The chaotic federal elections are to be repeated in around 400 of the 2,300 polling stations in Berlin. According to information from the Tagesspiegel, the representatives of the SPD, Greens and FDP in the Bundestag’s election examination committee have agreed on this. The traffic light coalition partners want the Bundestag administration to draw up a corresponding recommendation for a decision.
This would mean that in about 17 percent of all polling stations in Berlin, the voters would have to decide again on the composition of the Bundestag. First, the mirror had reported about it. The focus of those polling stations that are specifically affected is in the six constituencies of Reinickendorf, Mitte, Pankow, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
The recommendations of the Berlin Constitutional Court, which is dealing with the mishaps of the parliamentary elections that are taking place at the same time, should also be included in the final recommendation. He wants to decide about it in September.
Berlin’s acting election officer, Ulrike Rockmann, said on Friday that she still considers a partial repeat of the federal election to be unnecessary. The central question remains whether the breakdowns in the elections last September had an impact on the composition of the Bundestag, she told the German Press Agency on Friday.
“I stand by my assessment that I do not see the empirical basis for a redial.” Rockmann had already represented this position at the end of May at a hearing by the Bundestag’s Election Review Committee.
Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) did not want to comment on the political agreement of the SPD-led traffic light coalition.
The official decision is still pending. The Bundestag still has to decide on the expected decision of the Election Review Committee. Only a simple majority is required for this. The decision could then be challenged before the Federal Constitutional Court, for example by the Federal Returning Officer.
The reason for the recommendation of the examination committee of the Bundestag are serious electoral errors. There were numerous glitches in the September 26 election. Among other things, some ballot papers were missing or had been mixed up, there were long queues in front of many polling stations, and some polling stations were still open after 6 p.m.
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After these mishaps, Federal Returning Officer Georg Thiel applied in May for the Bundestag elections to be completely repeated in six of Berlin’s twelve Bundestag constituencies. This would have affected many more polling stations.
“The trivialization of the scandalous electoral errors in Berlin seems to be giving up the traffic light,” commented Thomas Heilmann, member of the Bundestag and spokesman for the regional group of Berlin CDU parliamentarians, on the coalition’s move. But the agreement does not go far enough for him. “At the state level, the election must therefore be repeated in its entirety,” Heilmann demanded. At the federal level, too, the Union sees a need for repetition in entire constituencies, not just in individual constituencies.
Criticism also comes from Berlin’s CDU General Secretary Stefan Evers. “Berlin has to prepare for repeat elections on a large scale. The Senate and especially the SPD don’t seem to mind.” Evers criticizes that there have been no political consequences so far, not even an apology to the Berliners. The responsible SPD Senator Andreas Geisel is still in office today. “And the worst thing is that, despite all the warnings, the Senate has not yet made any preparations for a repeat of the Berlin elections,” said Evers.
If Berlin has to organize a new election, a new state returning officer has so far been missing. Petra Michaelis resigned after the election, and her deputy, Rockmann, has held the office on an interim basis since then. On July 1st, the longstanding managing director Geert Baasen also retired. The position has not yet been filled.