Dispute in berlin spd over alignment: the truce is over

Until the election, faction leader Raed Saleh had kept quiet. Now he criticizes the governing mayor for the election results.

You have not done so well, thinks Raed Saleh (l.) and means Michael Muller (r.) Photo: dpa

One day after the start of the red-red-green exploratory talks, the truce between the governing mayor Michael Muller and faction leader Raed Saleh has apparently ended. In an article in the Tagesspiegel, Saleh sharply criticizes Muller, without, however, calling him by name. With its result of 21.6 percent on September 18, the SPD "lost its status as the people’s party in many parts of Berlin," Saleh writes. During the election campaign, the Social Democrats were often perceived not as "socialists" but as "representatives of the state.

Saleh therefore pleads for a people-oriented SPD that also regains trust on the outskirts of the city, where the AfD was often the strongest force. "The SPD must always be on the side of the citizens – and declare war on influential lobbies," said the parliamentary group leader, who explicitly praised Muller’s predecessor: "Klaus Wowereit managed to bridge this gap for a long time with his human nature, but last year we didn’t succeed enough."

It was already the second time that Saleh had spoken out after the election. Even during the first exploratory talks with the Greens, he had tweeted last Thursday: "The Greens must consider that latte macchiato for 3.75 euros is too expensive for many." The indirect accusation that Red-Red-Green could make a pure inner-city policy and disregard the outskirts of the city, Michael Muller had still casually countered by saying that some still have to learn that the election campaign is now over.

This time, Muller did not make an official statement. In the SPD circle federation Charlottenburg Wilmersdorf close to it one was freely not amused over the recent cross shot. "I find it questionable why such criticism comes now of all times," says a Social Democrat.

However, it is not only Saleh who sees the time as having come to critically question the SPD’s election campaign. The legal policy spokesman of the parliamentary group, Sven Kohlmeier, had also spoken out on Monday and demanded consequences from the "disastrous election result". "We have experienced one of the most bitter defeats," said the MP from Marzahn-Hellersdorf. "Dear SPD," he demanded, "I think we have to talk about it."

Like Saleh, Kohlmeier is not necessarily considered a Green Party friend. After the TV duel on RBB, he had made disparaging remarks about the Green Party’s top candidate Ramona Pop on Twitter. "What is so infinitely important to you, whether BER opens in late 2017 or early 2018? The choice of dress for opening ceremony?"

The maneuvering criticism of the poor election results had already been a topic at the SPD state executive board last Monday. In the process, numerous district leaders had also spoken out critically. Michael Muller had assured that his party would also commission an external election analysis.

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