Berlin, capital of electoral “Absurdistan”

Some 550,000 voters Berlin They were called to the polls this Sunday to vote, for the third time, in the elections held in September 2021 and whose repetition fell into absurdity. The administrative chaos that was then generated in 455 districts – of the total of 2,256 existing in the capital– led the Court to annul its results. There were eternal queues, lack of ballots or incomplete lists, on a day in which three elections coexisted – general, regional and several popular consultations -, in addition to a marathon crossing the city and complicating citizen mobility. For many Germans, Berlin reaffirmed its reputation as an incorrigibly anarchic capital.

In the repetition, signs of inefficiency on the part of the authorities and a exasperating slowness in making decisions. It has been two and a half years since the elections in which the conservative was dismissed from power Angela Merkel. A year later there was a complete repetition of the regionals, but what happened with the generals was left in suspense. The Justice ended up ruling on the new repetition, although partial, which affects one in five voters.

It thus turned out that some street residents were summoned to the polls, but not their neighbors across the street. Someone who had recently moved to one of the affected districts was “invited” to repeat the vote that he had not actually cast.

Some among those not summoned wondered why they did not have that second chance, now that they know what the coalition between the social democrat Olaf Scholz and its green and liberal partners. Those called yes did not quite see why they were asked to vote, given that no changes are expected in the correlation of forces in the federal Parliament (Bundestag). The previous repetition removed the social democrat Franziska Giffey from the mayor’s office in favor of the conservative Kai Wegner. But half a million Berliners will not be able to change the distribution of the parliamentary pie in a country of 84 million inhabitants.

A final factor of absurdity: since it is a repetition, the parties will compete with the same lists as in 2021. It will not even be a first test at the polls for the split of La Izquierda led by Sahra Wagenknecht. And on the far-right list Alternative for Germany (AfD) the deputy Birgit Malsack-Winkemann still appears, in provisional prison for involvement in a coup plot to which terrorism is accused.

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