“We cannot achieve an increased proportion of women with warm words”
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Hamburg’s parliamentary president Carola Veit (SPD) does not see the controversial parity law at the end, despite negative judgments. However, pretty much everything would have to be changed for an equality target in elections.
D.he legal defeats in Thuringia and Brandenburg in terms of equality between women and men in parliaments are more of an incentive than an obstacle for Hamburg’s Mayor, Carola Veit. “I’m surprised that some people are now saying that this is off the table,” she said. That is by no means the case. “Rather, the decisions in Thuringia and Brandenburg help us because they give us important information about what we have to consider in Hamburg in order to create a good regulation.”
Constitutional courts in Thuringia and Brandenburg overturned the parity laws there in July and October after complaints by the NPD and the AfD, according to which parties have to alternate between men and women in their lists of candidates for state elections. Hamburg’s red-green coalition is striving for a similar solution. Justice Senator Anna Gallina (Greens) said shortly after the Brandenburg verdict: “We cannot achieve a higher proportion of women in parliaments with warm words.”
But how? In Brandenburg and Thuringia it was clearly stated that a simple law on equality between women and men in parliaments was not sufficient “because – in short – the goal of equal representation in parliaments is not regulated in the constitution,” said Veit. But that has to be done, because important electoral principles protected by fundamental rights are actually being modified, such as party autonomy or freedom of choice.
A simple legal regulation in the electoral law is not sufficient for this, but a sufficiently specific legal basis in constitutional law is required. “A tiered procedure is therefore a good idea for Hamburg. The first step would actually be to write the goal of equal numbers of women and men in the citizenship and also in the district assemblies in the state constitution, ”said Veit. That would then be a state target setting similar to the limitation of climate change. “That would also be my suggestion for Hamburg.”
The constitutional amendment alone would not create a more gender-equitable electoral law. “But it is the basis and would also be an important proof of broad approval in parliament and the city for a parity regulation.” Then the second step could then take place, namely to open the discussion on how to transfer the goal to the level of electoral law.
“It will not be an easy undertaking”
“This will not be an easy undertaking at all, because we would then have to make major changes to our current Hamburg electoral law so that parity regulation can actually make a difference,” said the President of Parliament. The choice of people, the constituencies, the relationship to the state list, nothing can in principle remain as it is current. “This is a great challenge, for which, in addition to a great deal of agreement on the basic goal, a discussion process is required.” This requires a negotiation process that goes beyond party lines and takes people in the city with it.
Currently 55 of the 123 members of the Hamburg Parliament are female. This is the highest value nationwide and corresponds to a rate of almost 45 percent. Saxony-Anhalt brings up the rear. There are only 22 percent female. lno / jlau