Franziska Giffey (SPD) has lost her doctorate, the election to the Berlin House of Representatives and probably her job as governing mayor. Her departure in 2021 as Federal Minister for Family Affairs was unpleasant. The motto: it was no longer enough for the federal cabinet, but certainly for the head of government in Berlin.
Her previous coalition partners in Berlin, the Greens, are now vilifying the 44-year-old as a "bogeyman" and parts of her own party are refusing to follow her in view of the coalition negotiations that have now started with the CDU.
One imagines a beacon of hope differently. But as strange as that sounds: That's exactly what Giffey is for your SPD. In Berlin, in Germany.
Red-green alliances are the dream of many social democrats. This is the only way, they believe, that social policy and climate protection can be reconciled and promoted. The fact that the Greens, as the party of higher-earning city dwellers, usually don't give a damn about social issues, people's financial needs, hardly matters.
Just as little as the fact that the Greens often reach into the toolbox for more climate protection with such an ideological gesture that it is harmful to the climate. For example, when Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), with the friendly support of his party, prefers to put dirty brown coal piles back on the grid instead of letting existing nuclear power plants run a little longer in an emergency.
In Berlin, the Greens berate the SPD for forming a coalition with the Union, but want to form a coalition with them themselves. The Left Party has been marginalized by Wagenknecht's Ukraine campaign. What would a GroKo have to do? WELT editor-in-chief Ulf Poschardt calls for a radically pragmatic policy.
Source: WELT/ Ulf Poschardt
The SPD doesn't want to see any of that because it doesn't fit the image of the coveted green bride. Because it is part of the red, old-fashioned workers' folklore that large coalitions, i.e. alliances between the SPD and the Union, are the devil for social democracy. Because the senior partner has always been the CDU, specifically Angela Merkel.
The SPD was able to push through a lot of social democratic demands in GroKos, after all the Chancellor pursued at least as much red-green as black, i.e. conservative, politics. However, this did not pay off in good election results for the Social Democrats for a long time. And that's what it's about at least as much as good politics for the majority of citizens.
Despite this mixed situation, Giffey is aiming for a grand coalition in Berlin. And as a junior partner. In doing so, she is reviving a political alliance that recently had the charm of stone-washed jeans and perms in the German party landscape and probably also among the majority of voters - so don't.
Wrongly so, because black-red or red-black alliances do not have to be bad and unsuccessful per se. Especially since what you can call “big” is now relative. After all, the Greens are in many cases on par with the CDU and SPD and behave in a correspondingly high-handed manner. And not every GroKo has to work according to the principle of the former chancellor in such a way that in the end you can no longer recognize politics because of the compromise.
If Giffey manages to lead her party into a stable Berlin GroKo, she has managed to open up new alliance opportunities for the SPD, which is in the process of chaining itself completely to the Greens and thus delivering it up. And thus new opportunities for government.
That would not only do the somewhat fussy SPD good, but also teach the Greens humility, whose hubris leaves Berlin speechless. The renaissance of GroKos, alone as a possible variant after elections, would be good for the German party landscape, for the people in the country.
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