RS Update: Berlin Election Results

By Joel Dullroy

The Berlin election results are in. And it looks like Michael Müller will remain mayor, if he can build a coalition with two other parties – most likely Die Grüne and Die Linke.

The headline from this election is the rise of Alternativ für Deutschland, the xenophobic, homophobic nationalist party, which won 14.2% of the vote and gained 25 seats in the 160-seat Abgeordnetenhaus, the city’s parliament. The AfD won most of their votes in the east, where there has been an ugly backlash against refugees. In the past few years there have been arson attacks on refugee shelters and public demonstrations by xenophobes. The AfD won’t get into any governing coalition, but it will end up chairing committees and will have influence in several of the local councils where spending decisions are made on education and refugee housing.

This election was a protest against the major parties. Every party lost votes, except for AFD (+14.2%), FDP (+4.9%) and Die Linke (+3.9%). Michael Müller’s SPD won the most votes, with 21.6% and 38 seats. But that’s down 6.7% from five years ago. It’s the SPD’s worst performance in Berlin since World War 2. Frank Henkel’s CDU also lost big, dropping to 17.6%, a loss of 5.7%. Also a historically terrible performance. Surprisingly, Die Grüne also lost votes, ending up with 15.2%, a drop of 2.4%.

But the biggest losers were the Pirates, who got only 1.7% (down 7.2%) and were therefore knocked out of parliament. They got even less than Die Partei, the joke party, who got 2%. Where did all those Pirate voters go? Probably to Die Linke or the FDP. The party was always a bit of a mixed bag of socialists and anti-government liberals.

The FDP, who campaigned heavily on keeping Tegel open, won 6.7%, bringing them back into parliament with 12 seats. But they won’t be able to enact any of their policies unless they end up in the governing coalition, which is a bit of an outside chance at the moment, since not many of their policies align with the Greens or Die Linke, either or both of whom are necessary for the SPD to form a government.

While everyone is talking about the rise of the AfD, let’s not forget that Die Linke also picked up votes, gaining 3.9% to reach 15.6%. That’s more than the AfD got, and it shows there are even more people determined to keep Berlin a strong social and inclusive city as there are xenophobes who want to shut the gates.

And what about our own candiate? Radio Spaetkauf co-host Jöran Mandik ran for election in the district of Neukölln 1 as a journalistic exercise. And he got… 66 votes! That’s 0.4% of the total. His seat was won by the Green party candidate, who got 5778 votes. At least Jöran didn’t come last. He beat the candidate from the neo-nazi NPD party, who got 52 votes. So good work Jöran on keeping the NPD out of power!

RS#08: Berlin Election Special

We’re decoding the Berlin election with a full run down on what each party is promising, with some graphic design critique thrown in.
Who’s going to run Berlin after the September 18 vote? Probably not the CDU, who have lost voters to the far-right AFD. The SPD doesn’t want to govern with them, and neither do the Greens. It makes an SPD-Greens-Linke coalition a pretty likely scenario.
Our own candidate Jöran Mandik talks about his campaign (or lack of it). Turns out if he could get 2500 votes, he’d earn over €6000 in public campaign contributions.
We have a special guest, blogger John Riceburg, who has his own controversial opinion on the election. He doesn’t like any of the parties, who aren’t promising any great changes at all.
Special thanks to our hosts Comedy Cafe Berlin!

RS#07 2016: Live from Mobile Kino Weekend… er?

At our annual outdoor recording in the woods, we interview three Syrian refugees – Ghaith, Omar and Munzer – who have created an app to help deal with German paperwork. It’s called Bureaucrazy. Some rich person out there really give some money to this:

After a glorious weekend of watching movies, watching bands and swimming in the lake, the organizers of the event Joshua and Fernando announce that they need a new name for the festival. The word Weekender is trademarked, can you believe.

RS Update July 15: Henkel’s Leftist Orgy of Violence

On this quick update, we talk about the secretive British investment company behind all the problems between punks and police on Rigaer Straße. Daniel thinks the whole scenario could be turned into a musical, possibly called “Henkel’s Leftist Orgy of Violence” after Berlin’s interior minister, who has been embarrassed by a court ruling this week that found the police-assisted eviction at Rigaer Straße 94 to be unlawful.

We also get an update from co-host Jöran Mandik about his attempt to run as a candidate for the upcoming Berlin city elections.

Come along to the Mobile Kino Weekender on July 29-31. It’s a cinematic camping trip out in the woods by a lake. Radio Spaetkauf will be recording a live episode there. Can you sponsor a Syrian refugee to come to the festival? E-mail us if you’re willing to contribute €40:

RS#06 2016: The BVG and the U8 font

Berlin typographer Anton Koovit spent over a year creating his font called U8, based on the letters on U-Bahn station signs. Recently the BVG began using Koovit’s font to print new signs, but without paying directly for a license to do so. We talk to Anton about his font. UPDATE: The BVG has responded to our story. They say their own museum developed the font.

Bicycle riders working for the food delivery company Deliveroo recently launched a protest action at having their weekend bonuses cut without warning. They turned the logos on the delivery bags upside down to get the startup’s managers to address their concerns. We interview one bicycle courier about the action, which he says was taken to prevent conditions getting any worse.

Berlin’s population boom means we might have to give up a bit of green space. Now the city’s open air swimming pools are being targeted as potential development zones. The Berliner Bäderbetrieb, which runs the pools, has been asked if it will give up some land to allow a city-owned housing company to develop flats. Churches are also being asked to hand over old cemeteries for refugee shelters.

And co-host Jöran Mandik continues his campaign to get elected to the Berlin Abgeordnetenhaus. He has registered as an independent candidate, and now requires 45 supporting signatures to get on the ballot. Will you sign up? Drop us an e-mail at