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

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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.