Current language: English

Repeat election in Berlin in February

Wahlzettel und eine Wahlurne in Berlin

The election for the Berlin House of Representatives, which was marked by mishaps, will be repeated in its entirety. The vote on September 26, 2021, was invalid due to "serious systemic flaws," the Berlin Constitutional Court ruled.

State Election Commissioner Stephan Bröchler set February 12, 2023, as the date for the election rerun, which will also affect the twelve district parliaments.

Current parliament may continue to operate temporarily

Until the new parliament is constituted, the current one can continue to function, the court said. Since this is a repeat election and not a new election, the legislative period will still end in 2026, and the parties will have to run the same candidates as in 2021.

Principle of generality, equality and freedom must be preserved

According to the Constitutional Court, a "large number of serious election errors" ocurred - both during the preparation and on election day itself. These errors were relevant to the mandate, i.e. they affected the composition of parliament. The principle of generality, equality and freedom had been violated.

Lack of ballot boxes and ballots, long waiting times

Court President Ludgera Selting cited incorrect, missing or hastily copied ballots, a lack of ballot boxes, the temporary closure of polling stations and long lines, sometimes with wait times of several hours, as examples of voting errors. At around half of the 2,256 polling stations, voters continued to vote after 6 pm.

Verdict in this form unique in Germany so far

The ruling on a complete rerun of the election is so far unique in Germany in this form. The Hamburg Constitutional Court had declared the 1991 election to the Hamburg City Parliament invalid, but for different reasons: The CDU had nominated its candidates illegally. Subsequently, there was a new election in 1993 after the parliament dissolved. The Berlin decision is not without controversy - even within the ranks of the Constitutional Court. The decision was made by a 7-2 vote, President Selting announced. Several politicians and legal experts had pleaded for a partial repetition in recent months.

Partial repeat of federal election possible in 431 constituencies

This is the direction in which the Bundestag election is headed: The Bundestag decided last week, on the basis of a recommendation from its election review committee, with the votes of the SPD, Green and FDP traffic light groups, that it must be repeated in 431 Berlin polling and postal voting districts. However, the parliamentary groups assume that the decision will be challenged before the Federal Constitutional Court.

More polling stations and volunteer helpers planned

Governing Mayor Giffey promised that the Senate would do everything possible to prepare for a smooth vote. Mistakes had happened that should not happen again, she said. Meanwhile, the president of the House of Representatives, Dennis Buchner, assured that the parliament would continue to be able to work. According to election director Bröchler, more voting booths will be available at polling stations during the rerun. Instead of 34,000 Wahlhelfer:inen should be at least 38,000 in use, possibly even more. Their compensation, the "refreshment money," has been increased from 60 to up to 240 euros.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 17 November 2022
Last updated: 17 November 2022

More news from Berlin