Gains for the CDU and AfD, losses for the traffic light parties SPD and FDP and only a small loss for the Greens: In the partial repeat of the federal election in Berlin, the federal trend has prevailed.
After counting all electoral districts, the SPD remains the strongest party in the capital with 22.2 percent (-1.2 percentage points), closely followed by the Greens with 22.0 percent (-0.3). The CDU improved to 17.2 percent (1.3), as could be seen on the state returning officer's website on Monday night. The AfD climbs to 9.4 percent (1.0) and pushes past the FDP, which falls to 8.1 percent (-0.9). With 11.5 percent, the Left practically maintains its result from the 2021 election (0.1).
According to a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, new elections were held in Berlin in 455 of 2,256 electoral districts - a fifth - because there were many organizational problems and breakdowns during the 2021 election. The numbers published by the state election authority in the evening do not represent the individual results of just the partial repetition, but the new overall result, which also includes the valid part of the election on September 26, 2021.
Voter turnout lower than 2021
Berlin's CDU state leader and governing mayor Kai Wegner attributed his party's growth to its work in the city. “This is mainly because we do good government work in Berlin,” he said on RBB. The CDU has been governing the country together with the SPD since April 2023. Its chairwoman Franziska Giffey pointed out that the SPD remains the strongest force in Berlin's overall results. "And that's good news."
Almost 550,000 Berliners were called to vote, the turnout was lower than in 2021. As a result, the election management reported the turnout for the entire Berlin federal election as 69.5 percent (2021: 75.2 percent). That would be the lowest value for a federal election in the state of Berlin since 1990.
Start of an important election year
The election marked the start of an important election year in Germany: the European elections are scheduled for June 9th, followed by state elections in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg in September. It was already clear that this would not change the majority in the Bundestag or the majority of the traffic light coalition - the proportion of those entitled to repeat voting out of all eligible voters nationwide is only 0.9 percent. However, smaller shifts were expected.
There were no changes in the 12 Bundestag direct mandates that are up for grabs in the capital: SPD 4, Greens and CDU 3 each and Left 2. Former Prime Minister Michael Müller (SPD) defended his direct mandate particularly narrowly. SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert, former Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters (CDU) and Green Party politician Stefan Gelbhaar also achieved this in particularly exciting constituencies.
Changes elsewhere were not mathematically possible. Reason: Voting took place in all twelve Berlin federal parliamentary constituencies, but to very different extents. In Pankow, 85 percent of the polling districts were affected, in Lichtenberg only 2.9 percent.
“From an organizational point of view, the election went well,” said state returning officer Stephan Bröchler in the RBB. However, there were some “mistakes” that are common for an election of this magnitude. In a polling station in Pankow, for example, a key was missing for a room with the voting documents, which were then delivered by the district.
Election day 2021 was chaotic
On September 26, 2021, in addition to the election for the Bundestag, the elections for the Berlin House of Representatives, the district council assemblies and a referendum took place in the capital. A lot went wrong back then: long lines in front of polling stations, missing or incorrect ballot papers, and a temporary interruption in voting in some places. Some voters cast their votes after 6 p.m., when forecasts and projections had already been published.
For this reason, the two botched elections at the state and district level were completely repeated on February 12, 2023 by order of the Berlin Constitutional Court. The political consequence was the change of government in the country from red-green-red to black-red.
The Karlsruhe judges, in turn, only declared the federal election partially invalid. Nevertheless, it was the first repeat election in history ordered by the Federal Constitutional Court.
Repeat with some special features
The partial repetition had some peculiarities. The parties were not allowed to put forward any new candidates, the ballot paper had to look like it did in 2021. That is why the former AfD member of the Bundestag Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, who did not make it into parliament in 2021 and since the end of 2022 due to suspicion of membership and support, formally ran again of a (right-wing) terrorist organization is in custody. According to the election management, she was able to increase her first vote result in the Steglitz-Zehlendorf constituency by 0.2 points to 5.5 percent.