On February 12, 2023, the parliamentary elections will be repeated in Berlin. The Federal Constitutional Court declared the original election of September 26, 2022 invalid. The re-election is said to cost taxpayers 40 million euros. All the latest news about redialing in the Newsticker.
9:50 a.m .: Berlin’s state returning officer Stephan Bröchler considers cyber attacks on the repeat election on February 12 to be possible. “We have to take that into account, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Bröchler of the “taz” (Saturday). “There are warring countries that may have an interest in sabotaging the technical infrastructure, that want to show: Look, everything is collapsing in Berlin,” said Bröchler in a “taz” interview.
Because many problems and errors arose in the elections to the House of Representatives and the twelve district parliaments in September 2021, the Berlin Constitutional Court ordered a complete repetition. Bröchler is responsible for organizing them. The state returning officer wants to deal openly with possible mishaps or errors in the preparation or conduct of the election, as he emphasized in the interview. “We don’t want to sweep anything under the rug.”
The 60-year-old announced that he would only cast his vote on February 12th. He assumes that the election will be successful. “And going to the polling station on election Sunday is just something special.”
However, there is great interest in postal voting in the capital: By the end of this week, around three weeks before election day, 512,998 postal voting cards had been issued. The number corresponds to 18.7 percent of those entitled to vote. In 2021 it was 18.5 percent at the same time. The state returning officer publishes these figures on an ongoing basis. In total, around 983,000 people in Berlin requested postal voting documents in 2021, which was around 35 percent of the almost 2.5 million eligible voters.
Friday, January 20, 7:09 a.m .: Berlin hasn’t seen this yet: The House of Representatives election will be completely repeated because the State Constitutional Court declared the vote in autumn 2021 invalid due to many glitches and “serious systemic errors”. But the election campaign also has its peculiarities. You can read more about the election campaign topics here.
12.06 p.m .: According to its own statements, the state of Berlin has sent all election notifications for the upcoming repeat elections. The state-owned IT service center Berlin (ITDZ) announced on Thursday that the notifications were printed and dispatched before January 18th.
The approximately 2.8 million election notifications were processed within ten days in the state’s own printing center. According to the legal deadline, the letters must reach those entitled to vote by January 22 at the latest, said a spokeswoman for the state election authority on Thursday.
Thursday, January 19, 7:50 a.m.: Election campaign tones in the run-up to the Berlin House of Representatives elections shaped the current hour in the Bundestag on the New Year’s Eve riots on Wednesday. While the CDU/CSU blamed the red-red-green coalition governing Berlin for failings in the security sector, the SPD, Greens, FDP and Left Party accused the CDU of stirring up prejudice by asking about the first names of suspects. A survey by Berlin’s Tagesspiegel showed that there were at least 282 attacks on the police and fire brigade throughout Germany, a good 100 of them in Berlin.
Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) pointed out in the debate requested by the CDU/CSU that his Italian-sounding first name does not make him “a member of a Sicilian mafia clan”. The first name debate started by the CDU was “totally arbitrary”. However, criminal law policy is “not made at the level of regulars’ table slogans”.
There was cross-party unity in condemning the violence, in which rescue workers were often attacked and shot at with firecrackers. It is particularly to be condemned if those are attacked “whose job is to help others,” said Buschmann. Both the coalition and the opposition advocated tough action against the predominantly young, male suspects.
For the Union, however, Andrea Lindholz blamed a “chronic underfunding of the police and judiciary” in Berlin for the excesses. This creates “the breeding ground for violence and criminal clans”. The CSU politician also pointed out that two-thirds of the suspects arrested were not German citizens. AfD MP Gottfried Curio said: “These people are not integrated enough, they are not deported enough.”
Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) also condemned the acts of violence as “disgusting”, but, like Buschmann, warned of an “objectification of the debate”. It is true that violence in public spaces “often comes from young men”, often in difficult social situations. In contrast, the migration perspective here is “misleading”. Paus also campaigned emphatically for more violence prevention through good social work.
“We have to judge the perpetrators by their deeds and not by their first names,” demanded the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, Reem Alabali-Radovan (SPD). There must be a “clear edge” against excessive violence, but also an “extended hand” to tackle youth violence at its roots.
“Anyone who participates in these crimes must of course feel the consequences under the rule of law,” said left-wing politician Gökay Akbulut. However, she has no understanding if the events are used “to raise public awareness against migrants”.
The Berlin “Tagesspiegel” questioned all 16 interior ministries of the federal states about the New Year’s Eve attacks. In Berlin, there were 59 reported attacks on police officers and 43 on fire and rescue services. In Lower Saxony, the Interior Ministry confirmed attacks on 42 emergency services, and 42 emergency services were also injured in North Rhine-Westphalia.
