Berlin Rerun: Partial Repeat of 2021 German Federal Election | World News – Times of India

Berlin Rerun: Partial Repeat of 2021 German Federal Election | World News – Times of India

Half a million Berliners were called to return to the polls on Sunday for a repeat of Germany’s federal election two years ago after officials in the capital were found to have bungled the original vote.
In December, the country’s Constitutional Court ordered a partial rerun after numerous mishaps were discovered during the original election on September 26, 2021,
They included incorrect ballot papers, ballots going missing and queues of people waiting outside polling stations after voting had ended.
Some voters didn’t get to vote amid the chaos, while others cast their ballots after the media had already published result projections.
The Berlin Marathon was held on the same day, making it more difficult for officials to deliver replacement ballots to voting locations.
Berlin has already held a rerun on the state vote, which was held alongside the federal election in 2021, and which resulted in a change of mayor.
Could the result change the German government?
Sunday’s rerun affects around a fifth of Berlin constituencies — about 455 of the city’s 2,256 electoral wards — but will not alter Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s center-left coalition as less than 1% of the country’s voters will be participating.
Despite having little impact on the makeup of the federal government, voters could make minor changes in the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament.
Berlin currently sends 29 of the 736 lawmakers to the Bundestag and some are at risk of losing their seats.
Voters could send a warning to Scholz’s coalition
The rerun will, however, serve as a litmus test of the popularity of the governing coalition, made up of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the environmentally-friendly Greens and the business-focused Free Democrats (FDP).
Scholz’s government has seen its support sink as the country deals with an economic downturn due to the lasting effects of high inflation following the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine, as well as falling demand for German exports.
The far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has seen a resurgence in popularity, particularly in eastern Germany over the past two years, as it campaigns against increasing immigration.
However, the party is unlikely to make major gains in the Berlin rerun as it does not have the same level of support in the capital.
Rerun could cause new issues
There is also a risk that turnout will be much lower than for the original vote, which across the city equaled 75.2% of eligible voters.
Some Berliners have questioned the need to hold a rerun so shortly before Germany’s next federal election — due no later than October 26 next year.
Another complication is that some Berliners have reached the voting age since 2021 and are eligible to take part, while others have, over the past two years, moved into areas holding the fresh vote.
A further hurdle is that the same candidates must stand as in the original vote, even though one former lawmaker, Birgit Malsack-Winkemann from the AfD, is in custody, accused of supporting a far-right terrorist organization.
In the meantime, three states, Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg, are due to hold regional elections in September.
German voters will also participate in the European parliamentary elections in June.

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