Dispute over electoral law reform
Direct mandates continue to inflate the Bundestag. However, the CSU and CDU do not want to reduce the number of constituencies.
BERLIN taz | The CSU in the Bundestag insists on one planned electoral law reform on the retention of the current 299 constituencies and is against a limitation of direct mandates. This was made clear on Tuesday by CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt in Berlin.
Since 2017, the Bundestag has been the largest ever with 709 MPs, and its standard size is 598 MPs. After the election in 2021, it could grow to over 800 MPs. President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble has therefore asked the parties to agree on a compromise by the end of January. This goal seems to be failing.
Alexander Dobrindt said that winning an electoral district and then not being given the mandate for it is unthinkable. “If you think that is right, you will rather encourage the critics of democracy.” In any case, voters would not understand that the candidate who helped them win could not move into the Bundestag. The CSU wanted a model that limited the number of MPs, but retained the number of 299 constituencies. The background is that his party in Bavaria recently won all 46 constituencies directly.
The parliamentary director of the Union faction, Michael Grosse-Brömer, also said on Tuesday that intergroup talks were still ongoing to limit the number of mandates. "Pretending we are the force that blocks electoral reform is wrong."
CDU wants "continuity"
Nevertheless, he is also skeptical about reducing the number of constituencies. The constituencies are an important point when it comes to citizen proximity, which is seen by the CDU as well as the CSU. It was "easy to ask for it – but difficult to find a compromise". A change in the constituencies also means intensive administrative changes. For this reason too, continuity in the constituencies "makes a lot of sense," said Grosse-Brömer.
The chairman of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Thomas Oppermann, had warned at the weekend that it would not be possible to pass a reform by Easter, "then we will damage confidence in parliamentary democracy". His party advocates a variant in which the number of deputies is to be legally capped by an “upper limit”. The grand coalition must quickly find a regulation, "otherwise it will embarrass itself to the bone".