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Bundestag is to shrink from 736 to 630 MPs

After the coming election, the Bundestag is to shrink from the current 736 to a permanent 630 MPs – and thus not quite as much as originally planned.

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Bundestag is to shrink from 736 to 630 MPs

After the coming election, the Bundestag is to shrink from the current 736 to a permanent 630 MPs – and thus not quite as much as originally planned. The factions of the SPD, Greens and FDP have agreed on this, as the German Press Agency learned from coalition circles on Sunday. The news portal “Pioneer” was the first to report about it.

The traffic light coalition submitted its first draft for an electoral law reform to the Bundestag at the end of January. There were still 598 seats in the Bundestag - previously the standard size of Parliament. The plans of the traffic light envisage that overhang and compensation mandates will be eliminated.

According to the amended plans, the number of constituencies will remain at 299. However, 331 mandates are to be awarded via the state lists – instead of the 299 originally planned. The number has now been increased in order to reduce the number of “orphan constituencies” from which no directly elected MP is sent to parliament. If the number of constituency winners for a party exceeds the number of seats it is entitled to after second votes, the winners with the lowest share of votes get nothing. That would hit the CSU in particular.

The Union and the Left Party reject the traffic light plans. CDU/CSU parliamentary group manager Thorsten Frei called them "constitutionally and constitutionally problematic". His counterpart Jan Korte from the left faction even accuses the SPD, Greens and FDP of “shabby” action against political opponents. "This proposal is aimed solely at the left-wing opposition, which is being attempted to be politically flattened by means of the right to vote."

In addition, the basic mandate clause is to be deleted, without which the left would not be in the Bundestag today. This clause ensures that parties that receive less than five percent of the second votes can also enter parliament. You have to win three direct mandates via the first votes.

The left managed to do that in 2021 and entered parliament with a total of 39 MPs, although they had only achieved 4.9 percent of the second votes. Group manager Korte now sees the abolition of the clause as a targeted attack on his group. "With the deletion of the democratically sensible basic mandate clause, the traffic light parties of the AfD are fulfilling a great wish - the ousting of the left from the Bundestag," he said.

It is quite possible that the electoral law reform will end up before the Federal Constitutional Court. Linke and Union have not yet commented on a possible lawsuit in Karlsruhe. Green parliamentary group leader Katharina Dröge said on Deutschlandfunk on Monday that she was confident that the planned reform of the electoral law would also stand up to possible lawsuits. "We have checked this very carefully with constitutional lawyers and are sure that we will present a constitutional proposal," said Dröge.

After the 2021 election, the Bundestag was larger than ever with 736 MPs. This is due to the many overhang and compensation mandates. Overhang mandates arise when a party wins more mandates from the first votes than it is entitled to based on the result of the second vote. The party may keep these additional mandates. The other parties receive compensatory mandates in return.

"Kick-off" 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, Google Podcasts, among others, or directly via RSS feed.

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