World

Berlin gets new mayor, who inherits debacle over new airport as predecessor ends 13-year reign

  • The newly elected Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller takes his oath in Berlin's state parliament Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Mueller succeeds Klaus Wowereit who stepped down after leading the state government of the German capital for more than 13 years. (AP Photo/dpa, Bernd von Jutrczenka)

    The newly elected Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller takes his oath in Berlin's state parliament Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Mueller succeeds Klaus Wowereit who stepped down after leading the state government of the German capital for more than 13 years. (AP Photo/dpa, Bernd von Jutrczenka)  (The Associated Press)

  • The newly elected Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller, right, shakes hands with his predecessor Klaus Wowereit in Berlin's state parliament Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Wowereit stepped down after leading the state government of the German capital for more than 13 years. (AP Photo/dpa, Bernd von Jutrczenka)

    The newly elected Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller, right, shakes hands with his predecessor Klaus Wowereit in Berlin's state parliament Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Wowereit stepped down after leading the state government of the German capital for more than 13 years. (AP Photo/dpa, Bernd von Jutrczenka)  (The Associated Press)

Berlin's new mayor has taken office, inheriting the problem of trying to open the German capital's much-delayed new airport.

Berlin's state legislature on Thursday elected Michael Mueller, a center-left Social Democrat, as mayor.

He took over in midterm from Klaus Wowereit, the mayor since 2001, who presided over the city's emergence as a popular tourist destination and center for high-tech startups but stepped down after his popularity suffered from the airport debacle.

The airport's opening was called off in mid-2012 because of fire safety problems officials have yet to resolve. There's currently no date set for it to open.

The 50-year-old Mueller was previously Berlin's development and environment minister. He has a down-to-earth image, pledging "solid government" and an emphasis on affordable housing.