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The 7th German federal election, 1972, was conducted on November 19, 1972, to elect members to the Bundestag (parliament) of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Issues and Campaign

The SPD/FDP-coalition had lost its majority because some SPD and FDP members of Bundestag had left their party and become members of the CDU/CSU to protest against Chancellor Willy Brandt's policy of Neue Ostpolitik. The CDU/CSU had tried to make their leader Rainer Barzel the new Chancellor, but Barzel did not receive enough votes. Later it was found out that two members of CDU/CSU faction had been paid by the GDR secret service.

In the campaign, the CDU/CSU attacked Brandt as being too lenient towards Eastern Europe and having the wrong ideas on the economy. SPD and FDP profited from the enormous personal popularity of the chancellor, who had received the Nobel Prize for Peace of 1971.


Willy Brandt and Walter Scheel declare victory at 10:20pm
Seat results -- SPD in red, FDP in yellow, CDU/CSU in black
Party Party List votes Vote percentage (change) Total Seats (change) Seat percentage
Social Democratic Party 17,175,169 45.8% +3.1% 230 +6 46.4%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 3,129,982 8.4% +2.6% 41 +11 8.3%
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 13,190,837 35.2% -1.4% 177 -16 35.7%
Christian Social Union (CSU) 3,615,183 9.6% +0.2% 48 -1 9.7%
All Others 348,579 0.9%   0   0.0%
Totals 37,459,750 100.0%   496 +0 100.0%


The coalition between the SPD and the FDP returned to government, with Willy Brandt as Chancellor. In 1974, Brandt would resign in a scandal over one of his aides, but the coalition would continue under Helmut Schmidt.


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