We bring transparency to the allocation of positions on the party lists
Our PARTEIWATCH project takes a closer look at a central but all too often ignored process in our electoral system: the allocation of positions on the party lists.
Who gets a secure position on the list and is thus virtually guaranteed a seat in parliament even before election day? Which networks play a role in this? And why are people with more diverse backgrounds, young people, and other structurally disadvantaged groups of people systematically pushed down to the worse positions on the list or not even put up in the first place? PARTEIWATCH will provide answers to these questions.
Many of the deputies are de facto fixed before election day
Candidates can get into the Bundestag either via a direct mandate or a list mandate (for more information, see here). Most members of the Bundestag – just under 60% – have a list mandate.
To obtain a list mandate, politicians must first make it onto a party’s state list. After the election, as many people from this list enter parliament as are entitled to seats for the party according to the second votes.¹ This in turn means that whoever has a top place on the list of one of the larger parties is very likely to enter parliament.
Accordingly, the allocation of these list positions by the state parties is a decisive factor in who ultimately represents the population in parliament.
However, this allocation takes place largely far from the public eye and is only documented at all in exceptional cases: Most parties only publish the final list at the end, but not the individual voting results, speeches, agreements, or proposals.
The non-transparent compilation of the lists currently leads to people with diverse backgrounds being structurally disadvantaged.
In our PARTEIWATCH project, we want to closely follow the list formations of the upcoming party congresses and, as far as possible, document what is happening within the party. From summaries of studies to our data analyses to direct insights emerging from our strong inter-party network – we ensure that this elementary and often overlooked step in elections in Germany receives more attention and transparency. For a fair selection in which the most suitable and not the best-connected politicians win – for a transparent, vibrant, innovative democracy.
¹That is somewhat simplified. The seat allocation procedure is quite complex, with direct mandates, overhang mandates, and compensatory mandates. The blog Wahlrecht.de has summarized it well here