Union with a new idea: Smaller Bundestag – breakthrough in electoral law reform

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Are there more than 800 MPs in the upcoming Bundestag? For most parties, this is not an enticing idea. But there is no reform. Now is the time to find a solution before the next election. And suddenly there is movement in the debate.

After the Union’s agreement on a model for electoral reform, the reaction of the SPD is eagerly awaited. The CDU / CSU model envisages a moderate reduction in the number of constituencies from 299 to 280 for the Bundestag election in 2025 and the non-compensation of seven overhang mandates. In the more than three-hour discussion of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group, a majority had also emerged the evening before, according to participants, to propose to the coalition partner SPD to use this model for the 2021 election.

The number of parliamentarians had increased steadily after the last elections because parties like the CDU, CSU and SPD had won more direct mandates than they would be entitled to after the second vote result. In order to map the strength of the parties according to the second vote result, compensation and overhang mandates were awarded using a complicated procedure. After the next election in autumn 2021, the Bundestag could grow to more than 800 members.

AKK: Citizens are also asked a lot

According to the participants in the meeting, there was an unusually high number of more than 50 requests to speak. Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble and CDU chairwoman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer also advocated a reduction in the number of constituencies for the 2021 election. With a view to a possible corona-related recession, Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasized that the citizens had to be asked a lot, also in terms of reforms. So when it comes to politicians themselves, they have to act courageously and graspingly. Chancellor Angela Merkel said nothing in the discussion. However, it had previously announced several times that it would no longer run in the 2021 election.

CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt said in the discussion, according to other participants, that extreme sensitivity is required in the case of a reform of the electoral law. Dealing with the right to vote has a major impact on how citizens feel, long-term effects on the composition of the Bundestag and a decisive influence on the perception of democracy in Germany. He was quoted as saying: “Refusing electoral winners to enter the Bundestag is not an option.”

Rapid negotiations with the SPD

Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus and Dobrindt were therefore given a mandate by the MPs to first negotiate with the SPD. You now want to quickly approach SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich. Dobrindt had previously solved a major sticking point by signaling the CSU’s willingness to agree to a reduction in the number of constituencies after years of rejection.

It had been said from parliamentary groups that a basic agreement with the coalition partner was to be reached this week. Mützenich had said: “We are available every hour, every day to deal with further reform proposals this week, but also in the future.” The Bundestag would have to decide on this by September. The Union has made “interesting proposals”. The Union was said to expect only a debate for Friday, but no vote.

FDP, Greens and Leftists, who have submitted a joint bill, are calling for a decision in the Bundestag this week. The first parliamentary managing director of the FDP parliamentary group, Marco Buschmann, had requested that the deliberations in the interior committee be completed this Wednesday, then put the draft into the final deliberations on Friday in the Bundestag and put it to the vote.

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