In Bavaria, there were 34 attacks on emergency services. Hamburg reported 19 attacks on New Year’s Eve. According to the newspaper, there were single-digit attacks on emergency services in all other federal states that provided information. Some states such as Hesse and Baden-Württemberg did not want to give numbers, which is why the total number of attacks in Germany is probably over 282.
A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior said on Wednesday that the figures were “not yet final, valid and comparable”. A nationwide presentation requires comparability and validity. The Federal Criminal Police Office continues to compile the findings of the federal states.
Read more about the attacks on rescue workers on New Year’s Eve here.
Wednesday, January 18, 1:44 p.m .: The CDU federal chairman Friedrich Merz has promised the Berlin CDU his full support in the election campaign for the repeat election on February 12. “We are seeing good survey results, we are seeing a high level of mobilization by the Berlin CDU, the members of the CDU,” said Merz on Wednesday at a meeting with CDU top candidate Kai Wegner in the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus. “We will support the campaign to the best of our ability.”
He himself will appear twice in the election campaign: on January 27 in Neukölln and shortly before the election on February 10 at a big closing event with Wegner. According to Merz, the CDU has every chance of bringing about a change in Berlin, which is currently governed by red-green-red. The aim is for Wegner to become the next governing mayor of “this beautiful city”.
Wegner also underlined the CDU’s claim to be the strongest party in the election and to receive a “clear government mandate”. Together with Merz, he presented an oversized poster that is now emblazoned on the facade of the CDU federal office. “Celebrate Berlin, fire the Senate,” reads it. “We celebrate Berlin. But we criticize this bad Senate, which is driving the city more and more against the wall,” said Wegner.
According to the latest polls, the CDU can hope for victory in the elections. There she was just ahead, but there are signs of a head-to-head race with the SPD and the Greens.
12.20 p.m .: From the point of view of the Berlin FDP parliamentary group leader Sebastian Czaja, a new Senate must take care of the administration as quickly as possible. “The most pressing and urgent thing is administrative modernization. Everyone is talking about it, but nothing happens,” Czaja told the Berliner Zeitung (Monday). The basic problem is always the question of political party books and responsibilities.
“If, for example, a district councilor has a different party book than the respective senator, then it usually means that things are slowed down rather than decided,” criticized Czaja. “And that’s why we proposed to abolish the 60 temporary electoral officers, namely the district councillors.” Instead, a senator should do politics with a Senate branch office in the districts. “This eliminates the double responsibilities, and in future we will no longer need four contact points to clean a Berlin school toilet.”
“This re-election alone is now costing us taxpayers 40 million euros,” said the FDP politician. “Simply because in recent years we have not mustered up the collective courage to initiate a comprehensive administrative reform.”
Tuesday, January 17, 8:45 a.m.: The Berlin state returning officer Stephan Bröchler welcomed a possible observation of the repeat election on February 12 by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). “I see it very positively,” said Bröchler on Friday on RBB Inforadio. In this way, one can not only show the Berliners, but also everyone else, “that Berlin can hold elections”. That is a great opportunity. “And it also puts us under pressure to act particularly well.” That’s why he wants that.
OSCE officials were in Berlin earlier this week to assess the need for election observation. Your report on this should be available in the middle of next week. Berlin had invited the OSCE to observe the elections. Bröchler wants to win back trust in democracy.
The state returning officer does not expect that the constitutional complaint against the decision of the state constitutional court for a complete re-election will be successful and that the election will have to be postponed. The election has already started with the postal vote and he assumes that the judges in Karlsruhe will accept the decision of the state constitutional court, said Bröchler.
A constitutional complaint was filed with the Federal Constitutional Court in mid-December by 43 plaintiffs from Berlin, who are contesting the judgment of the Berlin Constitutional Court. Among them are eight members of the House of Representatives. A total of five complaints were received by the Federal Constitutional Court. The Berlin Constitutional Court has ruled that the September 2021 elections for the House of Representatives and the district assemblies must be repeated due to numerous mishaps.
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 on postal voting can be found online at FOCUS.
The defense ministers of 50 countries met at the US air force base in Ramstein on Friday to discuss aid for Ukraine. Germany wants to check the availability of Leopard 2 tanks. The USA does not yet want to deliver Abrams main battle tanks. All developments in the news ticker.
The Greens are getting more and more in need of explanation. The reasons: the climate protests in Lützerath and the new RWE deal. On Wednesday evening, the new Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) first ordered an examination of the stocks of Leopard tanks for a possible delivery to Ukraine on Friday. A report now reveals that his predecessor Christine Lambrecht is said to have banned this within the ministry shortly before.