Without a doctorate but in a good mood in the Red City Hall?


Franziska Giffey is looking for a way into Berlin state politics. According to the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, it should be the Red City Hall. The pressure on the SPD hopeful is immense.

Franziska Giffey still has big plans in Berlin. First, the capital’s SPD elected the Federal Family Minister on Saturday with a large majority, together with parliamentary group leader Raed Saleh, as the new dual leadership. “It’s going to be fine”, both were convinced in Berlin dialect. Immediately thereafter, she declared that she wanted to run as the top candidate in the 2021 House of Representatives election. The SPD, which is currently governing the capital with the Left and the Greens, wants to decide on this in the coming weeks. Hardly anyone doubts that Giffey will get a majority for that too.

If the SPD manages to become the strongest force in September 2016, as in 2016, the 42-year-old candidate Giffey would become the governing mayor. However, there are still a few stumbling blocks on the way to the Red Town Hall. Because she is considered to be the bearer of hope that many trust to lead the SPD out of the polls it has been in for years.

Allegations of plagiarism sparked discussions

But worries have been mixed in with the euphoria on display in much of the party since Giffey’s PhD and the plagiarism allegations against her again for discussion to care. Does that damage your credibility and slow down the SPD in the election campaign?

Actually, the topic seemed to be through: The Free University of Berlin (FU) decided in autumn 2019 that Giffey could keep her doctorate, but gave her a reprimand because of deficiencies in her work. Recently, after a lot of criticism and a further report, the FU announced a new test, which should be completed by the end of February.

Shortly afterwards, Giffey announced that she no longer had her doctorate, but wanted to remain Federal Family Minister. Last year, before the complaint by the FU, she announced that she would resign if her title should be revoked.

90 percent elected Giffey in the SPD chairmanship

The new test procedure does not make your start in state politics any easier. The opposition will not allow itself to be denied the permanent riot on the topic of doctorate. And so the election of the SPD chairwoman with a good result of almost 90 percent was an important first step for her new career at state level, but the real challenges are yet to come.

From SPD circles it was heard that there was definitely criticism of Giffey and her top candidate. The majority in the party see it differently – if only because there are no convincing alternatives. “If we saw them off, then we can wrap up,” says a prominent SPD member.

Some of the party left, who play a bigger role in Berlin than in many other regional associations, always think of Heinz Buschkowksy when they think of Giffey. The shirt-sleeved Mayor of Neukölln liked to play tough and less on left-wing soci. He is considered Giffey’s political foster father.

No consent from the left?

Some of her statements about public safety, for example, are reminiscent of the law and order friend from Neukölln, who Giffey succeeded in office. Not everyone likes that. Even if she emphasizes at the same time that social justice is a core competence of the SPD: Even as the new co-chair, Giffey cannot always rely on the consent of Links.

But the large majority in their election shows that the hope for the charisma of the 42-year-olds, who since her time as Neukölln’s district mayor, has cultivated the image of the gripping, citizen-friendly politician, outweighs skepticism. The fact that she could lose her doctorate is considered a blemish among Berlin’s social democrats – regardless of the spectrum – at best.

Motto: Close your eyes and go through

In the party it is said that even if she were to resign as Federal Minister, that would not be a reason to give up the top candidacy. The motto of the Berlin SPD is: Close your eyes and through – after all, the voters have the last word.

Giffey himself answered the question on Saturday: “I said to the comrades:” You can rely on me, no matter what. I am there for you, we are there for you. “And that should mean that the top candidate has nothing to do with the possible withdrawal of the doctorate.

Giffey put on emotions in her party conference speech on Friday evening in an elegant red dress. Words like “grab it”, “roll up your sleeves”, “take care” could be heard and should – despite the computer party conference in Corona times – spread optimism and optimism. Security, good education, a strong economy, work and prosperity – that is what the SPD stands for. Who could disagree?

“If we stand together together, then we will be strong, then we will convince people,” she called out to the delegates at the computers at home. “If we are in a good mood and exude confidence and strength, then we will succeed, I am sure. It will not be easy. But if it were easy, everyone could.”

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