90 Days to Re-Run Poll: Berlin Elections Ruled Completely Invalid by Court Over Irregularities

BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 08: A man waves the German flag as people march in front of the Reichstag to protest against the rising cost of living in a demonstration organized by the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party on October 8, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. Consequences stemming from …
Omer Messinger/Getty Images

2021 elections in the German capital of Berlin have been ruled invalid by the city’s constitutional court on Wednesday, with Berlin now legally required to re-run the whole vote within 90 days.

Elections for the Berlin Senate must be completely re-run within the next 90 days, the city’s constitutional court has decided, ruling that a previous ballot held last year was completely invalid due to a whole host of election discrepancies.

Questions also remain over the city’s handling of the German general elections which were held at the same time, with it now looking likely that at least some constituencies within the city will have to repeat the polling process again due to irregularities the first time round.

According to a report by Die Welt, the city’s constitutional court officially ruled on Wednesday that issues surrounding missing ballot papers, insufficient ballot boxes, and polling stations being temporarily closed among a long list of other problems have rendered the city’s election invalid.

Such a ruling is in keeping with an opinion published by the court in early September which expressed serious concern as to how the election was handled.

A new poll is now reportedly likely to occur in Februrary.

Opposition parties in the city have largely welcomed the ruling, with the branch of the populist Alternative für Deutschland party describing the capital as getting a “second chance” after the “election chaos”, which it blamed on the legacy parties currently holding power in the Berlin parliament.

Compared to other opposition groups, AfD in particular appears to have significant reason to celebrate, with the party seeing its popularity surge across Germany over the last year seemingly as a result of the ongoing gas and cost of living crises in the country.

According to aggregated data gathered by POLITICO, the party is now sitting around 15 per cent in current national polling, only around 4 points behind the ruling Greens and Social Democratic Party.

What’s more, issues surrounding how Berlin handled the nationwide general election occurring at the same time as its local elections also remain, with it looking ever more likely that it to will need to be at least partially re-run over disparities in the voting process.

While it is possible that the populists will see their sudden spike in popularity fall off between now and the beginning of 2023, reports are indicating that the country’s energy crisis is only to get worse over the coming months, with there even being talk of rolling blackouts occurring within Berlin this winter.

Such a disastrous possibility largely favours AfD maintaining or improving its relatively strong position nationally while heading into the re-run, though recent events in both the UK and the United States have shown that a few months is a very long time in modern politics.

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