Reform of the electoral law: violent exchange of blows

Reform of the electoral law: violent exchange of blows

On Friday, the Bundestag will vote on the electoral law reform. The Union and the left strictly reject this. They would be the losers of the reform.

Filled Bundestag

Voting on the reform of the federal electoral law Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa

BERLIN dpa | In the final heated debate on planned downsizing of the Bundestag Politicians from the traffic light parties have accused the Union of a lack of willingness to change. The domestic policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Sebastian Hartmann, said on Friday before the planned vote on the reform in the Bundestag that the aim of the project was “a simple, understandable right to vote”.

The project is strictly rejected by the Union and the Left Party. CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt said the plan aimed to force the left out of parliament and to question “the CSU’s right to exist”. “You are making a reform for yourself here” in order to cement the “traffic light’s claim to power”, he accused Hartmann.

With the reform, the Bundestag, which has grown to 736 MPs, is to be permanently reduced to 630 seats from the next election. The aim is to reduce the size of Parliament by completely dispensing with overhang and compensatory mandates. So far, these have caused the Bundestag to be bloated.

Overhang mandates arise when a party wins more seats in the Bundestag via direct mandates than it is entitled to based on the result of the second vote. You can keep those seats. The other parties receive compensatory mandates in return. According to the new rules, it could happen in the future that an applicant wins his constituency directly, but still does not get into the Bundestag. That angers especially the CSU.

In addition, according to the traffic light draft, a strict five percent clause should apply. The so-called basic mandate clause does not apply. So far, it has ensured that parties with the strength of their second vote result in the Bundestag also entered the Bundestag if they were below 5 percent but won at least three direct mandates. The Left Party has benefited from this several times, most recently in the 2021 election. If the clause is deleted, depending on the election result, this could also have consequences for the Bavarian regional party CSU in the future.

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