You don’t have to blame the CSU alone for the fact that the reform of the electoral law for the Bundestag was a tough thing for years. But Bayern constantly braked and complained and gambled. Now the CSU has gambled away.
The end of the basic mandate clause affects the party only “theoretically”, as regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt said during the week. But his angry speech in the Bundestag on Friday showed that the party is no longer sure of its comfortable role in federal politics, which is secured by the basic mandate clause.
The deletion of the rule that even three direct mandates entitle to enter the Bundestag is a kind of near-death experience for the CSU. She would like to talk away the fact that there has been a stricter five percent hurdle in Bavaria for decades than in the federal government. But that’s the way it is: In the federal government, what is obviously unproblematic in Bavaria is hardly unconstitutional.
It is uncertain whether the CSU’s hope that the basic mandate clause is protected by the state principle in the Basic Law will persuade the judges in Karlsruhe to make a favorable decision. The CSU can hardly define itself as a party of a national minority. Your regional focus, your self-limitation to Bavaria, is of a voluntary nature. She can apply for votes in other federal states at any time in order to pass the five percent hurdle. The party saint FJS has already considered that.
Incidentally, the CSU by no means only represents regional interests. According to its self-image, it is a party with pan-German aspirations. And despite all the arguments with the sister party: it is not far away from the program of the CDU.
In short: the CSU should not rely on Karlsruhe. The offer of any kind of list connection with the CDU (made by traffic light politicians) is not free from glee. But anyone who has gambled away like Dobrindt and his family may have to reach for such straws. In the CDU, sympathy should be limited.
And there is always the step of lowering the access hurdle. Then the left will be happy too.
Albert Funk is a correspondent in the Berlin office of the Tagesspiegel. He has been involved in the electoral debate for years.
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