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Redial in Berlin: Election with limited signaling effect

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Redial in Berlin: Election with limited signaling effect

As of: February 12, 2024 9:50 a.m

Despite its limited significance, the CDU sees the Berlin mini-federal election as a signal – against the traffic lights in the federal government. There are also calls for more profile from the SPD. The Bundestag shrinks by one seat – at the expense of the FDP.

Even if it was an election with limited significance, something can be read from the result. After all, the vote in some Berlin electoral districts was the first election in this super election year.

About the results:

– The Bundestag shrinks by one seat to just one 735 MPs. The FDP is only represented in parliament with 91 men and women, as the Federal Returning Officer announced on Monday night. For the other parties, the bottom line is that the number of seats remains unchanged.

– This does not change the majority in the Bundestag. Despite the small number of voters for a federal election, the percentage changes are a pointer: for the Opposition parties CDU and AfD Things were looking up in Berlin for them Traffic light parties SPD and FDP downwards – and the Greens were able to almost maintain their Berlin result.

– In addition to the vote result, the amount of each vote is also important voter turnout decisive for the distribution of seats among the state associations of the parties. Due to the low participation of 69.5 percent the state of Berlin lost four mandates and will in future only be represented by 25 politicians in the Bundestag. The SPD politician Angela Hohmann from Lower Saxony and Franziska Krumwiede-Steiner from the Greens from North Rhine-Westphalia also moved into the Bundestag. Christine Buchholz from the Left in Hesse could also have moved up, but she did not accept the mandate; Jörg Cezanne moved up instead.

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– Both twelve direct mandates in the Bundestag, which are up for grabs in the capital, there were no changes: SPD 4, Greens and CDU 3 each and Left 2. The former head of government 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.

– The one in custody AfD candidate Birgit Malsack-Winkemann was able to slightly improve its result from 2021. According to the state election authorities, she received 5.5 percent of the first votes in her Steglitz-Zehlendorf constituency. That is 0.2 percentage points more than in the original federal election around two and a half years ago. At that time, Malsack-Winkemann was not returned to the Bundestag.

– There was one this time almost smooth choice. “From an organizational point of view, the election went well,” said state returning officer Stephan Bröchler 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.

What follows from the election?

The parties naturally draw different conclusions from the mini federal election. While the Union primarily aimed at the slight losses suffered by the traffic light parties and spoke of a “stop sign” for the federal government, SPD state politician Franziska Giffey pointed out that the Berlin SPD was still the strongest force. But: The fact that the traffic light parties lost in the partial repeat election “has to be taken very seriously,” said Giffey.

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CDU Mayor Wegner sees the Chancellor as responsible

The SPD is now only a junior partner of the now ruling CDU in the capital – also a result of a repeat election as a result of the voting mishaps in autumn 2021. The first mayor is now Kai Wegner, and he called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to change course. He expected “that the Chancellor will break his silence here about how he wants to get this country back on track,” he said rbb.

AfD state and parliamentary group leader Kristin Brinker also saw “a clear signal” to the federal government against “de-industrialization, heating chaos and uncontrolled migration.” The election also shows “that the unsubstantiated accusations and the outright agitation against the only alternative to the green transformation remain fruitless,” explained Brinker, apparently with a view to the reactions to the revelations about the Potsdam meeting of right-wing extremists and AfD politicians.

Left party stable

The Left Party viewed the result as a tailwind because it was at least able to achieve a stable result. Nevertheless, the Berlin Left leader Maximilian Schirmer expressed concern about the AfD’s high gains in the electoral districts where the vote was held again. “We can clearly observe that the government parties lost and the opposition parties won.”

The Left recently had poor poll numbers nationwide and had to cope with the splitting off of the wing around Bundestag member Sahra Wagenknecht. In the partial repeat of the federal election in around a fifth of Berlin’s electoral districts, it increased slightly and now reached 11.5 percent across Berlin. However, due to lower voter turnout, the Left lost a Berlin mandate to the Hesse regional association. This was bitter for the affected Berlin MP Pascal Meiser, who had done good work, said Schirmer.

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As was evident on the state returning officer’s website on Monday night, the SPD remains the strongest party 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). 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). Other parties accounted for an unchanged 9.4 percent.

SPD and FDP with higher losses in repeat districts

The numbers published by the state election authority represent the new provisional final result, which also includes the valid part of the election on September 26, 2021. This will be finally determined by the Federal Election Committee on March 1st. However, if only the results in the repeat districts are considered, the SPD and FDP have suffered significant losses.

Martin Polansky, ARD Berlin, tagesschau, February 12, 2024 7:15 a.m

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