Germany: SPD of Olaf Scholz loses elections in Berlin Parliament

This is a very symbolic failure for the German Social Democratic Party, confirming its strong erosion for several months.


The Social Democratic Party (SPD) of the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, suffered a bitter setback on Sunday, February 12 during a very symbolic local election in Berlin, his fief for more than twenty years. Even if this defeat was played mainly on local issues, she intervenes while at the national plans Olaf Scholz is criticized in particular for her procrastination regarding the military support of Ukraine.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of ex-chancellius Angela Merkel came at the top of the election for the local parliament of the German capital with some 28 % of the votes. Social Democrats must be satisfied with 18 % of votes according to the first estimates of the ARD and ZDF channels. The SPD even seems to be relegated to third position, behind environmentalists who are given between 18.2 % and 18.7 % by these chains. The outgoing mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, spoke of a “bitter evening” and a “difficult situation” for his party.

This is the first time since 1999 that the SPD has been preceded by the Conservatives. The party of Olaf Scholz risks having trouble under these conditions to keep the post of mayor of the city -state of Berlin which he has been holding for more than twenty years – even if arithmetically, according to the first figures, he could keep A majority of seats with its current coalition partners, environmentalists and the radical left.

During the last ballot in the local parliament in 2021, the SPD had still managed to go out in the lead, with just over 21 %. But the election had been marked by dysfunctions which led to its cancellation and a new ballot, a first. The election of Sunday took place under the gaze of international observers of the Council of Europe, invited by the City to restore confidence.

The SPD seems to have been penalized by the scenes of violence during the New Year’s night, when firefighters and Berlin police were targeted by fireworks in certain districts with a large immigrant population. The conservative opposition accused the municipal majority of laxity.

These results confirm the trends observed at the national level for several months, namely a strong erosion of the social democratic party, a progression of the conservative opposition and also of the formation of the extreme right alternative for Germany (AFD ), in a climate of inflation, debate on delivery of arms to Ukraine and fears in part of the opinion caused by the large number of migrants in the country, notably Ukrainians.

Negotiations to form a new majority coalition in Berlin promise to be very difficult. Apart from the FDP liberals, no training said, before the election, to govern with the Conservatives.

The Berlin election, without calling into question the national coalition in power around Mr. Scholz, may however weaken the chancellor. Berlin is a full-fledged region state, and the change in the majority of which is profiled could have repercussions on one of the two chambers of the Federal Parliament, the Bundesrat, representing the sixteen Länder.

/Media reports cited above.