The deputy parliamentary group leader of the Union, Andrea Lindholz, sees hard times ahead for the FDP. “In my opinion, the FDP made a significant miscalculation with its decision for the traffic light coalition,” said the CSU member of the Bundestag. One can regret that, but the FDP is ultimately responsible for its own happiness. “There are hard times ahead for the liberals, after this electoral reform anyway,” predicted the domestic politician. “Because it is clear that we will now campaign for a tough first and second vote in the next federal election.”

The electoral law reform passed in the Bundestag on March 17 with the votes of the traffic light coalition means that constituencies won by direct candidates may not be allocated, said Lindholz. That and the deletion of the basic mandate clause inserted in the final few meters of the draft are unacceptable. The process was carried out by the coalition partners with a “basta mentality”.

“We saw the draft that the traffic light coalition voted on Friday for the first time on Monday evening.” This “Basta” style has consequences, even beyond the dispute over the right to vote. Lindholz said: “So the climate has naturally deteriorated considerably among themselves.” The mood was sometimes “downright poisoned”.

The coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP had decided on an electoral law reform in order to permanently reduce the Bundestag, which had inflated to 736 MPs, to 630 MPs. The so-called basic mandate clause should be dropped. So far, it has ensured that parties with the strength of their second vote result in the Bundestag also entered the Bundestag if they were less than five percent but won at least three direct mandates. The Left Party benefited from this in 2021, which had only achieved 4.9 percent of the second votes. The CSU came to 5.2 percent in 2021, but won almost all direct mandates in Bavaria. The CSU and CDU form a parliamentary group in the Bundestag.

The FDP is trying to give the impression that it has “prevented even worse things from happening” in the coalition with the SPD and the Greens, said Lindholz. But no one gets elected. Many young voters had hoped for a boost from the FDP when it came to digitization, “but nothing is happening at the moment,” criticized the CSU politician. Things had gone badly for the FDP in the state elections since the traffic light coalition was formed. Most recently, she flew out of the House of Representatives in the repeat election in Berlin.

In the past electoral term, the Union and the SPD had decided on a reform that also aimed to reduce the size of the Bundestag. From the point of view of the traffic light coalition, however, this plan was not ambitious enough. In addition, politicians from the SPD, Greens and FDP argued against the proposed reduction in the number of constituencies.

“I fully understand that changes are needed in the electoral law,” said Lindholz. The Union must also be self-critical. “It would have been better if we had decided earlier on our reform, namely the reduction to 280 mandates plus three overhang mandates that will not be compensated. Then the reshaping of the constituencies would have been completed by the last federal election.” She does not believe that the reform decided by the traffic light coalition will hold up before the Federal Constitutional Court.