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European Elections 2014

Germany Removes Threshold for European Elections

Politics » EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 2014 | February 26, 2014, Wednesday // 13:40| Views: 1655 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Germany Removes Threshold for European Elections Reichstag. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany has struck down the 3% threshold for German parties to enter the European Parliament.

The judges deemed the barrier unconstitutional as it violated the equal right of all citizens to cast their vote that is stated in Germany's Basic Law, Der Spiegel magazine reports.

What the German constitution stipulates is that each participant in elections should have exactly the same chance that their vote could have an impact on the final result.

This requirement is void only in cases of utmost importance for the state, such as "the normal functioning of Parliament".

It is more specifically justified for national elections to the federal parliament, the Bundestag, to avoid parliamentary fractioning from the times of the Weimar Republic which would hinder lawmaking.

Such concern, however, is not valid for European elections, as in the European Parliament there are trans-national party groups where small parties can band together, the constitutional court has claimed.

Judges also found that the threshold was a "serious infringement" of the equal treatment of political parties, as The European Voice has informed.

The decision was taken by a narrow majority, with 3 judges in favour and 2 against.

The ruling will be applied to this year's European Elections on May 25, which means extremist or rather non-traditional parties can see their prospects to enter the European Parliament increased.

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Tags: Germany, european elections, European parliament, Weimar Republic, Bundestag
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