(No choice; 01-03; p.2)
However, this - among other factors - contributes
to some mis-developments in German parliaments.
A voter e.g. may wonder why he meets Parliamentarians
within the Bundestag's halls which were candidates in his election
district, but were not elected. Such MPs were set on a party's
list in their respective "Land", the units, the federal
republic consists of. Since enough voters of this Land have given
their second vote to this MP's respective party, their employment
for the next four years in parliament is guaranteed.
Max Weber, the path-breaking sociologist at the beginning of the
twentieth century considered the ability to vote out representatives
to be an essential for parliamentary democracies of the western
kind. - In cases like the one described, it is obviously not given.
Moreover, proportional voting system means that
seats in German parliaments are distributed by the second votes
(for parties): shares of the parties decide on the shares of seats,
not the first votes for a candidate. The latter so called direct
mandates are evened out by "equalising" mandates ("Ausgleichsmandate"
in German) in the parliaments of the "Länder", if they
run up to more than the respective party's share of seats. The
only exception are federal elections: "equalising" mandates
are not given, therefore they are more "personalised".
Put differently: in almost all Länder and federal elections voters
have no influence on one half of the representatives, and they
in turn do not represent anyone but their party. (An exception
to this is the Land Lower Saxony in which two thirds instead of
the usual half of the regular seats are given to candidates directly
elected; however, this rule is again counterbalanced by possible
The proportional system of voting is a factor
for the dominance of parties in the public sphere - not the only
one, of course, as there are others like political culture. To
correct this, one could limit the election system to voting relative
majorities, i.e. the candidate who gathers the most votes in a
district becomes elected. (read on here)