German Election Live: Social Democrats Edge Ahead In Chancellor Race As CDU Plunges To Historic Low

How does Germany’s electoral system work? Combining directly elected MPs with proportional representation, it is not the world’s simplest.

When voters enter the polling booth, they make two crosses on the ballot paper - one for a direct representative in their local district, the other for their preferred political party.

The first is meant to ensure that each of the coutry’s 299 districts is represented in parliemant, while the second determines the total proportion of seats each party will eventually have.

Ahead of election day, the parties write up “candidate lists” in each of Germany’s 16 states. The names at the top have the biggest chance of getting a seat, and the party with the most votes then gets to send the most MPs to parliament.

If, for example, a party wins three direct seats through the first vote, but is eligible for 10 seats overall through the second vote, seven more names on the party’s list are also given seats. If a party earns more direct seats than it is entitled to through its share of the party vote, it gets them anwyay - so-called “overhang” seats.

This means the Bundestag can expand far beyond its minimum size of 598 seats. A record 709 MPs were returned to parliament in 2017, a figure that could well be exceeded this year as a large number of voters are expected to “split” their votes.

In a bid to avoid excessive fragmentation and stop potentially extremist parties entering parliament, parties which score below 5% of the second vote are exclude. The far-left Die Linke party is flirting with the 5% bar in the polls and whether or not it clear it could be a key factor in post-election coalition arithmetic.

Voters, finally, do not elect the chancellor. That job is down to parliament, which chooses the future head of government by absolute majority - half of all the lower house seats plus one.

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2021/sep/26/germany-election-2021-results-reaction-angela-merkel-era-ends-baerbock-scholz-laschet-spd-greens-cdu-live-latest-updates?page=with:block-615091418f08c14a66759209

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German election live: Social Democrats edge ahead in chancellor race as CDU plunges to historic low

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