Greens and Pirates winners in Berlin


The Social Democratic Party (SPD) won the Berlin city state election yesterday but dropped from 30.8% of the vote in 2006 to 28.3% yesterday. They remain the largest party and their local leader Klaus Wowereit is returned as the Mayor of Berlin.

The SPD’s coalition partners The Left (Die Linke) did not do so well and dropped two percentage points to just over 11%. They are likely to be replaced as coalition partners by the Greens who came third with 17.6%, up four percentage points from their 2006 tally of 13.1%. Earlier in the campaign it did look as though the Greens might take first place, but a lackluster campaign by their leader saw them lose support as the campaign progressed.

Although many newspapers are reporting the Berlin result as bad news for Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), they did increase their percentage of the vote to 23.4% from 21.3% in 2006. However, the federal coalition partners, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) continued their dramatic decline by falling to just 1.8% of the vote from 7.6% in 2006. The real fear for Angela Merkel must be that they will become more extreme in their recent views on Euro bailouts in order to seek popularity.

The dark horse winners of the day were the Pirate Party. A loose collection of activists, wanting free wireless internet and free public transport as well as fewer controls on internet activities, gained 8.9% of the vote and will have representation in the new state parliament.

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