Municipal council decides to abolish the local elections
The unechte Teilortswahl in Rastatt is a thing of the past. With a clear majority of 27 votes in favor, 17 against and two abstentions, the Rastatt municipal council voted on Monday, July 24, to abolish the previous electoral system for municipal elections. This had guaranteed a fixed number of seats in the local council to the five Rastatter local parts up to now. In the future now applies with local elections: Each vote has the same weight, regardless of whether it is cast by a resident of the core city or from one of the districts.
Due to the previous determination of seats for the districts, they are currently overrepresented in the municipal council. The city center, for example, is underrepresented in the municipal council with only 0.7 seats per 1,000 inhabitants, while Rauental, for example, has an overrepresentation of 1.4 seats per 1,000 inhabitants. And that poses a legal problem for the next municipal election. Because such inequalities would make the results contestable. This is made clear by a ruling of the Baden-Württemberg Administrative Court on the 2019 local elections in Tauberbischofsheim. However, the abolition of the unechten Teilortswahl is accompanied not only by legal certainty, but also by a significant simplification in the voting process. In the past, the complicated procedure had led to an excessive number of invalid ballots. In addition, the size of the municipal council, which is fixed at 40 seats according to the main statutes, is now secured and an increase in seats due to overhang mandates is no longer possible.
Before the roll call vote in the municipal council, there was a partly emotional debate. All factions and groups emphasized in their speeches that they had not made it easy for themselves with a decision - and that the local districts without any doubt and regardless of the electoral system play and will play an important role in the municipal council.
The councillors of the Greens, the AfD, the FuR and the FDP voted unanimously for the abolition of the unechten Teilortswahl. They mainly argued that only an abolition would guarantee legal certainty. Critical of the old system, moreover, was when not the competence but the address of the candidates was decisive in the election. The representatives of the Free Voters voted unanimously in favor of retaining the system. In the parliamentary groups of the SPD and the CDU there were both supporters and opponents of an abolition of the unechte Teilortswahl. The opponents declared their solidarity with the decisions of the local councils, which - with the exception of the stalemate in Plittersdorf - had all voted in favor of retaining the unechten Teilortswahl. Mayor Hans Jürgen Pütsch voted in favor of abolition because, as he said, "we must finally come to the point where equality counts in elections." Incidentally, he said, experience in municipalities that have abolished the unechte Teilortswahl shows that the local districts are not represented with fewer, but often with more seats in the municipal council than before. However, this is based on the principle that every vote counts equally.