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The Bundestag and the right to vote : Reliable, small, reliable female?

The two older gentlemen know what it is about: the quadrature of the circle. The phrase uses the President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, like when he's talking about electoral reform. As Thomas Oppermann, the Vice-Chairman of the SPD. Schäuble has taken on the task to search along with a small members round all fractions to the German Bundestag returns to a solid, manageable size. And more recently, 111 mandates over the statutory minimum number, so 709 instead of 598. Or even more, as current polls indicate.

The decades-long proven System of personalized proportional representation, shortened said, because of the differentiation of the party system falter. This Form of the combination of majority and proportional representation does not work properly anymore.

Schäuble wants solution to Easter

But the solution, for a year prepared in a secret round behind a locked door, a seam, apparently. Schäuble has announced in the "southwest press": "We want to have up to the Easter break in a common Position. We are already close to it. And if there is no common proposals, will remain the President of the Bundestag have no other choice than to make a proposal.“ The Vice President was already faster. Oppermann has submitted a Plan, which is matched in the SPD. Minister of justice Katarina Barley has turned him to the side.

The social Democrats even want to achieve two goals: one is the reduction of the Parliament and the other is the gender parity. Reliable, small and female, the Parliament should be then, promises Oppermann. The number of constituencies would be reduced from the now 299 to 120, there are in each constituency, two seats instead of one. Separately a man and a woman. Each voter has three votes: one for male directly to candidates, one for the direct candidate and the second vote, for the party of proportional representation in the Bundestag could be decisive.

Oppermann assumes that the Bundestag size will remain reliably close to the minimum number of 598 and the gender parity in the Parliament, very close. A hundred years after the introduction of women's suffrage, it is still a good piece. The background for the number of 120 in Two-choice circles, that it is favored in the Schäuble-round, apparently, a model with a 240-electoral circles, because it is believed, by a ratio of 40 percent of direct mandates, and 60 percent of list mandates, the Bundestag, to get the magnification in the handle.

expert Behnke: Suboptimal

The "inventor" of the Two constituencies, the political scientist Joachim Behnke from the Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, holding the solution in connection with two separate votes for both constituency candidates, however, for "sub-optimal", as he said to the daily mirror. Behnke has proposed a halving of the constituency number, because he wants to achieve, that directly mandates not only to one but to two parties. So less or, in the ideal case should arise, no Overhangs of more that need to be neutralized through compensatory mandates. Overhangs occur when a party receives directly mandates more seats than it is entitled to the second vote share.

Behnkes approach only works if the voters still have only a constituency vote. The idea is to leave the parties with a man and a woman to compete, not rejects Behnke, because the candidacies of women can be promoted. "But if there are two first votes, will be awarded to the most voters both on the candidate and the candidate of their party. Thus, the effect of the Two solution reduction in the size of the Bundestag to contribute is reduced significantly.

the reduction in the share of direct mandates all mandates of the current 50 percent to 40 percent contributes. If the largest party but is under 40 percent of the second votes, there is more the danger, still there are overhang mandates in greater numbers and thus a larger Bundestag comes out as desired.“

How many constituencies?

The mathematician Christian Hesse has pointed out in the "mirror" also the fact that a model with a 240-electoral districts (or 120 Two-choice circles). He reckons that you need at least 200 constituencies, in order to be on the safe side. In the case of a model with only 120 constituencies, it also comes with the country classification system of the Federal Republic of Germany in the conflict.

The Aachen mathematician, Sebastian Goderbauer, an expert on constituency boundaries, indicates that the Saarland would have been only one constituency, the number would be but a population considerably larger than the average - and that is not allowed. The fewer the constituencies there are, the more problems present themselves on the borders of the country.

Oppermanns the model is wearing a target conflict in itself: there is As much parity doesn't match as little as possible deputies. In addition, the proposal goes to the core of the problem of the existing electoral law, also called the "Bavarian Problem": a weak CSU brings, nevertheless, all or almost all of the direct mandates. Any Overhang of the regional party CSU releases nationwide to a much larger compensation is needed than, for instance, Overhangs the CDU. At a rough estimate there are Surplus of at least ten additional seats per CSU. The Bundestag can be still several dozen mandates is greater than the target of 598 seats.

gender segregation as a solution?

Not entirely unproblematic, the attempt of the SPD, the gender segregation at the Voting parity in Parliament is desirable. It could come in circles, depending on the distribution of votes and Splitting, especially in the election, in which all the parties are relatively close to each other, not the two agree to move in best in the Bundestag, but, for example, a woman as the constituency best, and a man who has less votes than the second-best wife. Or Vice-versa.

the principle of majority election, the Yes will continue to be applied, would be broken. And the voters, to prescribe, always, the two voices – a man as a woman, is likely to affect the freedom of choice. In addition to the previous election law, the Oppermann Yes linked, to the parties not determined, even in the constituencies. It is enough, the country lists for the crucial second vote.

the parties discussed projects, including the parity on these country lists in the election law, also has a guile. In the case of odd mandate figures in the countries of the distortion can lie in the Addition of 16 country list of more or less clearly in addition to the 50:50 target result. And how to start? With a woman, a man? You must then decide the parties, in which country are you female and in which they put male top candidate on the list?

the FDP has come to constitutional concerns

parity on the lists, by Statute, moreover, not in all parties. With a view to the Considerations in the Federal and a red-red-green law projects in Brandenburg, Stefan Ruppert, Parliamentary Secretary of the FDP in the Bundestag, the daily mirror said that he considered it to be "constitutionally highly problematic initiatives," and "transparent campaign maneuver". It would make more sense to employ, "seriously, how more women can be motivated to engage politically". Necessary social efforts, so that more women stood successfully for elections to be total. "In no case, however, the choice may prescribe the right of the electorate, as the result of an election should look like."

More about

100 years of women's right to vote, The same right to the ballot

Andrea Dernbach

conclusion: The Oppermann-reform proposal, including the parity rule to the lists would promote the candidacies of women in the parties, who aspire to already-parity. Real parity in the case of the mandates, ensures both, and also in the electoral system's built-in magnification mechanism is not thrown out completely.

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