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#8: Protests, racial profiling, squat eviction
The super-election is Sunday and a Merkel replacement is the only excitement, actually. Oh, and a local referendum.
Change is the only thing Germans fear more than a stiff draft.
So, after months of volatile polls and journalists building up - and shooting down - one candidate after another, Sunday’s super-election will create new national and Berlin parliaments but very little change.
The latest national polls suggest a continuation of the current Grand Coalition of the country’s two biggest parties - the conservative CDU and left-leaning SPD - though they’ll have to welcome in a third wheel to get a majority. The SPD will want the environmental Grüne and the CDU the business-friendly FDP. Expect weeks of negotiations.
Locally, the SPD will likely again lead a three-way coalition in Berlin’s Abgeordnetenhaus with the left-wing Die Linke and the Grüne. The candidate most likely to become mayor, Franziska Giffey (SPD), has made more conservative overtures than her predecessors so there may be some tussling with her coalition partners.
The drama will be in the referendum to force major corporate landlords to sell thousands of apartments to Berlin’s three state property companies. Giffey has come out against it and the Grüne have sent mixed messages. Die Linke loves it. Politicians don’t have to act on the referendum should it pass, so get ready for fireworks if voters support the measure.
And: Chancellor Angela will step down. For good or bad, it’s never felt very democratic that the same person has led one of the world’s biggest economies for a decade-and-a-half. Her most likely replacement will be the SPD’s Olaf Scholz, the first SPD chancellor since the disappointment that was Gerhard Schroeder at the start of the century. And that’s only because the candidate proposed by Merkel’s CDU is more incapable than the German national team in the summer’s EURO championships.
We hope our readers don’t fear change - we’ll move the Tuesday update to Monday next week to provide some post-election coverage and context.
Andrew & Maurice
Berlin corona stats for Friday, September 24
Fully vaccinated: 63.5% (63% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 450 (578 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 3,622 (+3 over Tuesday)
🟡 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 69.1 (75.7 Tuesday)
🟢 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 1.5 (1.9 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 8.1% (8.3% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
Protests, more protests and a marathon
Fridays for Future is protesting Friday in the government district and celeb activist Greta Thunberg is in town. A number of related protests are likely to tie up traffic in other districts. The far-right AfD has also planned a demonstration in front of Schloss Charlottenburg at 5pm with its own raft of brown-tinted celebrities - as well as a counter protest. And Saturday the anti-vaxx Querdenker have planned a protest starting at Bahnhof Zoo but, as the Tagesspiegel points out, it’s always difficult to gauge how many will - or will not - show up to the events. On top of that, the Berlin Marathon is Sunday. What all of this means for most of us: If you have to go across town, take the U-bahn.
Fifty complaints of racial profiling have been filed against the Polizei since a new Berlin anti-discrimination law went into effect in June 2020, according to Tagesspiegel. Dories Liebscher, the ombudsman for the complaints, said five were at least partially valid and earlier this month she apologized to one victim on behalf of the police - Syed N. had been targeted because of his foreign appearance during an unncessary traffic stop at Ernst-Reuter-Platz. “These kinds of cases erode trust in the police and the government and I see them as a basic problem,” Liebscher told the newspaper.
Yet another grocery delivery service
As if Gorillas, Getir and Flink weren’t enough, beverage delivery service Flaschenpost is now entering the already crowded and unprofitable grocery delivery market. Flaschenpost, which belongs to German food behemoth Oetker, has now opened warehouses in Tempelhof, Charlottenburg and Hohenschönhausen to serve customers. Food delivery services (including restaurant couriers) now employ about 7,000 people in Berlin, more than the 6,000 in Rewe’s 150 Berlin stores. More sign-up bonuses for us!
Køpi campers to be evicted
Residents of a caravan camp adjacent to Køpi, Berlin’s most famous squat, will be evicted October 15, residents of the camp in Köpenicker Straße said. The squat and the camp have different agreements with the property’s owners but the site is one of the few undeveloped plots on the border between Kreuzberg and Mitte. Protests are planned - the squat’s history goes back to 1990 - but a judge this summer said the campers have to go.
Germany’s first Autobahn debuted September 24, 1921 in Berlin on part of the former AVUS racetrack. The piece of road is most easily identified by the grandstand built in 1931 as well as an adjacent restaurant.