Sunday, 27 September 2009

Election Time

Germany has elected a new Parliament (Bundestag) today. The German election system is rather complicated: everyone gets two votes. With the first you vote for a candidate with a direct mandate with the second for a party with a list of candidates. Half of the 600 seats in the Bundestag are filled with candidates who won the direct mandates, the other half from the party lists proportional to the number of votes the parties managed to win. Mausi thinks this is rather a good system as it enables also smaller parties to be part of the Bundestag, if they manage to jump the 5 percent hurdle.

For the last four years we had a coalition between the two biggest parties: Christian Democrats and Social Democrats. Under the circumstances they haven't done too badly, but both have lost in this elections. The Christian Democrats, the party of chancellor Angela Merkel, less than 2 percent but the Social Democrats more than 10. So Angela Merkel will remain being chancellor but will have a new coalition partner - the Liberals. If that turns out to be a good idea remains to be seen.

Sadly, the number of non-voters is constantly growing. The poll was down to 71 percent (77 percent four years ago). Is that another sign that politicians have lost contact with the people or are people just too lazy to be bothered?


  1. Perhaps a reflection of the feeling amongst voters across the world that the political classes have become so entrenched that our votes no longer matter. Whatever we feel or think is never considered whether we vote or not.

  2. Will be interesting to see if the parties take the hint this time.Analysts said today that the Social Democrats lost more than two million votes to the non-voters! (and about one million to the other parties.) It must surely be a shock to them because they have always thought of themselves as the advocates of the labourers, underprivileged and poor.

  3. Interesting system. I wonder how that would work here. Then again, I've almost stopped believing in elections in America (especially presidential) as they as so convoluted and seem to rarely reflect the true will of the people.