OSCE experts see no need for election observation
The OSCE sees no need to send international observers to Berlin for the repeat election on 12 February.
This is according to a report by the OSCE election office ODIHR. Berlin's Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) said the announcement on Tuesday was a good sign. State Election Commissioner Stephan Bröchler also emphasised that he was "pleased about the OSCE's confidence in the ability of Berlin's political institutions to learn".
OSCE assessed the usefulness of election observation
Due to considerable breakdowns, the elections for the House of Representatives and the district councils of September 2021 have to be repeated. Bröchler had invited international observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe for this purpose. Their subdivision ODIHR first sent a preliminary team in mid-January to check whether it would make sense to observe the elections. They spoke with the Senate, electoral authorities, parliament, parties and associations and published a recommendation on Monday evening.
Great confidence in the capacity of the Berlin electoral authorities
"Based on the findings of this report, ODIHR does not recommend the deployment of an election observation team for these elections," it says. It adds that the interlocutors in Berlin are open to observing the repeat election. But almost all of them felt that ODIHR's possible observation formats for this election would not be necessary or useful. The team noted great confidence in the ability of the Berlin electoral authorities to organise the repeat election.
High standards for elections in Germany
The OSCE experts emphasise the fundamentally high standards for elections in Germany, including the correct preparation of voter and candidate lists, rules on party and campaign financing, and media diversity. All interlocutors see "the election campaign environment as open and free", the report says. With regard to the Berlin elections, it says: "Despite the procedural flaws that led to the rerun of these elections, all interlocutors of the ODIHR team expressed confidence in the independence of the electoral authorities as well as in their abilities to manage the upcoming elections, including postal votes." The report refers to the Home Affairs Senate's Commission of Inquiry following the 2021 election mishaps and the lessons learned.
Minor glitches in the preparation for the repeat election
"This is perhaps also a positive intermediate state," said Governing Mayor Giffey. "The state of preparation is so good that the OSCE is refraining from it." Now, she said, the focus must be on preparing for a smooth election. "That is happening right now," the SPD politician said. Minor glitches had also become public in the preparation of the repeat election in recent days. Election Commissioner Bröchler said that with almost 2.5 million voters and documents, minor mistakes could not be completely avoided. The crucial thing was to correct them quickly.
Publication date: 24 January 2023
Last updated: 24 January 2023