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  Sun, Sep 15, 2013
Germany's Reformed Electoral System
As noted in Elections to the German Bundestag, this year's parliamentary election in Germany will be held under a reformed electoral system that introduces adjustment seats, in order to guarantee a fully proportional allocation of Bundestag seats among qualifying parties.

While the recently enacted reform does not change the basic functioning of Germany's Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system (described here), it introduces a new, two-tier mechanism for the nationwide distribution of Bundestag mandates. In the first stage, a non-binding allocation of seats among qualifying parties is carried out in each one of Germany's sixteen Länder by the Sainte-Laguë/Schepers method of PR. However, if a party secures more constituency seats in the first vote of a particular Land than the number of seats it would be entitled to according to the result of the second vote, it keeps the extra seats at this stage.

(Under Sainte-Laguë/Schepers, the distribution of seats is obtained by dividing party votes by a divisor or quota, such that the sum of party seats - the resulting quotients, with fractions greater than 0.5 rounded up to the next whole number - will be equal to the total number of seats to be filled.)

Had the new mechanism been in place for the 2009 Bundestag election, and had voters cast their ballots in the same manner, the initial allocation of seats would have stood as follows:

   Land       Seats   
        
  
         SPD       CDU       CSU       GRÜNE       FDP       DIE
LINKE
      Total   
   Schleswig-Holstein       6       9               3       4       2       24   
   Mecklenburg-Vorpommern       3       6               1       1       4       15   
   Hamburg       3       4               2       2       1       12   
   Niedersachsen       19       21               7       8       5       60   
   Bremen       2       1               1               1       5   
   Brandenburg       6       5               1       2       6       20   
   Sachsen-Anhalt       3       6               1       2       6       18   
   Berlin       5       6               5       3       5       24   
   Nordrhein-Westfalen       38       45               14       20       11       128   
   Sachsen       5       16               2       5       8       36   
   Hessen       12       15               5       7       4       43   
   Thüringen       3       7               1       2       6       19   
   Rheinland-Pfalz       8       13               3       5       3       32   
   Bayern       17               45       11       14       6       93   
   Baden-Württemberg       16       37               11       15       6       85   
   Saarland       2       4               1       1       2       10   
   Total       148       195       45       69       91       76       624   



The total number of seats won by each one of the six qualifying parties is the minimum number of mandates the party would be entitled to receive at the federal level. The number of second votes won by each qualifying party would then be divided by its corresponding seat total from the preceding allocation, minus 0.5:

 
SPD:    9,990,488 

 147.5 
= 67,732
 
CDU:    11,828,277 

 194.5 
= 60,813
 
CSU:    2,830,238 

 44.5 
= 63,600
 
GRÜNE:    4,643,272 

 68.5 
= 67,784
 
FDP:    6,316,080 

 90.5 
= 69,790
 
DIE LINKE:    5,155,933 

 75.5 
= 68,290



The votes-to-seats minus 0.5 quotients show a significant deviation from full proportionality - with quotients ranging from a low of 60,813 for CDU to a high of 69,790 for FDP - largely due to the allocation of twenty-six overhang mandates (22 CDU, 3 CSU and one SPD). The distribution of seats on a Land-by-Land basis would have also introduced a distorting effect, but it would have been comparatively minuscule: had overhang seats been disregarded at this stage, the quotients would have fluctuated between 67,784 and 69,790.

At any rate, in the second stage the number of second votes polled by each one of the qualifying parties would have been divided by the smallest of the aforementioned quotients, with remainders larger than 0.5 rounded up to the next whole number, to obtain the definitive nationwide distribution of Bundestag seats:

 
SPD:    9,990,488 

 60,813 
= 164.2821107 = 164 seats
 
CDU:    11,828,277 

 60,813 
= 194.5024419 = 195 seats
 
CSU:    2,830,238 

 60,813 
= 46.5400161 = 47 seats
 
GRÜNE:    4,643,272 

 60,813 
= 76.3532797 = 76 seats
 
FDP:    6,316,080 

 60,813 
= 103.8606877 = 104 seats
 
DIE LINKE:    5,155,933 

 60,813 
= 84.7834016 = 85 seats



This would conclude the allocation of seats at the federal level, and the mandates obtained by each party would then be distributed among its Land lists; the results of the initial Land-level allocation of seats would be discarded at this point.

Under the previous electoral system, party mandates were proportionally allocated among its Land lists, but if a Land list received fewer seats than its corresponding number of direct mandates, it kept the overhang seats, and the size of the Bundestag was increased accordingly. However, under the new electoral system, the allocation of Bundestag seats at the federal level is definitive and cannot be altered by the distribution of party mandates at the Land level. As such, in the event one or more party Land lists receive fewer seats than the corresponding number of constituency seats won by the party, the allocation divisor would be increased until each one of the party's Land lists received a number of seats equal to the larger of its rounded quotient, or its corresponding number of direct mandates.

