Berlin, September 18. The capital’s inhabitants line up in order to vote for the composition of Berlin City Parliament. This year’s results clearly show a right-wing populist trend, yet they are not as frightening as in former elections. They portray that a grand majority still believes in democratic values.
Never in its history has the SPD scored a result as low as last Sunday’s. With 21.7 percent, the social democrats have lost 6.6 percentage points compared to the last regional elections in 2011. Nevertheless, the SPD remains the strongest party and Michael Müller stays on as Berlin’s senior mayor.
The other main party, the CDU, faces a tough loss as well (losing 5.5 percentage points and only gaining 17.8 percent of the votes) and thus will be no longer able to build a grand coalition with the SPD. The conservative Christian democrats will most probably build the opposition together with the FDP (6.6 percent), which is returning to the Landtag after a 5-year-absence, and the right-wing populist AfD (13.9 percent).
There is a silver lining, however. Berlin will – most probably – again be governed by a red-red-green coalition consisting of the SPD, the left-wing Die Linke (15.6 percent) and the Greens (15.3 percent).
Opposing the right-wing trend
One might now argue that, with a two-digit result, the AfD can celebrate an enormous triumph – the party emphasised that they strive for similar results on a federal level. But I think it vital to point out that a majority of the voters in Berlin did not vote for the potentially undemocratic party. It should be highlighted that Berlin wants to keep its mayor and remain a cultural melting pot.
If established parties fuelled the interest in themselves via an important-topic-oriented discussion, they might distract people from the ongoing right-wing trend. In my opinion, the AfD should be taken seriously, even if it is rather a one-trick pony in terms of its political agenda.