The 2021 federal election has to be repeated in 455 of 2,256 electoral districts in the state of Berlin due to numerous glitches. The Federal Constitutional Court decided this on Tuesday. The Karlsruhe judges thus went slightly beyond the decision of the Bundestag, which had already voted for a partial repetition in November 2022.

The repeat election will now take place on February 11th, as state returning officer Stephan Bröchler announced in Karlsruhe. A lot of planning has already been started and can now be implemented.

The Bundestag resolution did not go far enough for the Union faction at the time. She turned to the Constitutional Court to ensure that the second votes for the party lists were cast again in half of Berlin’s constituencies. However, the Federal Constitutional Court rejected such a significant expansion, as well as a repetition throughout Berlin.

The first reactions from the capital were not long in coming.

The left was relieved. “With the verdict it is clear that we will remain in the Bundestag and continue to fulfill our role as a social opposition,” said former parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch to the German Press Agency. This partial repetition cannot change the outcome in the two constituencies in which the Left won direct mandates, said Bartsch. The result: The directly elected MPs Gesine Lötzsch and Gregor Gysi as well as the Leipzig MP Sören Pellmann remain in the Bundestag. This in turn secures the mandates of all 39 MPs who still belong to the left today, as well as those who have since left, including the group around Sahra Wagenknecht.

If the election had been repeated in its entirety, a different scenario would have emerged: Then one of the direct mandates could have been lost and with it all the seats of the Left and the Wagenknecht group, which were awarded via lists in 2021. The party is now spared this. “This means that a small but important hurdle has been overcome,” said Bartsch. The next step is to recognize the 28 remaining left-wing MPs as a separate group.

Overall, there was agreement among politicians that the composition of the Bundestag would probably not change significantly even after the partial repetition. This “should have no impact on the majority,” said SPD MP Johannes Fechner in Karlsruhe.

SPD leader Saskia Esken also welcomed the verdict. “The plaintiffs tried to wipe this decision off the table in its entirety. That was not the case in the Federal Constitutional Court’s decision, so it also confirms our legal opinion,” said Esken in an interview with the German Press Agency. Above all, it is important that this election strengthens trust in the democratic structures again.

“This verdict strengthens democracy and makes it once again abundantly clear that voting errors are not a venial sin, but must have consequences in cases of doubt,” said FDP Federal Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki to the “Rheinische Post”.

The Berlin state chairmen of the Green Party, Nina Stahr and Philmon Ghirmai, explained: “The process of coming to terms with it must continue; structural improvements in the preparation and implementation of elections must be consistently advanced.”

For the Berlin AfD, state leader Kristin Brinker welcomed the verdict. “In a functioning democracy, election results must be free from any doubt as to how they came about,” she said.

Berlin’s governing mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) has expressed confidence that the upcoming partial repeat of the federal election in the capital will go well. After the Federal Constitutional Court’s decision, Wegner said he had “full confidence” in the state returning officer, Stephan Bröchler, “that the elections will run smoothly.” The Senate has “worked with him to create all the necessary conditions so that elections in Berlin can function again.”