Political Passing

For Berlin's Departing Mayor, a Hasty, Ignominious Exit

Wowi is going, and that's a good thing for Berlin.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Mr. Wowereit, Germany’s longest-serving state premier, gave Berlin a sense of levity, but he has failed to lead and is responsible for the city’s disastrously delayed new airport.

  • Facts


    • Mr. Wowereit was Germany’s first openly gay state premier.
    • Berlin’s new airport, once expected to open in 2012, has been delayed several times.
    • Germany’s capital has public debt totaling €70 billion.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

Not many politicians can say they have coined a phrase that has captured the public’s imagination. But Berlin’s entertaining mayor, Klaus Wowereit, can claim two.

His personal declaration, “I’m gay, and that’s a good thing,” and his unofficial city motto “Berlin is poor, but sexy,” have been quoted time and again. And that will remain the case, even now that the German capital’s political aphorist has announced that he will resign this December.

But that’s probably the most positive thing that can be said about the 13 years the Social Democrat spent in office. The party is over, and now there’s a big hangover. Mr. Wowereit’s political performance  which produced a steady dose of fun for our entertainment-craving society  eventually failed to titillate anyone anymore.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.