The lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, reached a record size as the number of seats was finalized after the elections which took place on Sunday. Eight parties now have members of the Legislative Assembly.
The vote increased the number of seats in the Bundestag from 709 to 735, making it the largest and possibly the most expensive parliament in post-war Germany. In fact, it is now the largest chamber of parliament in the Western world.
For its size, the legislature has been dubbed the “Bundestag XXL” by the German media and some people have reportedly pointed out that only China’s unicameral legislature has more seats.
Technically, the Bundestag was only supposed to have 598 MPs, with 299 members elected individually and 299 others elected from party lists. However, various intricacies built into the country’s electoral system have allowed more people to win additional seats, thus increasing the size of parliament with each electoral cycle over the past two decades.
Politicians have tried to reform the system on several occasions, and the number of seats is expected to decline from 2024, according to an article in Tagesschau.
Lawmakers are due to meet for their first session on October 24. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) is now the largest party in parliament with 206 seats. It is followed by the center-right bloc of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), which together hold 196 seats.
The other parties are the Greens (118 MPs), the Liberal Democratic Party (92 MPs), the right-wing anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (83 seats) and the Left Party (39 MPs). One MP represents the Regionalist Voters’ Association of South Schleswig, which was founded as a Danish and Frisian minority party.
The negotiations will determine whether the “grand coalition” between the CDU / CSU and the SPD is renewed or whether a new ruling coalition is formed with the help of the Greens and the FDP. It will also determine who will replace Merkel as chancellor.
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