Sunday’s election was a tumultuous one for Germany. Nationally, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) saw its share of the vote shrink, while the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) scored their worst result since World War II. Most alarmingly, however, was the success of the extreme-right nationalist party AfD (“Alternative for Deutschland"), which gained its first seats in the national parliament after a campaign that was typified by xenophobia and hate speech.
This stark national picture was mirrored quite clearly in Berlin, still Germany’s largest city by far. Here too the CDU’s votes fell somewhat, the Social Democrats plummeted even more steeply, and the AfD also saw large gains. Within city limits, however, there’s another trend that is deeply rooted and glaring for anyone who knows the city. Politically, Berlin remains overwhelmingly divided along the line of the Berlin Wall.