More and more MPs want to stop the growth of the Berlin XXL Bundestag

The German parliament is a ‘monster’ Parliament, the second largest in the world with 736 members. Among liberal democracies, only India has more MPs, 790, but the Asian country’s population should represent almost a billion and a half, while Germany’s only 83 million. According to a survey by the Allensbach Institute, 78% of the country’s citizens believe that the Bundestag is too large and therefore too expensive: the 2023 federal budget allocated about 1.4 billion euros for its maintenance.

In national elections, Germans cast two votes: one for the deputy representing their constituency, and one for the party of their choice. This means that the parties in the Bundestag are represented both by deputies directly elected in the single-member body and by deputies drawn from the “lists” of the parties, somewhat like in Italy. However, the second vote determines the size of a party in the Bundestag, but at the same time each elected representative in the single-member body has one seat. As a result, if some parties win more single-member constituencies than the number of seats they will qualify for in proportional voting, they gain what is called “rush power.”

The result may be that extra seats are given to other parties to compensate for the additional powers of their opponents, to ensure proportional voting is respected. This complex mechanism also means that Parliament has increased in recent years from a minimum of 598 seats to the current 736 seats, thanks to the rise of small parties and the decline of consensus for major parties in all single-member constituencies.

As Deutsche Welle explains, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) introduced a bill to reverse this trend and reduce the size of the upper house of Parliament. The government’s plan is to completely eliminate additional seats to balance proportional voting; this may mean that representatives directly elected in a single membership may not automatically get seats in Parliament.

For over a decade, attempts have been made to shrink the Parliament, but all attempts have failed, in part because only the Parliament itself can decide to reduce its size. “All parties see the need for downsizing, but at the same time they are scrupulously careful not to be put at a disadvantage in the event of reform,” Klaus Stüwe, professor of comparative politics at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, told DW.

Until now it was mainly between the Christian-Social Union (CSU) that benefited from the existing order, and it is no coincidence that both the Christian-Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian brother CSU fell into conflict. declared the offer unacceptable. But now that these parties are in the opposition and the government only needs an absolute majority in the Bundestag, the reform is very likely to pass.

Source: Today IT