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Europe

Professor Claims 77 German MEPs Already Elected

Over 70 percent of German MEPs have already been elected, even before election day, according to one German professor.

When German voters go to the ballot box on Sunday, 77 of 99 German MEPs will already be sure of their place in the European Parliament, according to Hans Herbert von Arnim. A professor of public law at the Postgraduate School of Administrative Sciences in the German town of Speyer, von Arnim has conducted a study into the system of party lists, which he claims goes some way to predetermining the results of the elections. His calculations are based on the German election rules, figures from the latest election as well as current projections, he told the EUobserver. If unpopular politicians are at the top of the party list, voters cannot get rid of them unless they vote for another party. Equally they have no major chance of backing a popular candidate at the bottom of the list. German rules stick strictly to party lists, thus preventing voters from voting on individuals rather than parties, he says. One example is Gabriele Stauner, conservative MEP from the German state of Bavaria, who is known for her work on fighting fraud and corruption. However, in the forthcoming election she is number 10 on the list of her party and thus not sure to be back in Brussels after the election. Armin argued recently that this system could be in conflict with German Constitutional Law, which requires "free and direct" elections. According to his method von Arnim produced a list of 77 secure seats including members of the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats and the Green party. (EUobserver.com)

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