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A hundred seats abolished in the German Parliament



(Berlin) The Bundestag decided on Friday to drastically reduce its number of deputies, a reform castigated by the Bavarian Christian Socialists (CSU) and the far left Die Linke, who fear for their representation in the lower house of the German Parliament.

The number of seats in the Bundestag should increase from 736 seats currently to 630 for the next legislature.

This reform, wanted by the social-democratic, ecologist and liberal coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, was adopted with 399 votes for, 261 against and 23 abstentions.

The Bundestag has grown steadily in recent years — a particularly costly situation for the taxpayer — due to a complex voting system.

Concretely, on the day of the legislative elections, the German citizen has two votes: with the first, he votes for a candidate in his constituency.

With the second vote, he votes for a party at Land level (one of the 16 regional states of the country).

To enter the Bundestag, a party must obtain at least 5% of the second votes at national level.

According to a rule that has been in place so far, if a party had obtained less than 5% of the votes in the second vote, it could still enter the Bundestag provided it had at least three direct mandates (at the first vote). This rule should now be removed.

She had saved the far-left parliamentary group Die Linke, very well established in the former GDR, which had obtained only 4.9% of the vote in 2021. She also protected the CSU (Bavarian brother party of Christians- CDU Democrats) which has been flirting with the 5% threshold for several elections.

The reform also plans to give more importance to the second vote, which could deprive the winners of a constituency – thanks to the first vote – of a seat in the Bundestag.

During Friday’s debates, the leader of the CSU group in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, castigated the project, saying it “did not respect” voters and democracy.

Jan Korte, one of the parliamentary leaders of Die Linke, described the reform as a “great attack” on electoral law. He compared it “to Donald Trump’s Republican sleight of hand”.

Die Linke and the conservative parliamentary group (CDU and CSU) want to have the reform examined by the Constitutional Court.

According to calculations by the German Taxpayers’ Federation, this reform would save at least 340 million euros per legislature.

The president of this federation, Reiner Holznagel, regretted the lack of ambition of the reform and demanded an even greater reduction in the number of deputies.

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