A German court on Wednesday threw out the results of Berlin’s state election 14 months ago and ordered a re-run due to “systematic faults” in how the vote was carried out. In a ruling with national implications, Berlin’s constitutional court found that the German capital, which is one of the country’s 16 federal states, had failed to meet basic democratic standards with the September 26, 2021 ballot. “The linked elections for the state legislature and the (12) district councils for the entire constituency have been declared null and void,” the court’s chief justice, Ludgera Selting, said. The exceedingly rare move means that nearly 2.5 million eligible voters will be called back to the polls, possibly shifting majorities after a very narrow win for centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) Mayor Franziska Giffey. Any upset could also shift the balance of power in the Bundesrat, the upper house of the federal parliament, which represents the regional states. Giffey, who leads a fractious coalition between the SPD, the Greens and the far-left Die Linke, called the court’s order “a difficult and challenging situation, particularly in the current crisis” with soaring energy prices in the wake of the Ukraine war. Berlin’s chief voting officer set the new election date for February 12, 2023, which Giffey pledged would go off “smoothly”. Complaints about the fairness of the vote came as soon as election day, which coincided with Germany’s general election to decide the successor of then chancellor Angela Merkel — as well as the city’s giant marathon, which blocked off major streets to traffic.