Wednesday 25 February 2009

European Parliament elections 2009 (56): Follow-up on the Bulgarian (non-)vote

I recently quoted some figures that 50% of Bulgarians don't intend to vote on this year's European elections.

Now, after a hint by Ruth, Boyan Yurukov from Th!nk about it! has followed up on this issue, explaining why Bulgarians don't vote and what the civil society and bloggers' community are trying to do against this apathy:
In Bulgaria people don’t have faith in the system. Most people don’t see an alternative in the opposition either. This causes a sort of a mass political depression in our people - we don’t see a point in doing anything. We either don’t vote or cast a negative vote against whoever is in charge at the moment. In this way several new parties have managed to climb on top of the public disapproval and received a big support in the last few elections.
In this sense, the European elections do not seem to be different because they are, more or less, national elections for a European institution. But if people don't trust their own politicians in their own country, why should they send them to Brussels/Strasbourg to change something?

Yet one more argument for true European elections!

Under the category "European parliament elections 2009" I am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009.

For an overview over all articles in this category have a look at the overview article.

For the five newest post see also the sidebar.


citizen of Europe said...

Ich habe eine Frage: Haben in Deutschland einzelne Bundesländer durch ein Bundesgesetz die Sitzenanzahl im Bundesrat nach ihrer Einwohnerzahl festgesetzt, wie ist es in den Vereinigten Staaten (siehe oder in der Schweiz (in deren Verfassung steht es: Die Sitze werden nach der Bevölkerungszahl auf die Kantone verteilt. Jeder Kanton hat mindestens einen Sitz.)? Oder ist der Bundesrat gewählt ohne Rücksicht auf die Bundesländer durch das deutsche Volk als ein Ganze?

Julien Frisch said...

First: The German Parliament (equals a first chamber) is called "Bundestag" and usually consists of 598 parliamentarians.

The "Bundesrat" is the representation of the federal states (equals a second chamber), where every state government has a number of votes that is largely proportional to the number of inhabitants of the state.

For parliamentary (thus "Bundestag") elections, every citizen has two votes, one for a direct candidate (first-pass-the-post) in his constituency and the second for a party list of his federal state. Hence, only 50% of the seats are chosen by a proportional (list) vote.

This second vote is indeed not for a national party list but for a federal state level party list. The number of seats that are given to a federal state in the parliament depend on the number of votes cast in that state (participation rate) compared to the number of votes all over Germany. Considering rather participation rates in the 16 federal states, the German parliament is in fact regionally balanced.

The details of the calculation are a bit more complicated and can be found in article 6 of the German Federal Election Code ("Bundeswahlgesetz").