House of Representatives election in Berlin must be repeated

Franziska Giffey (left, SPD) and Bettina Jarasch (Greens)

The majorities could change after the election – and the Greens might become stronger than the SPD.

(Photo: IMAGO/Emmanuele Contini)

Berlin The election to the Berlin House of Representatives, which was marked by numerous mishaps, has to be repeated in its entirety. This was announced by the Berlin Constitutional Court on Wednesday. The vote of September 2021 is invalid. The judges thus stuck to their initial assessment, which Court President Ludgera Selting explained at the hearing at the end of September.

A redial must now take place within 90 days. According to the new state returning officer Stephan Bröchler, the most likely date is February 12th. His predecessor resigned after the Berlin election chaos last fall.

On September 26, 2021 – in the middle of the corona pandemic – the Bundestag and the twelve district parliaments were re-elected in Berlin. There was also a referendum on the expropriation of large housing groups. The Berlin marathon also ran alongside.

The consequences of this concentration and poor preparation were massive problems, such as wrong or missing ballot papers, too few ballot boxes, the temporary closure of polling stations and long queues in front of them. Some voters voted after 6 p.m. or on hastily copied ballot papers because there were no supplies.

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Because of the numerous mishaps, Berlin’s highest court had to review the validity of the elections to the House of Representatives and the twelve district assemblies. A total of 35 objections to the rating were submitted to him, four of which had initially been negotiated. It was about the complaints of the state election authority, the internal administration and the parties AfD and the party.

Berlin government could look different

The election could change the majority in Parliament. This can result in another coalition being formed, in which the previous opposition party, the CDU, has a say. If the previous coalition partners SPD, Greens and Left Party together continue to have a majority, they could – if they wanted to – continue.

But it should be interesting to see what happens when the Greens become the strongest party instead of the SPD. Then the Greens would be entitled to the town hall chair. Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) would have to make room for her previous deputy, Environment and Mobility Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens).

According to the latest surveys, this is not unrealistic. An Insa survey from mid-November saw the SPD and Greens tied at 20 percent, the CDU at 21 percent, the left at 12 percent, the AfD at ten and the FDP at seven percent.

This would make a red-green-red coalition possible. Who would lead them, however, is completely open.

Bundestag elections are only repeated in a few districts

A repetition of the election to the Bundestag is also necessary – at least for some Berliners: Based on a recommendation by its election examination committee, the Bundestag decided last week with the votes of the traffic light parliamentary groups SPD, Greens and FDP that they in 431 Berlin electoral districts must be repeated. However, the parties in the Bundestag assume that the decision will be challenged before the Federal Constitutional Court.

Breakdowns like in September 2021 should not happen again. At least 38,000 poll workers are to be deployed in the election to the House of Representatives instead of 34,000 in the previous year. They should be better trained and receive significantly higher compensation. There should also be more ballot boxes in polling stations than last time.

More: Partial repetition of the Bundestag elections in Berlin decided

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