Schäuble at the constituent meeting: “An electoral reform does not tolerate any delay”

Status: 10/26/2021 1:33 p.m.

The new Bundestag, which met for the first time today, has 736 members – that is more than enough, warns the outgoing Bundestag President Schäuble. He therefore urged MPs to reform their electoral law.

The new Bundestag met for the first time 30 days after the election. With 736 members it is bigger than ever. In his opening speech, the previous President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, therefore once again called for a quick change in the electoral law in order to prevent further inflation of the parliament.

The fact that the Bundestag could meet again in plenary for the first time for its constituent session despite the restrictions due to the corona pandemic, said the 79-year-old. “If we were able to do that with the electoral law, for example, I would not be sad after the bitter experience of the past legislative period, which was also for me personally,” said Schäuble. “An electoral reform that deserves its name has not become a bit easier – and yet: it obviously does not tolerate any delay,” said the CDU politician. “The citizens look to us, their expectations of Parliament are rightly high. We should continue to do everything we can to do justice to this together.”

AfD fails with application

Schäuble chaired the session as senior president in parliament. Previously, the AfD had failed in its attempt to enforce its MP Alexander Gauland as senior president of the Bundestag. A proposal by the group to amend the Rules of Procedure failed to find a majority. At 80 years of age, Gauland is the oldest member of parliament. However, the rules of procedure were changed before the 2017 federal election, so that the age president is now the member with the most parliamentary years. This is Schäuble – he has been a member of parliament since 1972.

Schäuble said the Bundestag is the place where arguments are allowed. Parliament is a political stage and not just a notarial event to work through coalition agreements. There must be a room in Parliament in which the diversity of opinions can be openly discussed. This becomes even more important because the willingness to endure contradicting viewpoints and to allow contradiction is decreasing in society.

The CDU politician also warned that politics should not succumb to the temptation to want to regulate everything. “Politics doesn’t know everything better. If politics thinks that it has no limits, it is at least as dangerous as when others believe that they are not subject to any limitations.” In addition, political responsibility should not be passed on to the courts.

“Scientific knowledge alone is not politics”

The sometimes tough struggle for social majorities should also be brought closer to those who, with a view to climate change, are disappointed by the inertia of democratic processes and demand immediate action, said Schäuble. He understands their displeasure. But scientific knowledge alone is not politics, and certainly not a democratic majority.

In the corona pandemic, by and large, it was possible to conduct controversial debates and weigh up conflicting values ​​and interests against each other, even under enormous pressure to make decisions. Parliamentary democracy had passed an unprecedented test.

Finally, Schäuble called on MPs to be “confident parliamentarians”. The reputation and dignity of the Bundestag depended on the behavior of each individual parliamentarian. “It is up to us whether the citizens give this representative body what parliamentary democracy is built on: their trust.”

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