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Bundestag one seat smaller after election rerun – FDP mandate gone

The partial re-run of the Bundestag elections in Berlin has led to a reduction in the size of parliament by one seat at the expense of the FDP. In future, the Bundestag will consist of 735 MPs, including only 91 from the FDP, as announced by the Federal Returning Officer on Monday night. For the other parties, the bottom line is that the number of seats will remain unchanged.

This does not change the majority in parliament. However, the percentage changes are indicative despite the small electorate for a federal election: the opposition parties CDU and AfD saw an upward trend in Berlin, while the SPD and FDP saw a downward trend - and the Greens were able to almost maintain their Berlin result.

According to the results in the capital, the SPD remains the strongest party there with 22.2% (-1.2 percentage points), closely followed by the Greens with 22.0% (-0.3). The CDU improved to 17.2% (+1.3). The AfD climbed to 9.4% (+1.0) and overtook the FDP, which fell to 8.1% (-0.9). At 11.5%, the Left Party practically maintained its result from the 2021 election (+0.1).

The overall nationwide percentage result for 2021 thus changed only minimally: the FDP (11.4%) and the Greens (14.7%) each lost 0.1 percentage points. The CDU (19.0%) and AfD (10.4%) each gained 0.1 percentage points. For the SPD (25.7%) and the Left Party (4.9%), the 2021 federal result did not change in Sunday's election.

In addition to the result of the vote, the level of voter turnout is also decisive for the distribution of seats among the state associations of the parties. Due to the low turnout of 69.5%, the state of Berlin lost 4 seats and will only be represented by 25 politicians in the Bundestag in future. The SPD politician Angela Hohmann from Lower Saxony, Franziska Krumwiede-Steiner from the Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia and Christine Buchholz from the Left Party in Hesse were also newly elected to the Bundestag.

The reason for the election rerun was due to many organizational problems and mishaps during the 2021 vote in Berlin. Following a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, a new election had to be held in 455 of the 2256 constituencies. Almost 550,000 Berliners were called to vote. The electoral administration reported a turnout of 69.5 percent for the entire Berlin Bundestag election - i.e. in the constituencies with valid results and in those with a repeat election (2021: 75.2 percent). This was the lowest figure for a federal election in the state of Berlin since 1990.

Kick-off for an important election year

The election marked the start of an important election year in Germany: the European elections are scheduled for June 9, followed by state elections in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg in September. It was already clear beforehand that this would not change the majority in the Bundestag or the majority of the traffic light coalition - the proportion of those eligible to vote in repeat elections in relation to all eligible voters nationwide is only 0.9%. Smaller shifts had been expected, however.

However, there were no changes in the 12 direct seats in the Bundestag that are up for grabs in the capital: SPD 4, Greens and CDU 3 each and Linke 2. Former head of government Michael Müller (SPD) defended his direct mandate by a particularly narrow margin. SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert, former Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters (CDU) and Green politician Stefan Gelbhaar also managed to do so in particularly exciting constituencies.

"From an organizational point of view, the election went well," said state election director Stephan Bröchler on RBB. However, there were some "mistakes", which are usual for an election of this size. In one polling station in Pankow, for example, a key was missing for a room containing the election documents, which were then delivered by the district.

Election day 2021 was chaotic

On September 26, 2021, elections to the Berlin House of Representatives, district assemblies and a referendum were held in the capital alongside the Bundestag elections. Many things went wrong at the time: long queues outside polling stations, missing or incorrect ballot papers, a temporary interruption of 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 state and district level had already been completely repeated on February 12, 2023 by order of the Berlin Constitutional Court. The judges in Karlsruhe, in turn, declared the federal election only partially invalid.


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