The conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has hopes of winning regional elections in Berlin for the first time since 1999. In the image from January 23, 2023, a poster with CDU candidate for mayor Kai Wegner.
Berlin – Residents of Berlin will decide on a new regional government in the German capital on Sunday. They go to the polls after a year and a half, because the previous vote was accompanied by such confusion and errors that the Berlin Constitutional Court ordered the election to be repeated. Polls favor the opposition conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), but its lead has been significantly reduced in recent days by the Social Democracy (SPD) of current mayor Franziska Giffeyová. In addition, in case of victory, the CDU faces a difficult search for a coalition partner.
The failed regional elections in September 2021 were held in Berlin together with local referendums and also with federal elections, which will also be partially repeated in the metropolis later. It was the combination of several votes that led to problems. Difficulties were evident at the time of the opening of polling stations, where long queues formed due to poor organization, problems with lists and missing tickets. People waited in queues to vote even after the official end of the election. At the time, extensive traffic closures due to the simultaneous running of the marathon also contributed to the problems, so polling stations could not be easily supplied.
The new head of the Berlin Election Commission, Stephan Bröchler, assures that there is no longer any risk of complications. Even at his insistence, the city decided to hold only elections to the regional Chamber of Deputies on Sunday and to postpone the originally considered referendum on speeding up climate neutrality. Berlin also invited international observers to the vote, to whom it wants to prove that the city can hold elections. Among other things, representatives of the Council of Europe have been announced, but the invited observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will also not arrive.
After the elections in September 2021, the mayor Giffey's coalition of social democrats with the Greens and the post-communist Left took over the leadership of the city. According to polls, this grouping would have enough votes to continue in the government, but the polls promise victory for the conservatives. The CDU put its full force into the campaign and now has the hope of winning the regional elections in Berlin for the first time since 1999.
Post-election negotiations will decide whether Conservative leader Kai Wegner becomes mayor. But it will be difficult for him to get a strong coalition partner, as both the Greens and the SPD indicate a willingness to remain in the current government. Political opponents thus refer to Wegner as a king without a country. Analysts therefore do not rule out that the CDU will not win the mayoral seat. The last time she held it was in 2001, when the conservative Eberhard Diepgen resigned after ten years in office after early elections.
According to the current survey of the public broadcaster ZDF on Sunday, the CDU will win with 25 percent, followed by the Social Democrats with 21 percent. Greens with 17 percent. In recent weeks, the SPD has seen a significant increase in popularity and has overtaken the Green Party, which has so far been second in the polls. This partly repeats the situation before the previous regional elections, when the Greens ran out of breath at the end of the campaign.
According to the ZDF, the Left with 11 percent, the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) with ten percent and the liberal the Free Democrats (FDP) with six percent.
The regional elections in September 2021 were won by the Social Democrats (21.4 percent) followed by the Greens (18.9 percent), the CDU (18 percent) and the Left (14.1 percent). At the time, the AfD received eight percent of the vote and the FDP 7.1 percent.