Nonetheless, in most cases all the Land lists of a given party secure a proportional allocation larger than or equal to their corresponding number of constituency seats, and in such instances the system remains essentially unchanged from past Bundestag elections, the main difference being the actual PR method used for the distribution of seats (d'Hondt from 1957 to 1983, Hare/Niemeyer from 1987 to 2005, Sainte-Laguë/Schepers since 2009). For example, the Land-level allocation of SPD mandates according to the Sainte-Laguë/Schepers method would have produced the following results (with a divisor of 60,541):

   Land    Votes    Quotient    Seats   
           
  
            Total    Direct    List   
   Schleswig-Holstein    430,739    7.114831    7    2    5   
   Mecklenburg-Vorpommern    143,607    2.372062    2    0    2   
   Hamburg    242,942    4.012851    4    3    1   
   Niedersachsen    1,297,940    21.439025    21    14    7   
   Bremen    102,419    1.691730    2    2    0   
   Brandenburg    348,216    5.751738    6    5    1   
   Sachsen-Anhalt    202,850    3.350622    3    0    3   
   Berlin    348,082    5.749525    6    2    4   
   Nordrhein-Westfalen    2,678,956    44.250277    44    27    17   
   Sachsen    328,753    5.430254    5    0    5   
   Hessen    812,721    13.424307    13    6    7   
   Thüringen    216,593    3.577625    4    0    4   
   Rheinland-Pfalz    520,990    8.605573    9    2    7   
   Bayern    1,120,018    18.500157    19    0    19   
   Baden-Württemberg    1,051,198    17.363407    17    1    16   
   Saarland    144,464    2.386218    2    0    2   



As in past elections, any direct mandates won by a party in a particular Land would be deducted from its proportional seat allocation. Thus, the 27 constituency seats won by SPD in Nordrhein-Westfalen would be subtracted from its proportional allocation of 44 seats, and the party would be awarded seventeen list seats in that Land.

However, in the case of CDU the number of constituency seats won by the party would exceed its Land list seat allocation in several Länder, which would require the allocation divisor to be increased from 60,658 to 68,400, with the following results:

   Land    Votes    Quotient    Seats   
           
  
            Total    Direct    List   
   Schleswig-Holstein    518,457    7.579781    9    9    0   
   Mecklenburg-Vorpommern    287,481    4.202939    6    6    0   
   Hamburg    246,667    3.606243    4    3    1   
   Niedersachsen    1,471,530    21.513596    22    16    6   
   Bremen    80,964    1.183684    1    0    1   
   Brandenburg    327,454    4.787339    5    1    4   
   Sachsen-Anhalt    362,311    5.296944    5    4    1   
   Berlin    393,180    5.748246    6    5    1   
   Nordrhein-Westfalen    3,111,478    45.489444    45    37    8   
   Sachsen    800,898    11.709035    16    16    0   
   Hessen    1,022,822    14.953538    15    15    0   
   Thüringen    383,778    5.610789    7    7    0   
   Rheinland-Pfalz    767,487    11.220570    13    13    0   
   Baden-Württemberg    1,874,481    27.404693    37    37    0   
   Saarland    179,289    2.621184    4    4    0   



Thus, party Land lists still retain their corresponding overhang mandates (if any), but now these will be proportionally deducted from the party's lists in the remaining Länder.

The final distribution of seats in the 2009 Bundestag election would have then stood as follows:

   Land       Seats   
        
  
         SPD       CDU       CSU       GRÜNE       FDP       DIE
LINKE
      Total   
   Schleswig-Holstein       7       9               3       4       2       25   
   Mecklenburg-Vorpommern       2       6               1       1       4       14   
   Hamburg       4       4               2       2       2       14   
   Niedersachsen       21       22               8       10       6       67   
   Bremen       2       1               1       1       1       6   
   Brandenburg       6       5               1       2       7       21   
   Sachsen-Anhalt       3       5               1       2       6       17   
   Berlin       6       6               5       3       6       26   
   Nordrhein-Westfalen       44       45               16       23       13       141   
   Sachsen       5       16               2       5       9       37   
   Hessen       13       15               6       9       5       48   
   Thüringen       4       7               1       2       6       20   
   Rheinland-Pfalz       9       13               4       6       3       35   
   Bayern       19               47       12       16       7       101   
   Baden-Württemberg       17       37               12       17       6       89   
   Saarland       2       4               1       1       2       10   
   Total       164       195       47       76       104       85       671   



While the new electoral system would have increased the size of the Bundestag by 49 seats, to a total of 671, it would not have substantially changed the outcome of the 2009 Bundestag election: incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel would still have been able to form a CDU/CSU-FDP coalition government, albeit with a parliamentary majority cut in half (from 332-290 to 346-325) when compared to the actual election outcome.


posted by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera : 09/15/2013 19:34 | permanent link