Parliament bores ordinary people: study

Parliament bores ordinary people: study
Sometimes even ministers can't pretend to be interested in Parliament. Photo: DPA
Most citizens don't pay attention to what's going on in the Bundestag, with just one in four able to name a recent debate, a study published on Monday shows.

The Bertelsmann Foundation found that 27 percent of people they surveyed had followed a debate via radio or television in the previous month, a fall of around half compared with similar surveys conducted 30 years ago.

People's main complaint about the Bundestag was that it was predictable. They were bored of the parties using the debates as show battles to restate their positions, rather than trying to convince others.

Politicians from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD) are currently planning reforms under which ministers would face MPs more often for questioning.

But the study authors call this a minimal effort which must be built on to renew interest in politics.

Going any further will be difficult, as a suggestion from the SPD that the Chancellor should face questions from MPs once or twice a year was rejected by their coalition partners in the CDU.

"No spectacle under the Federal Eagle," which stands above the chamber was their rallying cry.

There is little chance of the German parliament seeing anything as raucous as the weekly British Prime Minister's Questions any time soon.

Losing the young

Just 54 percent of people were able to correctly name the current opposition parties in parliament (Hint: it's the Greens and the Left [Linke]).

Among 16- to 29-year-olds, the number answering correctly fell to just 38 percent.

Constituency work didn't pay off for MPs either, as just 17 percent of people said that they had followed the activities of their local representative recently.

But the number of people who could identify a local MP had risen since 1995, from 55 to 67 percent.


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