The parties have been arguing about electoral law reform for two electoral periods. Above all, the Union prevented a compromise. Now, as a precaution, she’s bringing out the heavy artillery.
An effective reform of the electoral law that failed in the last two legislative periods is once again becoming a bone of contention between the parties.
While the SPD pushes the pace, the Union faction in the Bundestag is threatening to sue the Federal Constitutional Court if the traffic light parties implement the concept developed in their ranks in the Bundestag.
The proposal is “not compatible with the Basic Law,” said parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz (CDU) in Berlin. The Union is open to compromises and a common solution, he emphasized at the same time.
“This traffic light proposal borders on election fraud with an announcement,” said CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt. It means that directly elected members of parliament are denied entry into the Bundestag. This also undermines the democratic foundations of an election. “That’s why it’s clear: If it comes to the point that the traffic light will implement this proposal, then we will immediately file a constitutional complaint against it.”
Commission discusses options
The electoral law reform is intended to reduce the size of the Bundestag, which has grown to 736 members. A specially appointed commission is currently discussing the possibilities for this. This is to present an interim report by autumn. A decision is currently not pending.
According to the SPD, the coalition wants to get the reform, which should lead to a significant reduction in the size of the Bundestag, through Parliament before the end of this year. “Our goal is to start the legislative process in September and to complete it by the end of the year,” said the chairman of the SPD in the commission, Sebastian Hartmann, the editorial network Germany (RND). “We will follow the normal procedure and not resort to shortening the deadline.”
Electoral reform part of the coalition agreement
In the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed: “We will revise the electoral law within the first year in order to prevent the Bundestag from growing in the long term.” However, the Commission’s roadmap stipulates that it will present its final report by June 30, 2023 at the latest. Damít would still have more time to find a compromise.
The problem with this is that the proposal by three MPs from the traffic light parties and the CDU/CSU model are so contradictory that there can be no compromise between them. They only agree to limit the number of mandates to 598 by eliminating overhang and compensation mandates, which regularly lead to the Bundestag being bloated.
The SPD MP Hartmann was in the “Rheinische Post” with a view to the threatened constitutional lawsuit: “Should there be a constitutional lawsuit, we can fall back on extensive consultations with proven constitutional and electoral law experts and argue well in the proceedings.”