Berlin holds court-ordered rerun of chaotic state elections

BERLIN (AP) — The city of Berlin on Sunday will hold a court-ordered rerun of a chaotic 2021 state election that was marred by severe problems at many polling sites that led to long-hour lines as some polling places ran out of ballots. polls or received those for the wrong district.

Berliners have long been frustrated with the German capital’s notoriously dysfunctional ways, which for years defied clichés of German efficiency and made the city the laughing stock of the rest of the country.

The constitutional court in Berlin, one of Germany’s three cities that is also a state in its own right, declared the original vote invalid in November. He said in a statement that a partial reply would not be sufficient “in view of the large number and seriousness of electoral errors”.

The decision followed complaints from several political parties and government entities during the Sept. 26, 2021 vote for the state legislature.

Berlin held four ballots on the same day that year: the state election, an election for the city’s 12 district assemblies, the German national election, and a local referendum. The Berlin Marathon, also held on the same day, added to the logistical difficulties.

Long lines formed outside many polling stations as voters struggled with extra ballots. Some polling stations ran out of ballots during the day and others received ballots for the wrong district, leading to large numbers of invalid ballots.

Another problem was that the election was supposed to finish at 6pm, but voters in line at that time were allowed to vote, at a time when exit polls were already public.

Franziska Giffey, who belongs to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, was elected the new mayor of Berlin in 2021 and has led the city in a tripartite left-wing governing coalition. The 44-year-old is running for mayor again.

The candidate of the Greens is Senator for the Environment and Mobility Bettina Jarasch. Klaus Lederer, the culture senator, is running for the Left Party — both are currently Giffey’s coalition partners.

Kai Wegner is the first candidate of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union, currently leading the polls.

In recent polls, the Christian Democrats led, ahead of the Social Democrats and the Greens, with a number of other parties expected to take a significant share of the vote.

Polling estimates leave it open who will become the next mayor of Berlin as several coalition options are possible.

Among the most pressing issues is the city’s real estate market. Rising rents and housing shortages have made it nearly impossible to live in the inner city for many middle-class families.

Berliners would also like to see an end to some of their city’s frustrations.

Among the most gritting issues are the very delayed opening of the city’s airport and the near impossibility of getting an appointment with the city’s city centers to apply for a marriage license, register after a move, or apply for a new passport.

The city’s school system is known for its notoriously dilapidated buildings and students who regularly place at the bottom of the national league table when it comes to reading, math, and other subjects.

However, despite numerous complaints, the city’s 3.6 million residents also love their city, praised for its tolerance, vibrant culture, nightlife and diversity.

Around 2.4 million people are allowed to vote in the reply, according to the German news agency dpa.

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