For the first time in the history of the Federal Republic, the election of a state parliament has to be repeated in its entirety. Because of the massive glitches on election day, the Berlin Constitutional Court has ruled that the elections to the local House of Representatives and to the district assemblies are “invalid” throughout the city. The citizens of Berlin will probably be called to the polls again in mid-February.
Missing or incorrect ballot papers, queues in front of the polling stations with sometimes hour-long waiting times, too few ballot boxes: The problems were big in many places in the federal capital on September 26, 2021. At that time, in addition to the House of Representatives and the district representatives, a new Bundestag was also elected, and there was also a referendum. Various objections were lodged against the election results.
Now the Constitutional Court has ordered the election to be repeated. Because the glitches were relevant to the mandate, said Court President Ludgera Selting in September at the hearing. In other words, they had an impact on the distribution of mandates and thus on the composition of Parliament. At the time, the election resulted in a majority for the red-green-red state government, which has since been Franziska Giffey (SPD) is led.
The election must now be repeated within 90 days. State Returning Officer Stephan Bröchler, who has already started to recruit election workers as a precaution, has made it clear that the date should be February 12, 2023. Then the same candidates and lists will be up for election as a year ago.
There was a similar case in Hamburg in 1993: At that time, objections forced a repeat election. However, the Hamburg Parliament dissolved itself beforehand, and so instead of a repeat election, there was a new election, for which the candidates had to be re-nominated and the lists had to be drawn up again. A repeat election is now pending in Berlin, for the first time at state level in Germany. Parliament will not be dissolved now, and no new legislative period will begin after the election. However, a new government may need to be formed if the majority situation changes.
Because of the election mishaps, the federal election could also be repeated in parts of Berlin, in 327 of 2,256 electoral districts and a good 100 postal voting districts. The Bundestag decided last week – but the Federal Constitutional Court may still have to decide on this.