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Current Affairs

Working of German election

Date: 22 September 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A new Parliament will be elected by German citizens that will determine who will succeed Angela Merkel as the Chancellor.

 

Background

The party that will be voted to power will be known hours after the election but knowing the leader will take time.

 

Details

  • About 60 million citizens of Germany can vote in the elections. About 2.8 million citizens will be voting for the first time.

  • There is a provision for postal votes, which can be cast several days before the election. They must however reach by the time votes are counted.

  • The voting will be held for Bundestag, which is the lower house of the Parliament. The Bundestag has a four-year term and will be responsible for electing the Chancellor.

 

The voting method

  • Every voter is entitled to two votes. One vote will be used for directly electing a candidate and another for a party list.

  • The country’s 299 seats elect candidates based on direct vote. The remaining 299 candidates are elected based on the party list. The seats for each party will be determined by the percentage of vote it receives.

  • Extra seats go to the party that wins more seats via the direct vote than it would get under the party vote. This will not affect the proportional representation.

  • A party must win 5% of the party list vote or have at least three directly elected lawmakers to get a share in seats.

 

Major parties

  • The center-right Union bloc consisting of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its sister party, the Christian Social Union.

  • The second-largest party is the centre-left Social Democrats. The far-right Alternative for Germany is the latest party.

  • The pro-business Free Democrats, the hard-left Left Party and the environmentalist Greens make up the remaining major parties.

 

Forming government

  • No single party is expected to come near a parliamentary majority this time. There has to be a coalition. The party with maximum seats gets advantage to elect Chancellor.

  • The process can take many months to get a consensus on the issue. Once a coalition is reached, Germany’s president nominates to the Bundestag a candidate for chancellor.

  • The candidate needs to get votes by party congresses or even a ballot of one or more parties’ entire membership.

  • If this fails, the constitution allows the president to appoint the candidate who wins the most votes in a third vote as chancellor or to dissolve the Bundestag and hold a new national election.