The bundestag is too rough, many agree. The factions wrestle over electoral reform. Coburg/kronach CSU member of the bundestag hans michelbach has been following the discussion for many years now. Now he takes a stand on the latest development.
How does an experienced member of the bundestag experience everyday life in the currently very rough parliament?? Concerns of the 708 colleagues for difficulties in the daily life of a member of the bundestag?
Hans michelbach: in the past few months, i have campaigned intensively for electoral law reform to reduce the size of the federal parliament. Having been a member of the german bundestag for more than 26 years now, I have to say from my experience that the regular size of 598 members is quite sufficient and that the parliament is reaching the limits of its capacity to work with an increase in the number of parliamentary groups as well as compensatory and overhang mandates. There are delays in legislative work due to a large number of additional requests and inquiries, subsequent bills and necessary hearings. Apart from that, the large number of deputies and staff with regard to the required offices entails a major space problem with unjustifiable additional costs.
What is your assessment of the situation: will the planned long-term reduction to 280 constituencies have an impact on the federal constituency and, in particular, the CSU office in coburg??
The coalition committee has first decided on a reform of electoral law that will preserve the federal constituency of coburg/kronach in the next federal election in 2021. This is good news for us because our democracy works best through the direct election and legitimation of a constituency representative by local voters. That is why I vehemently opposed the severe reduction of constituencies. The compromise now provides for a minor reduction. However, in the current situation, this would mean a reduction from the current five to four constituencies in upper franconia. However, a definitive decision on constituencies for the 2025 election will not be made until 2024.
Ludwigsstadt to lahm, geroldsgrun to bad rodach – is "ours federal constituency already in the present layout for a delegate not already hardly to be overlooked?
A flat constituency like ours poses a special challenge compared to large city constituencies, if you want to stay in touch with local people, associations and organizations, but also with businesses as a constituency representative. The challenge inevitably grows when a constituency becomes even coarser. We must therefore ensure that the reduction in the number of constituencies does not lead to a loss of contact with citizens.
The current pandemic crisis in particular shows how important close contact is, for example, when it comes to providing assistance to companies and thus preserving jobs. Therefore, a further reduction of the electoral districts would not be a positive development. Equality of opportunity in the countryside is also of the utmost importance for the region. I could have imagined a greater reduction in the compensatory and overhang mandates. In the further reform of the electoral law, we must prevent an ever-increasing surplus of list deputies who are not connected with any constituency.
But 2025 is still a long way off – let's take a look at the 2021 federal elections: what is the timetable of the local CSU for the necessary personnel decisions?? And: what role do you want and will you play there??
First of all, we have to pass the new electoral law this fall. Only in this way is a regular nomination procedure for the candidates for the next federal election guaranteed. I am curious to see how the other groups will react to this.
Once the law is in place, we will work quickly in our party committees to resolve the election process. It is necessary to elect the constituency committees. This begins with the convening of local general assemblies, which then elect delegates from the local associations to the district delegates' assembly and to the federal electoral district conference. This could take place at the beginning of next year. Then the delegate elections could take place at the same time as the elections to the local party committees.
I think that by then we will have enough time to prepare our personnel decisions and to achieve the best for the electoral district of coburg and kronach for the future.