The start of an important election year is coming up in Berlin. After the 2021 breakdown, the federal election will be partially repeated.
The 2021 federal election in Berlin, which was overshadowed by breakdowns and organizational problems, will be partially repeated today. According to a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, new elections must be held in 455 of 2,256 electoral districts and the associated postal voting districts, i.e. around a fifth.
549,549 Berliners are called to vote; the polling stations are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The election marks the start of an important election year in Germany: the European elections take place on June 9th, followed by state elections in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg in September.
The election in the capital will not change the majority in the Bundestag, the majority of the traffic lights. The proportion of those eligible to vote in Berlin compared to the total number at the federal level is only 0.9 percent. However, small shifts are possible. Some MPs could lose their seats in the Bundestag, others could move into parliament. Berlin currently has 29 of the 736 members of the Bundestag.
Election chaos 2021 – long lines and incorrect ballot papers
On September 26, 2021, Berlin botched both the federal election and the elections to the House of Representatives and the district parliaments in an unprecedented way. Long queues in front of polling stations, missing or incorrect ballot papers, a temporary interruption in voting in some places – the list of problems was long. Some voters cast their votes well after 6 p.m., when forecasts and projections had already been published.
For this reason, the elections at the state and district level were completely repeated on February 12, 2023. This was ordered by the Berlin Constitutional Court. Organizationally everything went smoothly, the political consequence was a change of government from red-green-red to black-red. In contrast to the Berlin judges, their colleagues in Karlsruhe did not consider such an approach necessary with regard to the federal election; they only declared the ballot partially invalid. Nevertheless, this is the first repeat election in history ordered by the Federal Constitutional Court.
Low voter turnout feared
Voting is now taking place in all twelve Berlin federal parliamentary constituencies, although to very different degrees. In Pankow, 85 percent of the polling districts are affected, in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf 42 percent. In contrast, it is only 2.9 percent in Lichtenberg, 3.4 percent in Treptow-Köpenick and 6 percent in Marzahn-Hellersdorf. It is therefore clear that in some constituencies there cannot be any mathematical changes. Given this starting point, some fear that voter turnout will be low. In the 2021 federal election it was 75.2 percent in Berlin.
At that time, the SPD was ahead in Berlin with 23.4 percent of the second votes, followed by the Greens (22.4), CDU (15.9), Left (11.4), FDP (9.1) and AfD (8.4 ). Of the 12 direct mandates that are up for grabs in the capital, the SPD won 4, the Greens and CDU won 3 each and the Left won 2. A further 17 Berlin politicians were elected via the party lists, making a total of 29. The SPD and the Greens each have 7, CDU 5, Left 4, FDP and AfD each have 3 members in the Bundestag.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.