DThe repeat election for the Berlin House of Representatives can take place on February 12 as planned. In summary proceedings, the Federal Constitutional Court refused to order a postponement of the vote at short notice. The judges in Karlsruhe announced this on Tuesday. The reason for this will be given later. However, the exact examination in the main proceedings as to whether the complete repetition of the breakdown election of 2021 is constitutional is still pending and will only take place afterwards. (Az. 2 BvR 2189/22)
The more than 40 plaintiffs, including affected MPs, are appealing against a judgment by the Berlin Constitutional Court from November. He had checked the breakdown election of September 26, 2021 in detail as the primarily responsible authority – and declared it invalid overall. “In view of the large number and severity of the electoral errors”, that was the only option, it was said at the time as a justification.
The complainants believe that the Berlin judges thereby arbitrarily disregarded the Karlsruhe principles of the election examination. They are convinced that in this unprecedented situation they would have been obliged to involve the Federal Constitutional Court before a judgment was passed.
State Returning Officer: “We breathe deeply now”
Berlin’s state returning officer Stephan Bröchler reacted with relief to the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court. “We’re taking a deep breath now because the decision gives us planning security,” Bröchler told the German Press Agency on Tuesday. “We can now proceed at full speed with the planning and implementation of the election.”
The Berlin CDU welcomed the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court. “Good for democracy, good for Berlin,” said Secretary General Stefan Evers on Tuesday. “Now the voters have the floor. The restart for our city is more necessary than ever.”
September 26, 2021 was a super election day in the capital: with the elections to the House of Representatives and the local parliaments, the federal election and a referendum took place. The Berlin marathon was also running at the same time.
The result was sometimes chaotic conditions in the polling stations. Long queues formed because far too little time had been allowed for when planning the individual votes. Some polling stations had to close temporarily because the ballot papers ran out. In many places, those waiting were allowed to cast their votes until well after 6 p.m. – while the first forecasts had long been published. According to the Constitutional Court, at least 20,000 to 30,000 votes were affected by voting errors.
In the repeat election, the parties must run with the same candidates as in 2021. The legislative period ends in 2026. The election of the twelve district councils must also be repeated.
The Karlsruhe decision has nothing to do with the Berlin federal elections, which also caused problems. According to a decision by the German Bundestag, this election is only to be partially repeated in some constituencies of the capital. In addition, a number of election examination complaints are pending in Karlsruhe, which the judges will decide on in a separate procedure. An election date will not be determined here until the review is complete.