Press release no. 03/22 of November 17, 2022
Elections to be repeated in Berlin: different polling dates for Land and federal elections
WIESBADEN/BERLIN – On 16 November 2022, the Constitutional Court of the Land of Berlin declared entirely invalid the elections to the 19th Berlin House of Representatives and Berlin’s twelve borough councils held on 26 September 2021. The Berlin Land Elections Act provides for these elections to be repeated in all of Berlin within 90 days. 12 February 2023 would be a possible polling date according to the Berlin Land Returning Officer.
“Some Berlin citizens will presumably be called to the polls on two separate days as a result of the Berlin Constitutional Court’s decision. These are the voters who are affected also by the repeat election to the Bundestag. Land and federal elections cannot be held on the same day as different deadlines apply in the repeat election to the Bundestag for both the two-stage electoral scrutiny procedure and the conduct of the election. The two-month period in which complaints can be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court has not yet ended while the period for holding the elections at Land level has already begun with today’s decision of the Constitutional Court,” said Federal Returning Officer Dr. Georg Thiel.
In contrast to the electoral scrutiny procedure at Land level where the Constitutional Court directly takes a decision, a two-stage procedure has to be followed in Bundestag elections. First, the Committee for the Scrutiny of Elections of the Bundestag considers the objections received and prepares a decision. Then the German Bundestag takes a decision in plenary sitting. On 10 November 2022, the relevant decision was taken by the Bundestag plenary. Since then, electoral complaints about that decision can be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court. Those entitled to file such a complaint can do so within a period of two months.
If no electoral complaint is lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court, the decision of the German Bundestag will become final in January 2023. The Bundestag election must then be repeated within 60 days. The latest possible date of a repeat election to the Bundestag would be 5 March 2023 in the case of Berlin. The Berlin Land Returning Officer sets the date for the election.
In case one or more electoral complaints are filed with the Federal Constitutional Court, the election date will be postponed accordingly. It would then be unclear at what time and possibly also to what extent the Bundestag election will be repeated in Berlin. The duration of Federal Constitutional Court proceedings is not laid down in law. As a rule, it is at the discretion of the Court.
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