Berlin Gay Mayor Swept Back Into Office [365Gay.com]
Berlin's openly gay mayor had little difficult retaining office Sunday. Klaus Wowereit and the Social Democrats won 31.4 percent of the vote, ensuring the party will remain in control.
The win is credited directly to Wowereit. Under the Social Democrats both unemployment and the city's debt have skyrocketed. The jobless rate in Berlin is move 17 percent and the city owes nearly $70 billion.
Nevertheless, Wowereit's personal popularity has remained high.
Going into this weekend's election almost 60 percent of Berliners in a recent poll said they supported Wowereit as mayor, while just over 20 per cent backed conservative candidate, Friedbert Pflueger.
The National Democratic Party (NPD) won 7.3% in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, surpassing the 5% needed to enter the state parliament.
Germany's previous government compared the NPD to the early Nazi party.
In Berlin, waning support had Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrat party trailing the Social Democrats.
The re-election of Klaus Wowereit as mayor of the German capital had been predicted, and following the result Mr Wowereit said he would hold talks with both the ex-communists and the resurgent Greens on forming a coalition.
On the other hand, the NPD have not been able to make inroads in Berlin. Mayor Klaus Wowereit, who wrested power from the conservatives in 2001, remains enormously popular, despite high unemployment and the city's enormous debt of 58 billion euros ($73 billion).
Once asked about the disastrous state of Berlin's finances, Wowi, as he is affectionately called by his supporters, memorably declared: 'Berlin may be poor. But it's sexy.'
Yesterday, Wowereit told cheering supporters, "I am happy that the people of Berlin have voted in favor of democracy and did not elect the NPD into the state's parliament."
また連立の「組み換え」も議論に挙がっている。ベルリンはＳＰＤと「左派政党」（Left Party）の「赤・赤」（red-red coalition）の連立。左派政党は旧共産党系の議員やSPD 左派の脱退組（leftist SPD defectors）から構成されている。ここに「緑の党」（Greens）を加えた三党連立、「赤・赤・緑」（red-red-green coalition）の可能性が出てきた。緑の党は改選前と比べ支持率4％の上昇。一方、左派政党は22.6％から 13.4へと大きくダウンした。*1
While his popularity gained strength in Berlin the Social Democrats have dropped nationally and lost the chancelorship. Many now within the party are looking at Wowereit as a future leader.
Wowereit is seen as a consensus builder who can unite the various factions of German politics.
Of his ambitions for the future he's playing his cards close to the vest, but acknowledged in a recent interview in the news magazine Stern that "I would like to have more say than I have had in the last five years."
But if he does have his sites on federal politics he'll have to wait until party leader Kurt Beck, who has little public recognition, bows out or is pushed out.
If he were to become chancellor it would make Wowereit the fist openly gay man to lead a country in modern times.