SPD lose Berlin elections after over 20 years in office

SPD lose Berlin elections after over 20 years in office

In a rerun of the city’s poorly organised 2021 elections, SPD mayor Franziska Giffey has lost to the centre-right CDU, marking the end of a 21-year stint of SPD wins in local office.

SPD suffer blow from CDU in Berlin election

Berliners returned to the polls on Sunday to recast their votes in the city's botched 2021 local government elections. The result; a huge blow for the governing, centre-left SPD party.

After the SPD held the mayorship in Berlin for 21 years, mayor Franziska Giffey has now lost out to the conservative CDU by a large margin. Mayoral candidate Kai Wegner and the CDU took the largest share of votes, 28,2 percent. This left the SPD and Greens in joint second place, each with a 18,4 percent share. The far-right AFD took 9 percent of the vote, up from 8,1 percent in 2021.

The re-election comes after the city’s 2021 vote was ruled invalid by the constitutional court. On the triple election day in 2021, a series of blunders ensued. Polling stations ran out of ballot papers after delivery vans got stuck in transit - all while the Berlin Marathon caused major traffic diversions in the city centre. Some constituents were given the wrong ballot papers or queues were so long that they were turned away. In other cases, those who were already queueing were allowed to cast their ballots after the polls were supposed to officially close at 6pm.

SPD popularity waning in Berlin

Since the result in 2021 however, Giffey's popularity has waned. Though the same 2021 election day saw 59,1 percent of Berliners vote in a referendum to nationalise 240.000 houses and apartments owned by the Deutsche Wohnen & Co property company, Giffey's government has done little to enforce the referendum result.

A map of the new results sees a Green doughnut of central Berlin ensconced in a ring of black, representing the CDU. A few red, purple and blue areas represent what remains of the SPD and Left Party’s votes shares, and in the case of the blue AFD, what was gained in eastern Berlin.

Who is likely to be the new Berlin mayor?

Though Wegner’s party have secured the largest percentage of the vote, it remains unclear which candidate will be sworn in as mayor. The Christian Democrat has expressed interest in forming a coalition with the Greens and SPD, who run the current government coalition with the Left Party, but has reiterated that the parties should accept they have lost the election.

“All three governing parties - the SPD, Greens and the Left - have lost,” Wegner told Bayerischer Rundfunk. Though the issue of who will be sworn in as mayor is complicated by the fact that the governing coalition retains a majority in Berlin’s House of Representatives. After Sunday’s result, the CDU have 44 seats in Berlin’s state parliament, while the SPD and the Greens have 31 each.

Despite the SPD loss, Giffey has said she intends to stay in government. If the SPD and Greens form a coalition, it could also be the case that Greens leader Bettina Jarasch takes Giffey’s place as mayor. 

Thumb image credit: Jochen Gittel /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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