Is the Bundestag really serious now?

If one day it should have 598 MPs again, it will no longer be a "bloating Bundestag".

But he's cut a head shorter.

Because the traffic light coalition's proposal for changing the electoral law, which is now being discussed, not only contains weaknesses in electoral law.

It boils down to the fact that elected candidates are not allowed to take over their mandate.

It is also the result of a debate that is not free from anti-parliamentary reflexes.

Simply to describe the heart of the republic as bloated does not speak of strong democratic self-confidence.

The repeated comparison with the Chinese People's Congress is wrong and a deliberate affront.

It is wrong because the Bundestag is no larger than the British House of Commons or the French National Assembly in terms of how many citizens each MP represents.

It is an affront because a puppet theater is compared to a parliament.

The Bundestag deserves more respect, also because what is always claimed did not happen.

He is also able to work with more than 700 deputies.

The committees are not overloaded.

It is more likely that too many laws are made too quickly than too few too slowly.

Instead of criticizing the sprawling ministerial bureaucracy, which bears a large part of the responsibility for this, all eyes are on the Bundestag.

This is the wrong direction.

Good democracy is expensive, bad democracy is cheap

Is the Bundestag too expensive?

It is naïve to believe that this accusation would no longer be raised once the Bundestag had "normal dimensions".

At the latest when the next increase in diets is due, the tabloids will again spread the word about how lazy, greedy and superfluous the MPs are.

Any democratic institution can be tackled with the cost argument, no matter how sensible it is.

Bad democracy is cheap, good democracy is expensive.

But what exactly is “normal”?

You don't get 598 seats because there is a secret formula or ideal size for representative democracy.

Rather, the number reflects the compromise of 1949 to satisfy both the advocates of majority voting and those of proportional representation.

Everyone got half.

More proportional representation

In the course of time, however, the first-past-the-post system disappeared behind the formula of "personalized proportional representation".

Today, proportional representation is the measure of all things, and majority voting is the reason for the imbalance created by German electoral law.

Even now in the traffic light proposal, proportional representation is the benchmark.

Why actually?

The starting point for the reform are the overhang mandates.

They result from the relative weakness of the mainstream parties, but secure stable majorities and protect against increasing fragmentation.

The more the right to proportional representation was pushed into the foreground, the larger the parliament became (mainly through compensatory mandates), and the greater the need for reform.

But the rest of the majority voting system that still exists should now atone.

That doesn't speak to the sense of stability.

How do you explain it to voters?

The electoral law debate leaves the fatal impression that the legitimacy of the Bundestag depends on its size.

Overhang mandates are to be abolished, in that constituency winners with relatively weak results do not get a chance.

Voters would therefore have to accept that their candidate does not get into the Bundestag even though he has won an election.

Ironically, hard-fought constituencies with surprise winners could be particularly affected.

This oddity can be constitutionally justified by placing proportional representation above everything and the constituencies are just accessories that have to be adapted to the party proportional representation.

However, German electoral law is already suffering from the fact that hardly any voters understand it.

How could he even understand that it is higher justice if his constituency vote simply falls through the cracks?

The size of Parliament would be corrected, but the effort involved would be disproportionate to the loss of confidence that would be caused.

Other solutions, such as expanding constituencies, would be more cumbersome but did less harm.

The coalition wants to push through their proposal.

You can't blame her.

After such a long and fruitless search, which repeatedly failed because one parliamentary group felt disadvantaged, the Bundestag made a fool of itself if it did not finally come to a conclusion.

He allowed himself to get into this embarrassment after the electoral law became more and more complicated, but the respect for parliament and parliamentarianism did not increase.

It will stay that way, no matter how many MPs there are.