Brandenburg was a pioneer when the state parliament passed a law that was unique in Germany in February 2019. The Parité law, which was pushed by the then red-red government coalition and the Greens, came into force on Tuesday.
For future state elections – the next one is in 2024 – parties have to fill their state lists with women and men alternately. Due to constitutional concerns, direct candidates are excluded from the constituencies.
The state constitutional court decides whether the law is valid. Two trial days are scheduled from August 20, then the lawsuits will be heard by the AfD and NPD, further lawsuits by the Pirate Party and an individual have been filed.
On Tuesday, representatives of the FDP youngsters Young Liberals (Julis) filed a lawsuit, including Julis chief Matti Karstedt and Julis federal vice-president Laura Schieritz. “The NPD and AfD are suing in this matter for completely different reasons,” said Karstedt. “An argument based on a social image of the 1950s, as propagated by the AfD, or from the 1930s, as with the NPD, does not do justice to our concern.”
Constitutionalists see violations of the Basic Law
Rather, the parity law completely undermines the principles of electoral law. “The fact that the state links people’s eligibility to external characteristics such as gender is a highly questionable process,” said Karstedt.
“The understanding of representation on which our constitution is based does not assume that men can only be represented by men and women can only be represented by women. This is a prescribed equality of results instead of real equality of opportunity, as we want it, ”said the Julis country chief.
Equal opportunities and equality are cultural issues that cannot be enacted by law. “We want to address deficits in politics without abolishing the right to nominate candidates,” he said.
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In fact, quite a few well-known constitutional lawyers consider the law to be contrary to the constitution. The tenor: it limits the freedom of parties and mandate holders and violates the principle of free, equal and secret elections. Above all, it questions the principle of democracy because people’s sovereignty is replaced by group sovereignty based on identities.
The constitutional judges also rule in Thuringia
After Brandenburg, Thuringia also passed a Parité law. There, the constitutional judges decide on July 15 about a lawsuit by the AfD. After his re-election in March, Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) announced that the parity rule would be overridden in order not to legally jeopardize the early election in April 2021.
In Brandenburg, seven women would sit in parliament with parity – and seven men less. The proportion of women is currently 33 percent, there are 29 women and 59 men in the state parliament. This was the result of a study by the University of Mannheim. With parity, the share rose to 39.8 percent. By the 2019 election, the proportion was 38.6 percent.