Recent electoral reforms in Germany have facilitated voting from abroad for expatriates and spark renewed discussions on voting for third-country nationals at local level and on dual nationality.
In the last three weeks the Bundestag discussed and voted reforms to the federal electoral law (Bundeswahlgesetz) that will change the rules regarding the surplus or “overhang seats” (Überhangsmandate) and the rights of Germans abroad (Auslandsdeutsche) to vote for federal election. Politicians in the opposition (mainly the Greens, Social-democrats and The Left) have taken these reforms (prompted by the Federal Constitutional Court) as an opportunity for reopening debates on the decades-old proposals to allow dual citizenship and extend voting rights to long-term resident foreign (third-country) nationals at the local level. Surprisingly, some politicians from one of the governing coalition parties (the FDP) have jumped into this debate sharpening their profile for the upcoming federal elections by declaring their support for a reform that would allow dual nationality.
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