CDU and AfD win, SPD and FDP fall – that is the result of the repeat election in Berlin. It largely corresponds to the mood reflected in the nationwide surveys. What is surprising is that the Greens remain almost stable. This also applies to the left. Participation in the election was low; only around half of those eligible to vote, namely 51 percent, went to the polls. The FDP loses a seat in the Bundestag.

If you compare the second votes in the 455 electoral districts in which the election was repeated, the CDU was able to increase by 6.9 percentage points and the AfD by 5.6 points. The SPD lost 7.8 points, the FDP 5.8. The Greens were able to improve slightly, by 0.5 percentage points, and the Left Party also did better by 0.7 points. The Greens result could also have something to do with the demonstrations against the AfD and right-wing extremists.

No change in direct mandates

However, since only 20 percent of those eligible to vote were asked to vote again and only half of them voted, the repeat election has only a minor impact on the Berlin result overall. The CDU gained 1.3 percentage points and reached 17.2 percent, the AfD gained 0.9 points and improved to 9.4 percent.

The SPD lost 1.2 points, but remains the strongest party with 22.2 percent, followed by the Greens with 22.0 percent, which lost 0.3 points. The FDP lost 0.9 percentage points and is now behind the AfD with 8.1 percent. The Left got 11.5 percent, gaining 0.1 percentage points. For the federal result, the repeat election only brought slight changes of 0.1 percentage points; for the SPD and the Left, the result did not change at all.

There were also no changes in the direct mandates. The former governing mayor Michael Müller (SPD) was able to defend his mandate in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf despite significant losses. Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus from the Greens and CDU man Klaus-Dieter Gröhler, who gained 2.7 percentage points, came in just behind Müller.

SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert in Schöneberg-Tempelhof and former Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters from the CDU in Reinickendorf also retain their direct mandate. The Green Stefan Gelbhaar was even able to significantly expand his lead in the Pankow district.

Governing Mayor Kai Wegner from the CDU spoke of a “clear signal” to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who now has to say how he wants to get Germany fit again. Wegner saw the result for the CDU as a reaction to the good government work in Berlin under his leadership.

The Berlin SPD chairwoman and Senator for Economic Affairs Franziska Giffey, however, said that it was an exceptional election that does not allow any conclusions to be drawn for future elections. But she also said that the SPD had to stand up more strongly for its social democratic position. The “dissatisfaction that exists among the population” must be addressed more strongly again. The AfD's strong performance and low voter turnout are warning signs. What is also serious is that due to the low participation, Berlin is only represented in the Bundestag with 25 instead of the previous 29 seats.

Returning officer Stephan Bröchler was “a little sad” about the turnout; he had given 60 percent as the desired mark. The reasons for the weak turnout could be that some Berliners did not know whether they were eligible to vote. In addition, Sunday was the last day of Berlin's winter holidays, so many of the capital's residents were away. The bad weather with a lot of rain could also have had an impact on voter turnout.

The fact that it was so low meant that Berlin lost four members of the Bundestag. Ana-Maria Trasnea (SPD), Lars Lindemann (FDP), Pascal Meiser (Left) and Nina Stahr (Greens) will be leaving. For Stahr, the result means that she can remain state chairwoman of the Berlin Greens, because the separation of office and mandate continues to apply in the party.

The SPD politician Angela Hohmann from Lower Saxony, Franziska Krumwiede-Steiner from the Greens from North Rhine-Westphalia and the left-wing Christine Buchholz from Hesse are new members of the Bundestag. The FDP loses a mandate, so the Bundestag becomes one seat smaller. Buchholz announced on her website on Monday that she would not accept the mandate.

She justified this by saying that the Left Party was “not doing justice to its task as an anti-war party in the current crucial situations”. Accepting the mandate would bring them into constant conflict with the line of the party leadership and the left-wing group in the Bundestag. Bucholz, who was a member of the Bundestag from 2009 to 2021, added that Sahra Wagenknecht's new party was “not an alternative” for her.

The reason for the repeat election was numerous mishaps during the vote in Berlin in September 2021. These included incorrect or missing ballot papers, and because of long queues, voting had to take place after 6 p.m. According to a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court, the election had to be repeated in 455 of Berlin's 2,256 electoral districts.