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Germany's voting system is complicated.
So complicated that some Germans
don't even understand it.
But its advocates argue that complexity
actually makes Germany's elections
some of the fairest in the world.
Like the U.S. government,
the German federal government
is made up of three main parts:
the judiciary, the executive branch
and the legislative branch.
The legislative branch includes
two chambers of parliament:
the Bundesrat and the Bundestag.
But Germans only vote directly
for members of the Bundestag in federal elections.
So that's what we'll focus on today.
The Bundestag is the legislative branch
of the German government,
based here in Berlin.
Think of it like the U.S. House of Representatives
or the U.K. House of Commons.
Every four years Germans vote to elect members
of the Bundestag in parliamentary elections.
There's a base number of 598 seats
up for election in the Bundestag.
Here's where it gets confusing.
Germans are asked to cast
not one, but two votes.
On the left side of the ballot,
Germans choose a member of parliament
from their own constituency.
Think of this like Americans voting
for a congressperson in their district.
There are 299 districts in Germany,
so directly-elected representatives make up
about half of the Bundestag.
So if I'm a voter here in Cologne
and I've got my ballot
I get one vote for one candidate,
here in my district.
The second vote, on the right side of the ballot,
is for a political party.
This vote determines how the remaining
299 seats will be divided up
among Germany's various political parties.
So back in Cologne I also get a second vote.
This one goes towards one of
Germany's political parties,
like the Social Democratic Party
or the Christian Democratic Union.
Political parties in Germany's 16 states
put together lists of candidates.
The results from the second vote
determine how many of these candidates
will get off the list and
get a seat in parliament.
A party has to receive at least 5%
of the second votes in a state
to qualify for a seat.
Cologne is in Germany's most populous state,
called North Rhine-Westphalia.
About 18 million Germans live here.
Because of that they get to fill
the largest share of seats
remaining in the Bundestag.
Are you with me?
Because here's where it gets
even more complicated.
The number of seats in the Bundestag
often actually exceeds 598.
Sometimes Germans split their ballots,
meaning they vote for a candidate
from one party in their first vote
and for a different political party
in their second vote.
This can throw off the balance
of seats in parliament,
so that one party is more strongly
represented than they should be
based on the results of
the proportionate second votes.
To make up for this
Germans created something called
“overhang" and "balance seats.”
Basically these are extra seats
in the Bundestag to make sure
every candidate who was directly elected
gets a seat, while at the same time
making sure political parties are
still proportionally represented,
based on the number of votes they got.
So right after the 2013 elections
there were actually 631 seats in the Bundestag,
including 33 overhang and balance seats.
One of the first tasks of
the newly-elected Bundestag
is to vote for the most
powerful person in Germany,
the federal chancellor.
But that's easier said than done.
To form a government,
the chancellor needs to receive
an absolute majority in parliament.
That means getting more than half the votes
of the members of the Bundestag.
But Germany has a bunch of political parties
so receiving more than half the seats
in parliament is uncommon.
That's where a coalition comes in,
where the biggest party teams up
with other smaller political parties
to get the votes they need.
So after the 2013 elections,
the CDU, Angela Merkel's party,
and the CSU, formed a coalition government
with the Social Democrats.
Once a coalition is formed
members of parliament vote
to elect the chancellor.
It's the chancellor who chooses
members of his or her cabinet,
which includes federal ministers similar
to secretaries in the U.S. presidential cabinet.
Chancellors serve four-year terms
and don't have term limits.
Helmut Kohl is the longest-serving chancellor to-date.
He was in office for 16 years.
Okay, I know that was a lot,
so why even bother with all of this complexity?
To understand why, well, we have to
look to the history books.
Many Germans saw the failure of
the Weimar Republic as
the failure of the country's
fragmented parliamentary system.
After World War II,
the Federal Republic of Germany
transferred power from the president
toward the Bundestag
and encouraged political majorities
to pass legislation.
Today the role of the German president
is mostly ceremonial.
And it's harder for extremist parties
to get in power with that 5% vote threshold.
The German election structure has resulted
in a stable government for more than 60 years.
But stable definitely doesn't mean simple.
Hey guys, it's Elizabeth, thanks for watching.
You can check out more of our videos over here,
including one about how Europe is
responding to President Trump.
We're also taking your ideas for future CNBC Explains,
so leave your suggestions in the comments section.
And while you're at it, subscribe to our channel.
Auf wiedersehen.
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德國的選舉制度 (How do German elections work? | CNBC Explains)

58 分類 收藏
robert 發佈於 2018 年 12 月 21 日
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