She is only the second woman at this point: Berlin’s SPD executive committee unanimously nominates Franziska Giffey as the top candidate – Berlin


© Gregor Fischer / dpa

Ulrich Zawatka-Gerlach

At the weekend Giffey was elected state chairman with a convincing result, now she is to become the governing mayor.

The new SPD state chairman Franziska Giffey was nominated early Monday evening by the Berlin SPD leadership as the top candidate for the House of Representatives election on September 26, 2021.

Actually, this act – only symbolic in terms of voting rights – was supposed to take place on December 19 at an SPD state party conference. At the same time, the SPD state list for the federal election was to be decided at a state representative assembly. Both fail due to the pandemic.

The SPD state executive unanimously elected the federal family minister, with two abstentions, as the top candidate. She would be the second woman to lead the Berlin Social Democrats in an election campaign for the House of Representatives.

In 1995 the then Social and Health Senator Ingrid Stahmer prevailed against the inner-party competitor Walter Momper, who was head of government in 1989/90. But internal party quarrels at federal and state level and a poorly conducted election campaign left Stahmer no chance. At that time, the SPD lost 23.6 percent of the vote to the Christian Democrats under the leadership of Eberhard Diepgen, who got 37.4 percent. But Stahmer remained a senator, responsible for schools, youth and sports.

Today the SPD could be quite satisfied with a result of around 24 percent. The party in Berlin, which, with Michael Müller, has been the governing mayor since the end of 2014, is currently around 18 percent in surveys, well behind the CDU and the Greens. The Social Democrats hope, with Giffey, to become the strongest party in Berlin again by autumn next year.

Giffey is only on the ballot papers in Neukölln

On the ballot papers, however, Giffey will only be the top candidate in Neukölln. Because the Berlin SPD, like the CDU and FDP, traditionally competes with district lists. Accordingly, the top candidates for each district are on the ballot papers.

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Due to the corona crisis, the SPD will probably not determine its district lists, constituency candidates and applicants for the Bundestag until February or March next year, because the right to vote obliges the parties to vote their candidates at face-to-face events.

As a constituency candidate, Giffey will run in the newly designed constituency of Rudow, which extends into the flower district and Gropiusstadt. There she has to compete against the district councilor and vice-district chief of the Neukölln CDU, Olaf Schenk, who is quite a serious competitor, because this urban region has long been in Christian Democratic hands.

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