Election Procedure for the Landtag of Rhineland-Palatine
The state parliament (Landtag) is elected every five years. According to the constitution of Rhineland-Palatinate, it is elected by general, free and secret ballot.
Every person entitled to vote has two votes. 51 seats were assigned by first vote (direct vote) and 50 seats by second vote (list vote).
With the first vote, 51 local candidates are elected in a majority voting from single member districts (direct election).
The second vote is a vote for a party list (list vote). It decides on the percentage composition of the parliament, i.e. the proportional relation of the parties to one another in the Landtag. That means, the total number of seats assigned to a party are distributed on the basis of the second vote. Therefore, the number of seats won directly by a party are subtracted from the total number of seats allocated to that party's list on acccount of the second votes. The remaining seats are filled with the candidates of the party list.
For example: if a party gets 48 seats on account of the second vote, and if 20 of its candidates win a constituency, 28 of its seats are assigned in the order of sequence on the party list.
Only parties gaining at least five percent of the second votes are taken into consideration in this proportional assignment of seats. The purpose of this five per cent hurdle is to prevent splinter parties from entering the parliament and thus enable the larger parties to obtain majorities that guarantee a stable government.