New Man for Berlin
Michael Müller takes over from Klaus Wowereit as Governing Mayor of Berlin.
A good deal of the German media calls Michael Müller the “anti- Wowereit”, even though he is looked upon as a confidant of the former mayor. Compared with Klaus Wowereit, however, whose droll comments are part of the relaxed, modern image of the German capital, his successor as Governing Mayor is regarded as rather down-to-earth. Little known in the rest of the country, the man with the most common family name in German-speaking areas is better known in the capital. For many years he was chairman of the Berlin Regional Association of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) and of the SPD parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives. The new chief of City Hall was elected by ballot by members of the Berlin SPD with a margin of 60 per cent of 11,000 votes cast.
“I concede there’s some room for improvement of the glamour factor”, the 50-year-old former office administrator Müller has said self-deprecatingly in interviews, laying his claims instead on the basis of solid management experience. The father of two children takes over many unsolved problems in the metropolis. In spite of the tourist boom and economic upswing, Berlin still has a high unemployment rate and is considered to be an indebted city. Expectations are therefore all the greater of the new mayor, who is also the Minister-President of the federal state of Berlin. After all, the list of his famous predecessors is long: Ernst Reuter, for example, the symbolic figure of the Berlin blockade, the later Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt and the later Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker. Michael Müller is following in the footsteps of the great.
Change of leadership in Berlin on 11 December 2014