In the future, there should be an equal number of women and men serving as ministers in the Free State and the Bavarian state parliament. The Greens intend to amend the constitution and the election code to achieve this. They unveiled the matching draught law on Friday. State parliamentary group leader Katharina Schulze asserts that policies that are more influenced by women’s perspectives are better.
To establish parity in parliament, the Greens are preparing two critical changes. The number of constituencies will be substantially cut in half to 44, and two people will now be directly elected to represent each one. Each party should propose a team. The electors will cast two first votes. The winner of the most votes is then elected to the state parliament, followed by the winner of the most votes for women. A pair representing a constituency from different parties may result from this.
Second, list mandates—those for which voters cast their second vote—are to be distributed equally. Parties are not required to create lists that alternately contain men and women, but the candidates who received the most votes are given the list mandates following the election. There is a track for men and a track for women, and because the best-elected men and women get their opportunity, a woman with fewer votes than a man might still win a mandate. The mandate is still the third-placed woman’s, even though she received fewer votes than the fourth-placed man.
A similar situation may arise now, for instance, if a candidate receives a sizable number of votes but his party still needs to fulfil the 5% requirement. The former state parliament president Barbara Stamm, who passed away in the interim, received a sizable number of votes in Würzburg but did not receive a mandate because the CSU had enough votes for almost all direct candidates but not for additional list positions. This happened even at CSU, which has been used to success.
The bill is “creative and utterly unique,” according to Silike Laskowski, professor of public law, international law, and European law at the University of Kassel and member of the Bundestag’s election law panel. She wrote a legal analysis and was confident the text would pass constitutional scrutiny. Equal rights for men and women are the law’s objective, so accomplishing that objective cannot be deemed unconstitutional.
Katharina Schulze brought up the constitution right away, citing Article 118, which not only states that everyone has the right to equality but also adds the following sentence: “The state promotes the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and works towards eliminating existing disadvantages.” An 18-member state cabinet with only five women and a majority-male parliament are both disadvantageous.
The Bavarian electoral legislation, which includes compensatory and overhangs mandates, has resulted in 25 more members of the state parliament than the constitution calls for, making the total number of members 205. Yet, only one-third of lawmakers are women. In the state parliament, only 55 women are represented, with 37 coming from the Greens and SPD alone.
After the state elections in October, the proportion of women will stay reasonably high. Only the Greens and the SPD have equal numbers of candidates on their lists. Many senior MPs are no longer running for office or being nominated, indicating a significant upheaval inside the CSU. The people that succeed them are typically younger guys. Furthermore, it serves no purpose if one or both women are prominently featured there but have little chance of winning because CSU has recently won nearly all direct mandates. In contrast, only a small number of listed candidates have been elected to parliament.
Markus Söder, the head of CSU, is not happy with the state of affairs; after all, he set out to make CSU younger and more female. According to Schulze’s draught bill, an oath will be administered. Voluntarism is insufficient. Who is sincere about equality can now be seen. The Greens launched such an effort in 2019. In the state parliament, he was unable to win a majority.
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