Social Democrat Giffey, who served in Angela Merkel’s coalition government between 2018 and 2021, is the first woman to lead Berlin, in SPD control for the last two decades.
Deputies in Berlin’s legislature cast ballots for mayor and Giffey won 84 votes, with 52 against her and two abstentions.
Her party had finished first in local elections on September 26th on a good night for the Social Democrats, who also topped the polls in the general election, setting Olaf Scholz up to become the new chancellor.
Giffey, 43, cobbled together a coalition with the Greens and far-left Linke party, who together have set themselves the task of building 200,000 homes by 2030 in a city that attracts more and more residents each year.
The roadmap for policy the parties signed Tuesday calls for a public-private “partnership for new construction and affordable housing”.
The new government has also decided to establish a commission to assess the possibility of “expropriating” corporate landlords, a proposition which gained a majority in a non-binding referendum on the same day as the election.
Around 56 percent voted in favour of the move against real estate companies with more than 3,000 properties after a successful petition to hold a ballot.
The commission, to be established within 100 days, will have a year to “review the possibilities, means and conditions for implementing the referendum”, the coalition pact said.
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The new mayor has said seizing property is “not the right way”, particularly because of the high cost of indemnities that would have to be paid.
Supporters of the proposal say they would be more able to control rental prices if the properties were transferred to public ownership.
While Berlin remains cheaper than Paris or London, rents in the hip capital have increased 85 percent between 2007 and 2019.
Rising costs for housing have weighed heavily on inhabitants, 80 percent of whom are renters.