In Neukolln, the results show the split between the outskirts and the center. The SPD mayor remains despite losses and could cooperate with the Greens.
This is also Neukolln: on the southern outskirts in the Rudow district. Photo: DPA
Franziska Giffey remains in office. The mayor of Berlin’s most famous district Neukolln had taken over the post in April 2015 in the legislative term of Berlin’s most famous district mayor. But while Neukolln’s cellar-dweller Heinz Buschkowsky still pulled in just under 43 percent for the SPD in 2011, the Frankfurt/Oder native with a doctorate in political science has to settle for a good 12 percentage points less. Small consolation: The SPD is thus still 14 percentage points ahead of the second strongest party in the district, the CDU, which suffered a loss of four percentage points compared to the last district election.
The real winners in Berlin’s most colorful district are thus the Left, the Greens – and the AfD. The Left gained 7.5 percentage points and more than doubled its 2011 result: to a total of 12.2 percent. The Greens gained 1.4 percentage points and stand at 14.9 percent. In its first election in Berlin, the AfD received 12.7 percent of the Neukolln district vote.
And in the elections for the Berlin state parliament, almost 14 percent of Neukolln residents gave their votes to the new right-wingers. In some polling stations, AfD candidates even achieved the highest results with almost 27 percent of the vote.
This means that Neukolln "only" has the third-highest AfD result among the western districts. In Spandau, the right-wing party won 16 percent in the district elections, 16.6 percent in the state elections, and 14..1 percent in Reinickendorf. And unlike in some eastern districts, the right-wing party did not win a direct mandate in Neukolln.
All colors Neukolln
But the map, colored according to the results of the individual polling stations, shows a colorfulness in Neukolln that – apart from Mitte – no other district in Berlin has. All colors Neukolln: Their distribution also shows a clear three-way division of the most populous district.
The north of Neukolln is almost completely green, from Hermannplatz to the S-Bahn ring bordering the inner city. Then in the middle of the district, which stretches from the city center to the southern border of Brandenburg, SPD-red fields follow, extending to the borders of Neukolln’s southern districts of Buckow and Rudow. There, it becomes predominantly black. Of the four blue dots marking the polling stations where AfD candidates got the most votes, none are in the north of the district.
The division is not new. But it is becoming more colorful: In the north of the district, newly moving students, hipsters, artists, designers have brought the Greens enormous popularity in recent years. The long-established Neukolln residents, who traditionally vote for the SPD, had already retreated to the areas outside the S-Bahn ring before the first waves of immigration in the 1960s to 1980s, for example of Turkish guest workers or refugees from Palestine.
And the village south of the district, bordering on Brandenburg, where the self-generated single-family house of the industrious craftsman dominates alongside some new construction sins of the 1970s, is and remains CDU-black – with more radical sprinklings that were brown in earlier elections, but are AfD-blue today.
Bernd Sczcepanski, still Neukolln’s social councillor and soon to be a member of the BVV, remains calm despite such indications of division. For some residents of southern Neukolln, the north of the district is a "no-go area," says the Green, who has been involved in district politics for almost 35 years. They feared the growing influx – including migrants – into the southern part of the district. The district government, i.e. BVV and district office, have so far come to terms with this – with a recently more and more frequently loudly crunching counting community between SPD and CDU, so as to integrate the north and south of the district.
But the new election results offer the chance for new majorities: With 19 SPD and 9 Green seats in the 55-member district council, a red-green coalition would also be possible. It could bring momentum to the district if this takes over the integration of the south in the future.