Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit announced
Tuesday that he will step down in December.
Wowereit, the German capital's first
openly gay mayor, has served in the post for more than 13 years.
In 2001, Wowereit coined the phrase
“I'm gay, and that is a good thing” in coming out during a party
speech. His 2007 autobiography was titled “...und das ist auch
gut so” after his famous coming out phrase.
Construction of a new city airport
appears to be behind Wowereit's surprise announcement. The
project is more than four years behind schedule.
“Even the latest start date of 2016
is uncertain after a cascade of reports about corruption, shoddy
planning and poor construction at the airport,” The New York
Times reported. “It has been anything but the showcase of an
efficient, reunited 21st century Germany originally
At a news conference, Wowereit, 60,
called the airport project “a bitter defeat.” He also declared
his love for Berlin and thanked voters for giving him the opportunity
“to make a career out of my biggest hobby.”