Ulrich Sieberer and Dominik Hierlemann, on behalf of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, have conducted a study on the performance of the German Parliament: the way it debates, the media coverage of these debates, and their perception by citizens. The study finds that parliamentary debates seem to be quite boring for the public, thus media report poorly about them, and as a consequence people know very little about the work and the decisions taken by their representatives. On the other hand citizens’ expectations regarding their representatives are very high.
The authors recommend specific reform steps to make parliamentary debates more attractive for the public and develop a new model for questioning the government. Their model integrates parts of the established procedure in the Bundestag with aspects of the well-known “Prime Minister’s Questions“ in the United Kingdom. The model provides a regular questioning of to the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor and cabinet ministers, topically open and short questions, and questions asked by MPs and submitted by citizens.
Read the full study and a short policy brief outlining the new model here (only available in German):