There are increasing signs that parts of the federal elections in Berlin will have to be repeated. Now the experts of the traffic light coalition have positioned themselves – unlike the Federal Returning Officer.

After the series of breakdowns in the Bundestag elections in Berlin, the traffic light representatives in the Bundestag’s Election Review Committee are, according to media reports, pleading for a partial repetition of the election.

This should happen in about 400 of the approximately 2,300 polling stations, reported the “Spiegel”, the “Tagesspiegel” and the rbb on Thursday. All twelve Berlin Bundestag constituencies would be affected. The Bundestag administration should develop a corresponding recommendation for a resolution, which the Bundestag should only vote on in October.

The right to vote is the central opportunity for citizens to participate, said the SPD chairman in the election examination committee, Johannes Fechner, the “Spiegel”. “Therefore, electoral errors of this magnitude must be corrected by new elections so that all citizens have an equal opportunity to exercise their right to vote and so that their votes get the weight they deserve.”

As Fechner told rbb, a fundamental decision has now been made by the traffic light coalition in the federal government. However, the actual vote in the election examination committee will probably not take place until October. Then it would have to be voted on in the Bundestag itself. This could happen a few days later. If the Bundestag plenary votes in favor of repeating the elections in Berlin, Fechner says he believes that partial new elections in Berlin in the spring of 2023 are realistic.

Election chaos

The elections for the Bundestag and the Berlin House of Representatives on September 26 were marked by numerous mishaps and organizational problems in the capital. These included incorrect or missing ballots, the temporary closure of polling stations and long queues in front of them, sometimes with waiting times lasting hours. In addition, some polling stations were still open well after 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, a commission of experts set up by the Berlin Senate presented its report on the election chaos and listed numerous deficits. Among other things, this was due to unclear responsibilities, and the complexity of the election Sunday with four ballots in the capital was massively underestimated. In addition to the elections to the Bundestag and the House of Representatives, the district assemblies were also reorganized. There was also a referendum on the expropriation of large housing groups.

Union demands complete re-election

The advance of the traffic light parties in the election examination committee is surprising. Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel, who criticizes a “complete systematic failure of the electoral organization” in Berlin, has demanded a complete re-election in six of the twelve constituencies – that would be around 1,200 polling stations. After his hearing in May, the committee chair Daniela Ludwig (CSU) said that a recommendation would only be made after the summer break.

The Union is also calling for a complete new election in six constituencies. In addition, she wants to vote again in 50 selected polling stations in the other six constituencies. The traffic light proposal “is definitely not enough and does not even begin to do justice to the chaos in the elections in Berlin,” said the committee rapporteur for the CDU/CSU, Patrick Schnieder (CDU), of the German Press Agency in Berlin. “We think it is essential that more than 1,200 polling stations are re-elected, while the traffic light wants to be limited to 400.”

The Berlin state election authority did not want to comment on the agreement reached by the representatives of the traffic light coalition when asked by the “Tagesspiegel”. The general secretary of the Berlin CDU, Stefan Evers, said on Thursday evening that the city had to “prepare for repeat elections on a large scale”. Despite all the warnings, the Senate has not yet made any preparations, said Evers. “Head in the sand is not a strategy, Ms. Giffey,” Evers criticized to the address of the Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD).