that "the left-wing of the SPD felt Wowereit and Müller had actually wanted to form a coalition with the CDU and had deliberately put the Greens in an impossible situation." Michael Müller, chairman of Berlin chapter of the Social Democratic Party, had "threatened to look towards the CDU" over the past weekend, because the Greens "stuck to their opposition to the motorway extension". Müller pointed out to the Greens "that the Red-Green coalition would only have a one-vote majority compared to the stable 10-vote majority which would be achieved in coalition with the CDU". Wolfgang Thierse, deputy Parliamentary group leader, stated "that he was surprised and a little disappointed at the breakdown of talks" and "Just as Red-Green would not have been heaven for Berlin, Red-Black would not be hell". Renate Künast, leader of the Berlin Chapter of the Green Party, stated that Klaus Wowereit "wanted a surrender, and no coalition".
The Social Democrats therefore continued talks with the Christian Democrats so that a grand coalition that would govern Berlin was finalized on 16 November 2011. According to the 100-page coalition agreement, Wowereit will continue as mayor. Also, each party receives four ministries: Social Democrats will be in charge of the Finance, City development/Environment, Education/Youth/Science, and Jobs/Integration/Women portfolios, whereas the Christian Democrats will have Interior/Sports, Economy/Technology/Research, Health/Social, and Justice/Consumer protection. Disagreements between the two parties have been settled. There will be for example a "City tax" of 5% for hotel guests beginning in 2013 and the minimum wage for public contract jobs will increase by €1 per hour (currently at €7.50). Plans were dropped for making teachers civil servants again and requiring property owners to contribute to street improvement costs. Wowereit summarised the talks by saying “We want Berlin to become richer and to stay sexy.”
|| NPD, DVU, REP
|| All others|
|Info GMBH||31 March 2011||32%||19%||11%||29%||3 %||–||6%|
|Forsa institute||26 March 2011||29%||19%||13%||24%||3 %||–||12%|
|Info GMBH||6 March 2011||29.6%||20.2%||12.5%||22.2%||3.7 %||2.4%||9.3%|
|Forsa||25 February 2011||30%||18%||13%||23%||4 %||–||12%|
|Infratest dimap||16 February 2011||28%||23%||16%||23%||3 %||–||7 %|
|Forsa||15 January 2011||28%||19%||14%||24%||3 %||–||12%|
|Infratest dimap||10 January 2011||29%||20%||17%||25%||4 %||–||5 %|
|Forsa||18 December 2010||27%||19%||15%||25%||4 %||–||10%|
|Infratest dimap||8 December 2010||27%||21%||17%||27%||3 %||–||5 %|
|Forsa||27 November 2010||26%||18%||16%||28%||3 %||–||9 %|
|Forsa||1 November 2010||27%||17%||14%||29%||3 %||–||10%|
|Infratest dimap||27 October 2010||22%||20%||17%||30%||3 %||–||8 %|
|Forsa||1 October 2010||26%||16%||15%||30%||3 %||–||10%|
|Emnid||13 September 2010||28%||19%||15%||25%||4 %||–||9 %|
|Infratest dimap||8 September 2010||24%||22%||16%||28%||4 %||–||6 %|
|Social Democratic Party of Germany||413,124||28.3%||−2.5%||48||−5|
|Christian Democratic Union||340,992||23.4%||+2.1%||39||+2|
|Alliance '90/The Greens||256,940||17.6%||+4.5%||30||+7|
|Pirate Party Germany||129,795||8.9%||N/A||15||+15|
|National Democratic Party||31,243||2.1%||−0.4%||0||±0|
|Free Democratic Party||26,916||1.8%||−5.8%||0||−13|
|Human Environment Animal Protection||21,612||1.5%||+0.6%||0||±0|
|Pro Germany Citizens' Movement||17,829||1.2%||N/A||0||N/A|
|^A Compared to the Party of Democratic Socialism and Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative combined.|
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