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Franziska Giffey is the first female mayor of Berlin, Source: SPD Berlin on Facebook

New Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey: Freshly inaugurated and off to work

New Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey: Freshly inaugurated and off to work

Despite long negotiations, the new city coalition is on shaky ground after a disagreement on the expropriation referendum

Today, Franziska Giffey became the new mayor of Berlin in the new governing coalition between the SPD (Social Democratic Party), Greens and Die Linke (the Left). The new Senate of Berlin will also be sworn in today.

The SPD won the Berlin election, which took place at the same time as the national election in September, by a similarly narrow margin. Their candidate, Franziska Giffey is the first woman to hold the position of mayor of Berlin.

Earlier today, the three parties in the red-green-red (SPD-Greens- Die Linke) coalition signed the agreement in the State Library in the German capital’s Mitte district. The document will become the basis of the local government’s framework for the next five years.

Off to a flying start

After incumbent mayor Michael Müller steps down and the transfer of power is formalised, Mayor Giffey will represent the capital at the Conference of Minister-Presidents.

The conference is a meeting of federal-state leaders in Germany and its session will focus on figuring out new measures to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. After that, the new Berlin Senate will hold a constituent session.

Coalition tensions

Despite coalition negotiations starting in September, however, the governing alliance of Berlin is on shaky ground, as most recently members of Die Linke claimed they would refuse to vote for Giffey.

The most contentious point between the SPD and Die Linke is their opinions on the referendum to expropriate the properties of Berlin’s largest landlords, specifically those having more than 3,000 units.

Mayor Giffey has repeatedly stated that she is against expropriation, while many of Die Linke’s constituents and party members want to uphold the results of the referendum. Currently, the coalition agreement between the three parties recognises the referendum, as well as the fact that affordable housing will be a major issue for the next five years.

Furthermore, the agreement states that the new administration should create a commission to determine whether expropriation would even be legal in Berlin.

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