A maximum of 598 MPs: Traffic lights plan to downsize the Bundestag

The parties have been arguing about the bloated Bundestag for years.

A maximum of 598 MPs: Traffic lights plan to downsize the Bundestag

The parties have been arguing about the bloated Bundestag for years. The traffic light coalition is now planning an electoral law reform that will eliminate all overhang and compensation mandates. For candidates who are elected with the first vote, entry into the Bundestag would then no longer be guaranteed.

The traffic light coalition proposes an electoral law reform that would cap the size of the Bundestag to less than 600 MPs. According to a report in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", citing a proposal from the SPD, Greens and FDP, the plan is to eliminate all overhang mandates. This would mean that not every candidate who wins in his constituency after first votes can safely enter the Bundestag.

According to the coalition, the overhang mandates would also eliminate the compensation mandates. Although the so-called personalized proportional representation system with a first and second vote should remain, only the second vote should decide on the size of the Bundestag. This is intended to limit the Bundestag to the statutory size of 598 MPs. Due to overhang and compensation mandates, he grew to 736 seats in last September's election.

Overhang mandates arise when a party wins more direct mandates in a country than it is entitled to based on the list result. A ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court in 2012 compensated for the overhang mandates for the other parties in proportion to their share of second votes, which led to the enormous enlargement of parliament.

The traffic light proposal provides that a party in a federal state is only allocated as many constituency mandates as it is entitled to based on the result of the second vote. If there are more, she does not get those in which she has the weakest election results compared to her other constituencies. These constituencies are then allocated to another party, including so-called substitute votes.

According to the traffic light parties, every voter should get a substitute vote in addition to the first vote. With this, the candidate can be elected, which a voter would like to see second most as a constituency representative. The substitute votes are added to the first preferences of the other voters.

The parties have been arguing for years about fundamental electoral law reform to avoid further bloating in parliament. The biggest beneficiaries of the overhang mandates are traditionally Union MPs, who are no longer part of the government for the first time in 16 years. The traffic light can push through its proposal in the Bundestag with a simple majority.


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