Initiative Against Government Ping Pong: Three Berlin Politicians Call for Constitutional Reform – Politics

Three reformers of the Berlin coalition parties, the SPD, the Greens and the Left, have called for a fundamental revision of the Berlin Constitution to end the blockades of the authorities and the ping pong of jurisdiction. In a joint contribution to the Tagesspiegel, the district mayor of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Monika Herrmann (Greens), her Pankow counterpart Sören Benn (left) and the Secretary of State for Administrative Modernization, Frank Nägele (SPD), call for a new cut and a stronger delimitation of competences between Senate administration and districts. At the same time, they bring into play a direct election of the district mayors, as is usually the case with city mayors.

“A constitutional change is required for the big hit,” write Herrmann, Benn and Nägele. This is the only way to reach eye level “as the key to good governance” between the Senate boards and the districts. They are concerned about clear municipal management structures and strong governance: “After years of heavy savings, the growing city, which is becoming increasingly digital, is now forcing action.” One “possible way would be a Berlin constitution,” their paper states.

The three politicians of the ruling coalition parties are calling for the district councils to be disempowered. In the future, they will be elected for six years by the district councilors, regardless of terms.

Your administrative areas should also be standardized throughout Berlin. In addition, the directly elected district mayors should be empowered to give their instructions and thus be given more powers to intervene in the departments. So far, “every Berlin district has five independent political leaders,” the reformers complain.

In return, the reigning mayor is given “more weight in local politics” and the specialist oversight of the senate authorities must also be strengthened. The staff and digital political control by the Senate Chancellery are “elements for a strong red town hall of the future”. But the districts should also get “a kind of veto” from the mayoral council.

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Strengthen the neighborhoods

With their proposals, the three politicians want to place more responsibility with the senate boards, but at the same time strengthen the districts. “If the districts do not have the necessary resources, the control will come to nothing, because the ping-pong of jurisdiction will be maintained,” the three politicians write.

They propose that through a reform of the financial system, the districts could implement the demands more politically independently. The three reformers also recommend that the House of Representatives reconsider: “The state parliament does not always have to decide on every lease and on the smallest construction projects in the districts”.

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