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A right to vote that autocrats dream of

The question that is sometimes asked as to why a new electoral law in Germany is absolutely necessary is easy to answer.

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A right to vote that autocrats dream of

The question that is sometimes asked as to why a new electoral law in Germany is absolutely necessary is easy to answer.

Firstly, because the Federal Constitutional Court has required it since 2012.

Secondly, because Germany, with the largest parliament since the Chinese People's Congress, with its rapidly growing state apparatus and its gigantophile chancellery, supposedly the largest government center on the planet, is gradually inviting the rest of the world to doubt its sanity. Megalomania? messie syndrome?

The new electoral law is apparently seen by the governing coalition as an opportunity to modernize Germany. There are still four opposition parties in the Bundestag. In many countries, something as old-fashioned as opposition no longer exists. The new electoral law can partially remedy this situation.

The AfD is the simplest case, a ghost party that practically doesn't exist in real life. She is not granted the customary rights of everyone else, such as the position of Vice President in the Bundestag. If a government comes about with their votes, as in Thuringia, then this is invalid.

As of today, the opposition party Die Linke would probably be thrown out of parliament as a result of the new electoral law. The opposition party CSU is threatened with the same thing. It could happen that the CSU remains by far the strongest party in Bavaria, but only gets 4.9 percent in the federal government, then 40 direct mandates may be invalid under the new law. Theoretical example: In the Kleinampfing North constituency, Huber Alois is elected with 52 percent, but he does not get into the Bundestag, but Grabner Hannah-Sophia from the Greens with 6.5 percent via the state list.

According to the new electoral law, only one opposition party would possibly remain, the CDU (the AfD doesn't count), but which has been severely weakened by the loss of the CSU sister party. But if the CSU expands nationwide in order to survive, it will take votes away from the CDU, possibly decisive ones. If the CDU can no longer easily become the strongest party, a lot has already been achieved, right?

The whole thing looks to me like a dream come true of an authoritarian regime trying to use tricks to conjure up a parliament without too much opposition. The word "coup" would certainly be an exaggeration. But only a little. If you change the rules of the game in Hungary so that the opposition doesn't have it so easy, that's of course a scandal.

If, in the future, there are secure mandates mainly via state lists, the power of the party leadership to keep all uncertain cantonists, grumblers and self-thinkers out of the Bundestag will increase. Careers are only possible through humility and in the mainstream of the party apparatus.

Is there still a slice of democracy that could be cut off inconspicuously? Sure, of course. The election lists should have quotas, each party would have to send the same number of men and women to parliament. This idea of ​​equality is by no means shared by everyone, but everyone should stick to it. The Bundestag would no longer be determined completely freely by the people, that was the idea, but pre-sorted according to the rules of an ideology that parts of the population do not like. Incidentally, with the new quota, everyone who defines themselves as neither a man nor a woman falls under the table.

All power supposedly emanates from the people, one remembers. But certain parties could no longer exist, such as a women's party or a male-dominated conservative Islamic party. Both may sound stupid, but in a free country it must be possible.

In two federal states, Brandenburg and Thuringia, similar laws were rejected by the constitutional courts. The fact that this breach of the constitution is now being attempted at the federal level is a strong move. But maybe, in Bärbel Bas, for example, an idea will germinate on how to change the composition of the dishes. There are role models there too, I'm thinking of Poland and Turkey.

The voting age is to be lowered from 18 to 16. In Germany you can still fall under juvenile criminal law at the age of 20 and get mild sentences because at 20 you supposedly don't always have the necessary maturity to distinguish right from wrong. You supposedly always have the necessary maturity for politics at the age of 16.

It would have to be discussed on a case-by-case basis whether the government that comes about in this way is a mild or a harsh punishment.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, among others, or directly via RSS feed.

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