In the dispute over the reform of the electoral law, the SPD parliamentary group has come up with a compromise proposal. The SPD MP Axel Schäfer spoke out in favor of lowering the five percent hurdle to four percent in order to compensate for the negative consequences of the traffic light plans, especially for the CSU and the left.

The left had also spoken out in favor of such a reduction. The Left MP Gregor Gysi had brought 3 or 3.5 percent into play. CSU boss Markus Söder, on the other hand, had rejected a reduction.

Bundestag is to be reduced to 630 MPs

The coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP had decided on an electoral law reform in order to permanently reduce the Bundestag, which had inflated to 736 MPs, to 630 MPs. The so-called basic mandate clause should be dropped. So far, it has ensured that parties with the strength of their second vote result in the Bundestag also entered the Bundestag if they were less than five percent but won at least three direct mandates. The Left Party benefited from this in 2021, which had only achieved 4.9 percent of the second votes. The CSU came to 5.2 percent in 2021, but won almost all direct mandates in Bavaria. The CSU and CDU form a parliamentary group in the Bundestag.

In a two-page statement, Schäfer suggests lowering the hurdle to four percent, as first reported by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” on Saturday. The paper is also available from the German Press Agency. The 70-year-old has been a member of the Bundestag since 2002. From 2010 to 2017 he was deputy group leader.

Schäfer: Reduction of the blocking clause to four percent

Schäfer writes that the traffic light coalition has “achieved an important parliamentary success” with the electoral law reform to reduce the size of the Bundestag. However, the planned abolition of the basic mandate clause “led to considerable criticism from all directions, which we must take seriously”. There is now “considerable potential for fake news and legends as well as avoidable disputes”. The traffic light coalition should “both resist this and tackle further reform of the electoral law and specifically discuss lowering the threshold clause to four percent”. Social Democrats “do not see the right to vote as an instrument of struggle against certain parties”. The SPD must therefore now “take legal account of the changed party landscape and take appropriate initiatives”.

Schäfer also referred to the situation in the European Union: “In eight EU countries there are threshold clauses of less than five percent and in the European Parliament less than one percent is enough to win a seat.”

CSU boss Söder, on the other hand, rejects lowering the five percent hurdle, as he told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (Saturday). “The traffic light must take back this right to vote completely, corrections are not enough,” he emphasized. “In order to secure its majority, it put two of the three opposition parties at a fundamental disadvantage. The traffic light has sinned against the political culture,” criticized the Bavarian Prime Minister.

The CDU chairman Friedrich Merz also rejected the proposal from the coalition to improve the electoral law reform and to allow list connections between the CDU and CSU. “We feel it is downright encroaching that the coalition wants to use election law to decide how the CDU and CSU should line up in federal elections. World on Sunday”.

“CDU and CSU are two friendly, but also independent parties who have decided to run in geographically different electoral areas and not to compete. It will stay that way, no matter what other political parties think of it,” explained Merz. The CSU only competes in Bavaria, the CDU only in the other federal states.