Merkel’s election law reform declared unconstitutional

July 26th, 2012 - 8:56 am ICT by IANS  

Berlin, July 26 (IANS) Germany’s top court has ruled changes in the current election law, introduced last year by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, as unconstitutional.

The Wednesday’s ruling has left politicians with limited time to draw up a new law before the general election in 2013, Xinhua reported.

The new arrangements of distributing parliamentary seats in the lower house, pushed forward by the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) and Free Democrats (FDP) in 2011, “breach the fundamental principles of equal, direct elections and equal opportunities for parties in several respects”, said the Karlsruhe-based Constitutional Court.

The court supported the appeals lodged by the opposition Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and more than 3,000 citizens, who said that the law reform benefited the bigger parties, particularly Merkel’s conservative CDU.

According to Germany’s complex electoral system, one voter should cast two parallel ballots in the election — one for a candidate in the constituency of the voter and the other for a particularly party.

If a party gains more seats in the direct election for candidates than the distribution it has in the party election based on the percentage of the votes, the party will occupy the so-called extra seats in the Bundestag, or the lower house of German parliament.

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