The constitutional court of Berlin ruled on November 16th that the 2021 elections in Germany’s capital must be repeated, due to massive irregularities that rendered the election illegitimate. This ruling overturns an earlier decision by the German Bundestag to repeat the election only in those districts that were most affected by these irregularities.
Ludgera Selting, the president of the constitutional court of Berlin, had stated in September at the start of the trial that “the elections were insufficiently prepared to a degree that a successful outcome was unlikely to begin with.” Back then we reported on the many irregularities that had been unearthed, including a lack of election booths, shortage of ballots, and waiting times of up to several hours that were considered to be unacceptable by the court.
But according to Marcel Luthe, a former member of the Berlin senate, the work isn’t finished yet. “It will now have to be clarified whether an assembly not resulting from elections can be considered a parliament,” Luthe told Tichys Einblick. He already submitted an urgent application to the Court of Justice and stressed that “who hasn’t been elected, isn’t a representative.” While the court’s decision is effective immediately, the judges nevertheless opted to keep current representatives in office for the time being. Luthe considers this to be an act of insolence on part of the court.
The day after the court announced its decision, Mayor Franziska Giffey of the SPD told the press that “mistakes happened that should not have happened.” She admitted that people in Berlin have a right to “expect elections without irregularities,” but bemoaned that the election had confirmed many “cliché about Berlin.” Giffey avoided putting blame on the former Senator of the Interior Andreas Geisel, also from the SPD, who was responsible for organising the elections last year. Instead, Giffey emphasised the work the coalition had done over the past 14 months.
Kai Wegner of the CDU, however, criticised Giffey’s statement. “We’ve been told that everything is in order, it’s working. But the people of Berlin feel differently,” Wegner said. “I would have expected more humility after yesterday’s ruling. The people of Berlin have earned an apology.” Wegner also demanded that Geisel, who is currently acting Senator of Infrastructure, resign from his office. “Each day that Mr. Geisel is in office, is a day that hurts Giffey.”
Faction leader Kristin Brinker of the Berlin AfD celebrated the fact that “Berlin received a second chance,” and the Berlin FDP called the decision of the court a “monument to the dysfunctionality of Berlin.”
The court ruled that the election has to be repeated within 90 days. A preliminary election date has been set for February 12th, 2023.
The decision marks an important landmark in independent journalism, as it was only thanks to journalists of Tichys Einblick and Apollo News, who in cooperation with the former Berlin senator Marcel Luthe, uncovered the massive amounts of irregularities that led to the judgment of the constitutional court.