The parliamentary elections are to be repeated in Berlin on February 12, 2023. The Federal Constitutional Court declared the election of September 26, 2022 invalid. The re-election is said to cost taxpayers 40 million euros. But does the date work? Today the urgent decision will be made in Karlsruhe. All the latest news about redialing in the Newsticker.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 6:48 a.m.: On Tuesday (9:30 a.m.) it will be clear whether the repeat election to the Berlin House of Representatives can take place on February 12 as planned. In contrast, more than 40 plaintiffs filed a constitutional complaint and an urgent application in Karlsruhe in December. In this process, the Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court announced the publication of a decision at short notice on Monday. (Az. 2 BvR 2189/22)

The court did not provide any further details. However, shortly before that, a letter from the chairperson of the Senate was announced, in which the deputies are given the opportunity to comment on the main application by March 2nd. From this it can be deduced that so far only the urgent application has been decided on. The plaintiffs want to ensure that the election cannot take place until a final decision has been made from Karlsruhe.

In principle, the Berlin Constitutional Court is responsible for reviewing elections to the House of Representatives. He had declared the election of September 26, 2021 to be invalid overall because of the many glitches. So it has to be repeated in its entirety. The lawsuit in Karlsruhe is directed against this judgment from November.

Monday, January 30, 12:01 a.m .: The CDU and the left criticized the statements made by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on the debate about expropriations of large housing companies in Berlin. Scholz’s criticism was “nothing but hypocritical,” said CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja to the “Tagesspiegel” (Monday). Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) used similar rhetoric in the last election campaign and then quickly forgot her “empty promises” in the coalition. “The Berlin SPD is conservative in the election campaign, but when in doubt it always stands firmly on the side of the far left.”

Scholz had sided with Giffey in the debate and at the same time got involved in the capital’s election campaign. “Expropriations do not create new apartments,” Scholz told the “Tagesspiegel” (online Saturday) to the coalition partners Green and Left in Berlin. They want to implement the nationalization of real estate of large corporations, as demanded by a referendum.

The expropriation of large housing companies is one of the most controversial issues in the election campaign for the re-election on February 12. Since April, a commission of experts set up by the Senate has been discussing whether and, if so, how the matter can be implemented.

The head of the left parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Dietmar Bartsch, also told the Tagesspiegel that Scholz had a strange understanding of how to deal with a referendum. “It would make more sense to keep your campaign promises to build 400,000 apartments a year. That’s where the traffic light fails,” he said, referring to the red-green-yellow federal government.

Wednesday, January 25, 11:27 a.m .: For the Berlin repeat election on February 12, voters can now get decision-making aids from the new Wahl-O-Mat. The well-known website was activated on Wednesday. After the approval or rejection of 38 demands, the Wahl-O-Mat should show which party and which program one is close to in terms of content. Before the last two Berlin elections, the Wahl-O-Mat was used around a million times, according to the Senate.

There are demands for climate neutrality in Berlin, homeless camps, e-scooters, New Year’s Eve fireworks, primary school grades, refugees, bicycle and car traffic, the closure of Friedrichstrasse, daycare centers, police checks, headscarves and Berlin’s debt. At the start on Wednesday, top politicians from the six parties represented in the House of Representatives wanted to test the Wahl-O-Mat.

A total of 31 parties are represented with their demands. Some were newly developed for the repeat election of the Berlin House of Representatives, others come from the 2021 election. The Wahl-O-Mat is offered by the Federal Agency and the State Agency for Civic Education. It has been used in federal and state elections since 2002.

Tuesday, January 24, 11:10 a.m.: After a visit to Berlin, OSCE experts are opposed to sending observers to the repeat elections on February 12. This emerges from a report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Europe. “Based on the results of this report, ODIHR does not recommend sending an election observer for these elections,” the report published in Warsaw on Monday evening reads.

The House of Representatives elections and the elections to the District Councils of September 2021 have to be repeated due to major glitches. State Returning Officer Stephan Bröchler had invited international observers from the OSCE. In mid-January, they first sent an advance team to check whether election observation would make sense. They spoke to representatives of the Senate, the electoral authorities, the House of Representatives, all parties and civil society organizations. On this basis, the team now opposes the observation, but advises the implementation of previous ODIHR recommendations.

The reason given in the report is that the interlocutors in Berlin are open to observing the repeat election. But almost everyone is of the opinion that the ODIHR observation formats that are possible for this election would not be necessary or useful. The team noted great confidence in the ability of the Berlin election authorities to organize the repeat election.

The OSCE experts maintain the generally high standards for elections in Germany, including the correct preparation of voter and candidate lists, rules for party and election campaign financing, and media diversity. According to the report, all of the interlocutors “see the context of the election campaign as open and free”.

With regard to the Berlin elections, it says: “Despite the procedural errors that led to the repetition of these elections, all interlocutors of the ODIHR team expressed confidence in the independence of the electoral authorities and in their ability to manage the upcoming elections, including postal votes.” The report also notes the Interior Senate’s commission of inquiry into the election mishaps in 2021 and the consequences drawn from them.

Minor glitches had also become public in the past few days in the preparations for the repeat election. Returning officer Bröchler said that with almost 2.5 million voters and documents, minor errors cannot be completely avoided. It is crucial that they are corrected quickly.

You can read more about the election in Berlin on the next page.

Surf tips:

On February 12, eligible voters in Berlin can vote. You need certain documents for the polling station. We explain what you need to bring with you to the election.

Elections to the House of Representatives are held in Berlin in February. Would you like to know how you can apply for postal voting and how exactly it works? All information about postal voting can be found online at FOCUS.

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