Sperrminorität

“Blocking minority.” If, for example, Bersani’s (center-left) coalition gains control of Italy’s House but Berlusconi’s (center-right-f’tang-f’tang-biscuit-barrel) coalition wins enough votes in the Senate, Italy will be ungovernable because Bunga-Bunga will have the ability to block legislation. Hopefully, Bersani and Monti, perhaps even with television comedian Grillo’s help, will gain enough seats to call for another election, which will be blessed with better turnout. Spiegel-Online ventured to note that the new parliament might consider passing some electoral reforms before the new election, to stabilize the Italian government and make Italian politicians seem more reliable to voters.

(SHPERRRM ee nore ee tate.)

Wahlrecht

“Voting law.” The Bundestag is debating an overhaul of Germany’s electoral system. On 17 Oct 2012, Spiegel reported one issue was that the reforms currently under discussion might increase the size of the Bundestag to 700 M.P.’s (Spiegel-Online, “Bigger Than North Korea,” saying Germany would have the world’s second-largest parliament after China). Electoral reforms were necessitated by the Federal Constitutional Court’s decision in July 2012 that parts of the current law were unconstitutional, particularly with regard to Überhangmandate (which will be balanced out by proportional extra seats for the other parties). If a final agreement is reached rapidly, the new law could be in effect by Christmas 2012.

Update on 21 Feb 2013: The Bundestag reached an agreement on the new election rules. Überhangmandat seats will be canceled out by Ausgleichsmandat, compensation mandate, seats.

(VALL wrecked.)

Überhangmandate

“Overhang mandates,” overhang seats. Unusual parliamentary seats resulting from Germany’s two-vote election system. With their first vote, burghers choose a candidate. With their second vote, a political party. If a party has more direct candidates elected in a district than the seats they would have won by percentage, the party can still retain the directly elected excess candidates as Überhangmandate.

According to ZDF heute journal reporting on 25 July 2012, after Angela Merkel’s government’s recent electoral reforms there were an unprecedented 24 overhang seats in the subsequent election, a new record, and all belonged to Angela Merkel’s ruling party CDU/CSU. The Federal Constitutional Court has now declared the recent reforms imperfect and in need of revision, during which there will presumably be substantially more debate and resistance from the opposition, who now say these reforms were in fact rather inconsistent and hastily pushed through the legislative process.

In future, the Constitutional Court said, a maximum of only 15 overhang seats will be permissible.

Update on 21 Feb 2013: The Bundestag reached an agreement on the new election rules. Überhangmandat seats will be canceled out by Ausgleichsmandat, compensation mandate, seats.

(OO ber hong mon DOT eh.)

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