Berlin state elections declared void =

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Berlin state elections declared void​

Ben Knight

Berlin's highest court has ordered new elections in the German capital, declaring that chaos in the 2021 vote violated election law. The Berlin mayor faces a neck-and-neck race to keep her office.

Germany's constitutional court ruled on Wednesday that the state of Berlin would have to re-run its elections next year, after deciding that organizational chaos reported at hundreds of polling stations around the city last September made the vote invalid. The Berlin election will now have to be repeated within 90 days.

Presiding Judge Ludgera Selting said the decision had to be taken because of the "frequency and gravity" of the mistakes that had been made, which were so widespread that they may have altered the election result. Selting also spoke of "serious systemic flaws" in the preparation of the election.

Wilko Zicht, who runs the nonprofit electoral watchdog Wahlrecht, said the court's decision was certainly right. "Democracy rests on the fact that results are accepted, and that is only possible if you can trust the results," he told DW. "These mistakes could not have been corrected any other way." It would not have been fair, he argued, if the election were only repeated in areas that had reported problems.

Zicht also thinks Wednesday's decision should strengthen, rather than weaken, trust in democratic institutions. "I think the danger would have been greater if the verdict today had been different," he said. "Then you actually could have argued: Even if something has clearly gone wrong, how can they just carry on and not repeat the election."

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