Democracy 101

by Karen Poertzgen

ELECTIONS! Aren’t they awesome? Flabbergasting, astonishing, entertaining, exciting? Finally, “WE” get our say in what “THEY” do up there; with our money, with our lives, and with our future. On the 22nd of September elections were held in Germany and, as you all know, Merkel was re-elected. As you all also know, the fact that I’m not dancing around in circles happily makes me a minority. Or doesn’t it?

I guess there is one thing you need to know about me before reading this: I take politics very seriously. So on Monday evening, after I had recovered a bit from the shock of the election-results, I wanted to find out everything connected to them. That was the moment I stumbled over the official numbers and figures. Yes, Merkel and her party got 41.5% of the votes. Yes, over 71.5% of the eligible voters made use of their right, which is quite high. And yes, the established opposition parties all had horrible results (even though they pretended to be satisfied); most say they deserved it.

I knew from some friends of mine that they had cast a so-called “protest” vote. I knew that the number of people who spoiled a ballot was small, but I found it was still more than some of the small parties got. For the first time I realized that there were close to 30 small parties; half of which I had never heard of, half of which did not show up on my ballot card. I made a joke of adding up their numbers. I arrived at a total of 6,855,044 votes/people.

6.8 million people voted for a party that did not make it into the Bundestag (a party needs more than 5% of the votes). 6.8 – this is almost twice the amount of votes than the 3rd biggest party got. 6.8 million people who will not be represented for the next 4 years. Let me put it differently: 11% of the persons entitled to vote, 15.5% of the ones who took their vote.

Source: Mark Stivers

You cannot tell me that this is ok. It is not ok that 10-15% of the population is not represented in their parliament. These people are more than clearly unsatisfied with the policies conducted in the last 4-8 maybe even 12 years or more. You may say that these are protest-voters, however, they might actually believe in the party they voted for. I cannot decide which would be worse. In any case, isn’t this very sad – and wrong? Don’t misunderstand me here: I do see the point in having a minimum requirement for a party to enter the Bundestag, but at the same time I wasn’t aware what this meant for large parts of the population.

I can’t remember how many articles I have read in the last days stating that the opposition parties have to move more to the center of the political spectrum. I disagree! I’m convinced it would help a lot if they had a clear message for a change. Where that places them on the spectrum is secondary. Maybe then the 15% of the citizens, who cast their vote for a party that is not represented now, might reconsider their choice in the next elections.


One thought on “Democracy 101”

  1. the images kept below the article is really an outstanding one and it is most appropritate to define what democracy is ( that is present state)

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