(How) Can the German electoral system be reformed? Model calculations of the 2017 federal election and a plea for a 'de-personalized' representative electoral formula


The German Bundestag election in 2017 lead to the largest parliament since the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany, namely to comprising 709 deputies. Since the last reform of the electoral law in 2013, the parliament’s extensive ‘swelling’ caused by surplus and compensation seats has been frequently criticized and inspired political scientists to propose electoral reforms. Tying in to this debate, we carry out model calculations to estimate the impact of different electoral systems on the election results. Subsequently, we suggest to implement a “de-personalized” list proportional representation with a five-percent-threshold and complementary votes that would allow to keep seat numbers stable whilst not impeding coalition formations.

In Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen (German Journal of Parliamentary Studies) 49 (3), pp. 531-551