Berlin has to repeat the election completely: “One-off process” – politics


It is a turning point in the history of the Federal Republic: In Berlin, for the first time in a federal state, an election has to be completely repeated. The country’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday declared the elections to the House of Representatives and the district parliaments to be invalid. Numerous mistakes made these votes “a unique event in the history of the Federal Republic’s elections,” said Court President Ludgera Selting.

A repeat election had already been ordered in Hamburg in 1993 after errors had been made in the nomination of the CDU candidates. However, the Hamburg Parliament dissolved shortly thereafter, so that new elections had to be held. In a new election, the parties can also nominate other candidates than before. In the case of repeat elections, on the other hand, the original candidates are voted on again and the current legislative period is then continued. The presiding judge emphasized that the court was aware of the scope of its judgment. But the preparation and procedure of the votes did not meet the “legal requirements for democratic elections”. It is therefore appropriate to “burden the city with such a feat of strength again”.

On September 26 of last year, four votes took place in Berlin at the same time: the elections to the Bundestag, the House of Representatives and the district parliaments, and Berliners were also able to vote on a referendum on the expropriation of large housing companies. At the same time, the Berlin Marathon was held. As a result, Berliners had to wait in long queues in front of polling stations all day long, ballots went out or were mixed up. In some places, voters voted until well after 6 p.m. “In view of the large number and seriousness of the electoral errors, a selective re-election in only individual constituencies would not be suitable to create a constitutional situation,” said Selting.

“We respect this verdict,” says Governing Mayor Giffey

The constitutional judges justified their verdict, which they had reached by a seven-vote to two, with the “inadequate preparations” for the election, among other things. The average number of voters per polling station was set far too low, which led to the sometimes considerable waiting times. In addition, warnings that ballot papers had been delivered incorrectly were not seriously followed up. Too few ballot papers were distributed. These “structural errors” violated that right to vote, Selting said. “The local election workers could no longer compensate for that.”

The repeat election must take place within 90 days, Berlin’s state returning officer has already set February 12 as the date. Berlin is currently governed by a coalition of SPD, Greens and Left Party led by Franziska Giffey reigns. “We respect this verdict,” said the Governing Mayor in a first statement. The Berlin Greens emphasized that “the verdict of the judges is a violent gossip for those responsible for the last election”. Stefan Evers, General Secretary of the Berlin CDU, called the verdict the “absolute highlight of red-red-green failure” and invited to the presentation of the election campaign next Friday.



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