Black-red coalition in Berlin: Senate with many surprises

Seven out of ten senators in the new Berlin Senate are women. Among them the Vice President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and a construction lobbyist.

A dark-haired woman smiles, behind her a blue wall

The most surprising person is the future Justice Senator for the CDU: Felor Badenberg Photo: Metodi Popov/imago

The designated Berlin Senate contains several surprises. Even if nothing was officially certain on Monday, the personnel issues between the SPD and CDU have already been largely clarified. What is particularly surprising is the clear excess of women in the black-red government coalition. In the Senate of the soon-to-be Governing Mayor Kai Wegner (CDU), who is considered to be right-wing conservative, there are seven female senators opposite only three male colleagues.

The most surprising person is the future Senator for Justice for the CDU: Felor Badenberg, who has a doctorate in law and is currently Vice President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The 47-year-old has been in office there for almost a year, as the first woman to lead the authority. “Actually, I wanted to ensure justice and become a judge,” the Iranian, who came to Germany at the age of 12 and studied in Cologne, once explained to the taz. In 2006, she ended up with the Office for the Protection of the Constitution via an assessment center.

Badenberg initially worked there under Hans-Georg Maassen and supported his line of looking primarily at Islamism. She later promoted the classification of the AfD as a suspected right-wing extremist, also against the resistance of the then Federal Minister of the Interior, Seehofer. Badenburg declared the fight against racism as a “personal concern”.

Cansel Kiziltepe (SPD), who is to become Senator for Integration, Labour, Social Affairs, Diversity and Anti-Discrimination, also caused a stir. Born in Kreuzberg, she has experienced how displacement can change a district, and has also developed a profile as a left-wing housing politician with lawsuits against housing groups. Most recently, the 48-year-old worked as Parliamentary State Secretary for SPD Construction Minister Klara Geywitz. Kiziltepe was probably also sold to the party base as a counterweight for SPD leader Franziska Giffey, who is said to only be an economics senator and is therefore holding back.

Lobbyist for the construction industry

The new CDU culture senator Joe Chialo also comes from a family with an immigrant background. He is a child of Tanzanian diplomats from Bonn, grew up in a religious boarding school, learned milling cutters, was a metal singer, bouncer and music manager. In the 90s, Chialo was briefly with the Greens, in 2016 he joined the CDU because of Angela Merkel’s refugee policy. There he comes into play again and again when it comes to the “creative economy” – and when cosmopolitanism and urbanity are required.

The new transport and climate protection senator is also likely to be controversial: the CDU quickly hired the chief lobbyist for the Berlin construction industry for the post: Manja Schreiner. Critics fear that the turnaround in traffic could turn into a U-turn.

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