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The following information deals with elections in Germany, including elections to the Federal Diet (the lower house of the federal parliament), the Landtags of the various states, and local elections.


German elections since 1949


Federal Republic of Germany

Election system

The German political system

Germany elects on federal level a legislature. The parliament has one chamber (the Federal Council, which represents the regions, is not considered a chamber, and its members are not elected). The Federal Diet (Bundestag) nominally has 598 members, elected for a four year term, 299 members elected in single-seat constituencies according to first-past-the-post, while a further 299 members are allocated from statewide party lists to achieve a proportional distribution in the legislature, conducted according to a system of proportional representation called the Mixed member proportional representation system. Voters vote once for a constituency representative, and a second time for a party, and the lists are used to make the party balances match the distribution of second votes. In the parliament elected in 2009 there are 24 overhang seats, giving a total of 622. This is caused by larger parties winning additional single-member districts above the totals determined by their proportional party vote.

Germany has a multi-party system, with two strong parties and some other third parties that are electorally successful. Since 1990 five parties (CDU and CSU counted as one) are represented in the Bundestag.

Elections are conducted approximately every 4 years, resulting from the constitutional requirement for elections to be held 46 to 48 months after the assembly of the Federal Diet.[1] The exact date of the election is chosen by the President[2] and must be a Sunday or public holiday. Should the Bundestag be dismissed before the four year period has ended, elections must be held within 60 days.

German nationals over the age of 18 are eligible to vote, including most Germans resident outside Germany, and eligibility for candidacy is essentially the same as eligibility to vote.

Latest election results

e • d  Summary of the 27 September 2009 German Bundestag election results
Parties Constituency Party list Total seats
Votes  % +/− Seats +/− Votes  % +/− Seats +/− Seats +/−  %
Christian Democratic Union[A] 13,852,743 32.0 -0.6 173 +67 11,824,794 27.3 −0.5 21 −53 194 +14 31.2
Christian Social Union of Bavaria[A] 3,190,950 7.4 −0.9 45 +1 2,830,210 6.5 −0.9 0 −2 45 −1 7.2
Social Democratic Party 12,077,437 27.9 −10.5 64 −81 9,988,843 23.0 −11.2 82 +5 146 −76 23.5
Free Democratic Party 4,075,115 9.4 +4.7 0 6,313,023 14.6 +4.8 93 +32 93 +32 15.0
The Left 4,790,007 11.1 +3.1 16 +13 5,153,884 11.9 +3.2 60 +9 76 +22 12.2
Alliance '90/The Greens 3,974,803 9.2 +3.8 1 4,641,197 10.7 +2.6 67 +17 68 +17 10.9
Pirate Party 46,750 0.1 +0.1 0 845,904 2.0 +2.0 0 0
National Democratic Party 768,175 1.8 −0.0 0 635,437 1.5 −0.1 0 0
Human Environment Animal Welfare 16,881 0.0 +0.0 0 230,572 0.5 +0.3 0 0
The Republicans 30,045 0.1 −0.0 0 193,473 0.4 −0.1 0 0
Ecological Democratic Party 105,276 0.2 +0.2 0 132,395 0.3 +0.3 0 0
Family Party 17,837 0.0 −0.1 0 120,716 0.3 −0.1 0 0
Others 289,798 0.7 +0.2 0 447,094 1.0 −0.2 0 0
Totals 43,235,817 100.0 299 43,357,542 100 323 +8 622 +8

A The Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union of Bavaria call themselves sister parties. They do not compete against each other in the same geographical regions and they form one group within the Bundestag.

In July 2008, the constitutional court decided, that the practice of calculating the relative proportion in the mixed member proportional representation system — given by the 2nd vote — is inaccurate. The first vote is directly voting for a candidate. The second vote depicts the proportion the voted party gets in parliament. The recent verdict suggests more direct democracy. It means that it is not relevant anymore if a party has a certain number of candidates depicted by the first vote and gets the proportion of seats in parliament on top by the 2nd vote. It meant before that the absolute number of mandates in parliament is changed with more overhang seats. This practice will be reduced in the future. The second vote will be more important thus.[3]

List of Federal election results

German paliamentary election results
Voter turnout in German federal elections (percentage)

State elections in the Federal Republic of Germany

State elections are conducted under various rules set by the Länder. In general they are conducted according to some form of party list proportional repesentation, either the same as the federal system or some simplified version. The election period is generally four to five years, and the dates of elections vary from state to state.

Baden-Württemberg state election results

Bavaria state election results

Berlin state election results

Brandenburg state election results

Bremen state election results

Hamburg state election results

Hesse state election results

Lower Saxony state election results

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election results

North Rhine-Westphalia state election results

Rhineland-Palatinate state election results

Saarland state election results

Saxony state election results

Saxony-Anhalt state election results

Schleswig-Holstein state election results

Thuringia state election results

German Democratic Republic

See: Politics of East Germany

In the German Democratic Republic, elections between multiple parties to the Volkskammer took place, but were effectively controlled by the SED/state hierarchy, even if multiple parties existed pro forma. On 18 March 1990, the only free elections in the history of the GDR were held, producing a government whose major mandate was to negotiate an end to itself and its state.

German elections 1871 to 1945

From the unification of Germany under Emperor Wilhelm I in 1871 to the Nazi accession to power and the abolition of elections following the Enabling Act of 1933, elections were held to the German Reichstag or "Imperial Assembly", which supplanted its namesake, the Reichstag of the Norddeutscher Bund. The Reichstag could be dissolved by the Kaiser, and after the abdication of Wilhelm II in 1918 by the Reichspräsident. With the Weimar constitution of 1919, the voting system changed from single-member constituencies to proportional representation. Election age was reduced to 20 years. Women's suffrage had already been established by a new electoral law in 1918, following the November revolution of that year.

Elections in Nazi Germany

See: Nazi Germany

The 9th German election in 1933 was the last free election. In the Third Reich, several elections were conducted, leading to unanimous support of the NSDAP and their politicians, because other parties were dissolved or banned.

Weimar Republic elections

See: Weimar Republic

Imperial elections

See: German Empire

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ "Art. 39 Grundgesetz". Grundgesetz Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Bundesministerium der Justiz. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2009-06-05.  
  2. ^ "§16 Bundeswahlgesetz". Bundeswahlgesetz Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Bundesministerium der Justiz. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2009-06-05.  
  3. ^ (in German) ( – Scholar search) Karlsruhe kippt Bundestagswahlrecht, Vodafone News, 2008-07-03,, retrieved 2009-03-25  

External links


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