SPD Berlin votes for black and red: now comes the practical test

A majority is a majority: The SPD’s internal critics should now wait and see how Black and Red under Kai Wegner (CDU) actually act.

Franziska Giffey and Raed Saleh look at each other

Is this what winners look like? SPD leaders Franziska Giffey and Raed Saleh Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jorg Carstensen

The nice thing about voting is that it’s not a question of interpretation as to who won. There are no contestable referee ratings like in figure skating, just two numbers: the yes votes and the no votes. And with 50 percent plus one vote – not a two-thirds majority as with constitutional amendments – what was decided on now has a democratic basis. In this respect, it is irrelevant how large the majority is that voted for black and red in the SPD membership decision. That was also said shortly before the end of the voting, head of state Raed Saleh.

The 54 percent yes votes now give the green light for further proceedings: on Monday, a CDU state party conference will presumably unanimously approve the coalition agreement, including the naming of future CDU senators, on the same day the SPD Senate members will be presented, on Thursday in parliament the election of Kai Wegner as governing mayor, the first with a CDU party book in almost 22 years.

Kevin Kühnert, SPD general secretary and federal deputy for Tempelhof-Schoeneberg, recently commented on him. “This man embodies little of my hometown, where I’ve been living for almost 34 years,” he said Mirror quote. Who knows, maybe Wegner thinks the same about Kühnert. On the one hand he doesn’t say it, on the other hand it is irrelevant. It is crucial that Kühnert accepts the vote of his Berlin party friends – and that includes Prime Minister Wegner.

After the nationwide SPD vote in 2018 on an alliance with the CDU, which was then still rightly called the grand coalition, Kühnert, then the federal head of the Jusos, did not give the impression in the first reactions that he really accepted the clear majority at the time. It is to be hoped that this will be different in his current role. Kühnert is a role model for many SPD members. If he were to boycott Wegner and his future black-red government, that would be a clear violation of the democratic rules of the game and would not be worthy of Willy Brandt’s party general secretary.

Instead, he should let Wegner do it first. Not representing Berlin? Latently racist? Not progressive? Everything that the CDU in particular had to listen to recently is now being put to the test. Only practical testing can show whether this is really the case.

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