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Archive for the 'German Gov: Parties' Category

How German voting works

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Germany’s voting system is so confusing that Germans get confused by it. Basically, everyone gets two votes. According to some opinion polls, most Germans still believe that their “First” vote is more important than their “Second”. But it isn’t. Half of the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, is directly elected from one of Germany’s 299 constituencies, the other half is assigned by proportional representation. Here’s the difference:

  • The First Vote is for your local (direct) candidate. Whoever gets the most votes in the constituency gets a seat in the Bundestag.
  • The Second Vote is for a party list in your state. Results from the second vote will decide each party’s proportion of seats in the Bundestag

That’s the easy part. The hard part is how this second half is actually distributed. Because there are other rules:

  • A party can only get into the Bundestag if it gets at least five percent of the Second Votes, OR: if it gets three directly elected representatives, in which case it gets a few extra mandates.
  • You can also get extra seats because of the Überhangmandate rule. If a party gets more directly elected MPs than it is entitled to by the percentage of Second Votes it got, it is assigned a couple more seats to make up for it. At the moment, in fact, there are 22 Überhangmandate in the Bundestag – and the total number of seats is 620.

The chancellor is not elected by the people, but by the Bundestag’s members once the election is over.

Merkel counts her blessings

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

TO CALL her embattled would be to exaggerate. But Angela Merkel is undeniably under pressure. In the face of wobbly banks and a swooning economy, Germany’s chancellor has been found wanting. Other European leaders fume that she has done too little to boost the continent’s biggest economy. Business is baying for action. Much of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is eager to arm itself for next September’s federal election with tax cuts. The CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), agrees. But so far Ms Merkel has said no. The latest cover of Der Spiegel dubs her “timid Angela”.

Read on from the Economist

Coalition Troubles

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

A Coalition of the Unwilling

Cracks Appear in Germany’s Grand Coalition

Grand Coalition in a Bind

The Coalition is Incapable of Reforms

The Right

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

A Wake Up Call from the Far Right

CDU Puts a New Twist on Conservative Politics

Struggling SPD

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

The Worst Possible Thing for the SPD

Does the SPD Still Matter?

SPD Seeking Leadership

Obituary for the SPD