refugee reporter

Where the Dead Don't Vote

Wahlplakate des CDU-Politikers Nöll (oben) und Berlins Regierendem Bürgermeister Müller (SPD) zur Wahl des Berliner Abgeordnetenhauses hängen am 03.08.2016 in Berlin an einem Laternenpfahl. Foto: Wolfram Kastl/dpa (zu dpa «Plakate zur Wahl in Berlin: Schlaue Ideen, aber wenig Neues» vom 04.08.2016) +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Competing parties advertise for support in local elections where the refugee crisis is of cardinal importance.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    For refugees, the local elections in Berlin are a first taste of democratic elections. They know that the issue of the refugee crisis will determine the outcome.

  • Facts


    • Berliners will vote on the candidates for the city-state’s parliament on September 18, 2016.
    • Berlin’s state parliament has 149 seats and is currently headed by mayor Michael Müller, a Social Democrat who governs in coalition with the CDU.
    • Last year, 1.1 million refugees sought asylum in Germany, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa.
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Berlin right now is plastered with photos of smiling faces, candidates for the local parliamentary elections. Everywhere you look, you see images of men and women, older and younger people, Germans with African, Asian and Latino roots, gay and straight people, disabled and able-bodied.

This election is the first time many of the refugees who came to Berlin last year will experience a real electoral process where everyone is equal.

The refugees can’t vote, of course, but it is a good experience for the many who have never never experienced an election before.

Many of the people who have come here fleeing war and poverty in their countries are hungry to learn from Germany. Among the things they admire is the way it managed to rebuild itself after World War II.

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