Insufficient and ineffective – the corrections to the electoral law agreed by the CDU/CSU and SPD for the 2021 federal election have met with sharp criticism from the opposition.
FDP, grune and left called it on wednesday completely unsuitable to solve the problem of the constantly growing bundestag. Scientists also pointed out that the two planned cuts would have only a marginal effect on the coarseness of the bundestag. On tuesday, the coalition committee agreed on a two-stage approach with a kind of transitional solution for the 2021 election and a more comprehensive reform in 2025.
For the federal election in a little over a year, the number of 299 constituencies is to remain the same. Overhang mandates of a party are to be partially offset against its list mandates. And when the regular limit of 598 seats is exceeded, up to three overhang mandates should no longer be compensated for by compensatory mandates. According to the grand coalition, a reform commission consisting of academics, members of parliament and other members is to be set up before the end of the current election period, which will then have to decide on the reform of the parliament by 30 june at the latest. June 2023 is to present a result.
CDU chairwoman annegret kramp-karrenbauer and vice chancellor olaf scholz (SPD) expressed relief over the agreement. "Now we can concentrate on politics and don't have to talk about politicking," scholz said on ZDF's "morgenmagazin.". Kramp-karrenbauer called the result "quite noteworthy". CSU assumes that the compromise will lead to a vaporization effect of about 20 mandates in the 2021 federal election and of about 60 to 80 mandates in 2025. This applies on the basis of the 2017 election results as well as in the context of current survey results, said CSU state group leader alexander dobrindt. In the end, however, the parliament's size would depend on the actual election results.
The opposition's criticism was scathing. FDP leader christian lindner called the coalition's approach "unacceptable in terms of both content and style". In fact, the decision is "a nullum" – it is not clear whether it will have a steaming effect on the coarseness of the bundestag. "The decisions of the grand coalition do not eliminate the danger of an XXL parliament," said the first parliamentary manager of the FDP faction, marco buschmann. Main loser is the view of politics. "An important reform is once again being delayed and postponed."
The green party's criticism was similar: first parliamentary secretary britta habelmann spoke of a "poor report card" for the grand coalition. "It took the union and the SPD seven years to come up with this proposal. It doesn't solve the problem and underscores the inability of the union and the SPD to act on electoral law," habelmann said. "This transitional solution is unambitious and powerless and will not prevent the federal parliament from growing."
The first parliamentary leader of the left-wing parliamentary group, jan korte, said: "with the electoral law reform, things are going the way they are going most of the time it runs in the grand coalition: in the end ineffective, with advantages for the CDU/CSU or their clientele."
Clear criticism also came from the afd. Your electoral law expert albrecht glaser called the coalition's decision "absurd in several respects" and declared: "it all looks like a lazy political compromise that causes more problems than it solves."
Critics received support from voting rights experts from the scientific community. "The steaming effect of the two braking mechanisms, the coalition wants to bring in is really very low," stuttgart mathematics professor christian hesse told the deutsche press agency. Based on the 2017 election results, they meant that the bundestag today had about 690 seats instead of 709.
"These are marginal issues that may steam up a bit," election researcher robert vehrkamp of the bertelsmann foundation also said of the two adjusting screws the coalition parties want to turn. "But the risk of an incalculable grafting of the bundestag remains."