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Nervousness in the parties is on the rise ahead of Sunday's elections to Berlin's House of Representatives. The tone of the political repartee is getting more aggressive. According to opinion polls, the interest of voters in the upcoming ballot is limited. Many capitals are still undecided whether to vote at all on Sunday – and if so, who to vote for.

Nervousness in the parties is increasing ahead of the Berlin parliamentary elections on Sunday. The tone of the political exchange becomes more aggressive. According to opinion polls, voter interest in upcoming ballot is limited. Many capitals are still undecided whether to vote at all on Sunday – and if so, who to vote for. In contrast to 2001, when the CDU was relegated to the opposition bench because of the banking scandal and a party donation affair, this time there is no sign of a change of mood in the opinion of the pollsters. Christine Richter of the Berliner Tagesspiegel reports in an interview with this site about a city in the midst of an election campaign.

Wowereit is ahead The election campaign was short and offered few highlights – except perhaps for the direct duels between Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD) and his CDU challenger, Friedbert Pfluger. The question of how the parliamentary secretary of state in the Ministry of Defense, who comes from Lower Saxony, would fare against his opponent, who had the advantage of office and home advantage on his side, was an exciting one. It's hard to get through with political messages, many campaigners complain. Yet Berlin is by no means suffering from a lack of problems: Extremely high unemployment, a weak economy and social hot spots, which are also due to failures to integrate migrants. In addition, the capital, which is in debt to the tune of around 60 billion euros, is effectively broke and is suing the Federal Constitutional Court for financial aid from the federal government and the other states.

Small parties get their hopes up According to recent polls, almost two-thirds of Berliners are dissatisfied with the work of the Red-Red government. Despite this, there is currently no sign of a change of power. The SPD, which has led the red-red coalition since the beginning of 2002, has so far kept the CDU at a clear distance in all polls. Left Party.The PDS and the Greens, who are almost tied, are both hoping for a junior partnership alongside the Social Democrats. The FDP also lays claim to government participation, but is unlikely to come to fruition.

Grand coalition excluded? Wowereit is clearly backing a two-party alliance. He can imagine a new edition of Red-Red, but also Red-Green. The SPD has already governed twice in Berlin with the ecology party – albeit only for a few months: in 1989/90 and after the breakup of the grand coalition in 2001. For Wowereit, a red-red-green experiment or a traffic light with the Greens and FDP would be emergency options at best, should other constellations fail to materialize. The 52-year-old has let cautious advances by his main rival Pfluger go to waste. He definitely rules out a grand coalition because "with this CDU" it is not possible to form a government.Since an absolute majority for the SPD is not to be expected, Wowereit would prefer an election result that keeps as many options open as possible for him. This would give him the opportunity to calmly sound out "with which party social democratic policies can best be implemented". Competition between several potential partners would also have the charm of making it easier to extract concessions from them.

Churches call for elections The Archbishop of Berlin has had his say on the elections on 17. September 2006 addressed to Catholic parishes in Berlin. He calls on citizens to go to the polls, ignore extremist parties and vote for candidates who are guided by "values, including basic Christian values".(ddp,KNA,dr)

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