Mayor Franziska Giffey , Source: Senat's Chancery of Berlin on Facebook

Berlin to redo local elections next February

Berlin to redo local elections next February

According to the constitutional court, the 2021 state election faced multiple issues, which changed the makeup of the state parliament

Yesterday, Berlin’s constitutional court published an unprecedented decision mandating that 2021 local election be held again. According to the court, the election held on 26 September last year was mired in so many irregularities that it essentially needs to be redone.

In an official announcement today, incumbent Mayor Franziska Giffey announced that city authorities will not challenge the court’s decision. Berliners are now set to go to the polls again on 12 February 2023 and considering last time’s very even split between the parties, it is not clear who will be the next mayor of the German capital.

Mayor Giffey promised the Senate would do whatever it takes to prepare a smooth vote, rectifying all mistakes that burdened the last one. Meanwhile, the President of the House of Representatives, Dennis Buchner, assured that Parliament would continue to function. More voting booths should be available at the polling stations when the polls are repeated. Instead of 34,000 election workers, at least 38,000 should be on duty, possibly even more.

Quadruple election gone wrong

During the last election, Berliners had to vote on four separate elections: the federal, state and district election, as well as a referendum for expropriating large real-estate companies. The Berlin Marathon was also happening on that same day, which surely did not help with the logistics of the elections.

As DPA reported, the courts claimed that there were severe irregularities and ‘numerous electoral errors’ that were relevant to the mandate, i.e. impacted the composition of the Berlin parliament.

Court President Ludgera Selting cited wrong, missing or hastily copied ballots, too few ballot boxes and the temporary closure of polling stations. Some polling stations ran out of ballot papers while others received ones for the wrong district, leading to a large number of invalidated ballots.

Additionally, people waiting in line in half of the 2,256 polling stations voter voted after 6 PM – after the official end of the election.

The last election and the future of the city

Last September, the election results yielded a very even split between the top three parties vying for Berlin’s Senate. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) with the incumbent mayor Franziska Giffey managed to win 21.4% of the vote.

The Greens, on the other hand, won 18,9%, followed by the CDU/CSU at 18,1%. Die Linke managed to secure 14,0% of the vote, while AfD and the FDP came in at 8,0% and 7,2% respectively.

With these results, the SPD, the Greens and Die Linke formed the so-called red-green-red coalition, currently governing Berlin. However, today, Bettina Jarasch, the Greens’ candidate for mayor and current Senator for Environment and Mobility said that she plans to run for the top job in the local government.

More than a year passed since the last election and the local administration has been able to achieve a lot, according to Mayor Giffey. She cited the 29-euro ticket as one of those achievements. At the same time, 2022 brought a lot of new challenges like a fresh wave of refugees and the cost of living crisis, which may be enough to shift voters’ moods this time around.



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