Court rules Berlin’s 2021 local elections must be rerun within 90 days
Following a series of organisational blunders during Berlin’s 2021 local elections, the city’s constitutional court has ordered an official revote for February 2023.
Berlin court orders city-wide local election revote
Following a decision by the constitutional court in Berlin on Wednesday, it was announced that the 2021 local elections will be rerun in the German city. The past months have seen ongoing discussions about the extent to which the election must be rerun, but on Wednesday the court ordered a full revote in all of Berlin’s 12 constituencies. The Berlin judge ruled that the 2021 results were invalid due to “the large number and severity of errors”.
According to the ruling, a new election must be held within 90 days. February 12, 2023 has now been set as the date Berliners will return to the polls. Anyone who holds an EU passport and is registered in Germany is allowed to vote in local elections.
Berlin’s mayor, Franziska Giffey, whose leadership has waned in popularity since she was elected in September 2021, has said that her government will accept the court ruling. Speaking in parliament on Thursday morning Giffey said, “The process has caused great damage, mistakes have been made that should not have happened.”
“We continue to vigorously take care of what is most important now: the people in our city, our economy, and a secure energy supply for our critical infrastructure,” the native Berliner added.
After a year as leader of the SPD, Left and Green Party coalition (Rot-Rot-Grün Koalition), Giffey must now again face her fellow coalition member Bettina Jarasch (Greens) in the contest for coalition leader and Berlin’s mayorship. Speaking to rbb on Wednesday evening Jarasch said, “I want to continue with the SPD and Left Party, but I want to lead the next coalition.”
Since the city voted in the 2021 German federal election and state elections (Landtagswahlen) on the same day, these votes must also be recast, though a date for this has not yet been set. Only people in who hold a German passport will be allowed to vote in these cases.
What mistakes were made at the 2021 Berlin local elections?
September 26, 2021 was a quadruple voting day in Berlin. Constituents in Berlin were voting in the federal elections, electing state parliamentarians, local councillors and voting in a referendum on whether to nationalise 240.000 houses and apartments owned by the Deutsche Wohnen & Co property companies.
On the triple election day a series of blunders ensued. Polling stations ran out of ballot papers after delivery vans got stuck in transit - all while the Berlin Marathon caused major traffic diversions in the city centre. Some constituents were given the wrong ballot papers or queues were so long that they were turned away. In other cases, those who were already queueing were allowed to cast their ballots after the polls were supposed to officially close at 6pm.