Elections in Germany
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Politics and government of
The following information deals with elections in Germany, including elections to the Bundestag (which is sometimes considered to be the lower house of the federal parliament), the Landtags of the various states, and local elections.
Several articles in several parts of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany govern elections and establish constitutional requirements such as the secret ballot, and requirement that all elections be conducted in a free and fair manner. The Basic Law also requires that the federal legislature enact detailed federal laws to govern elections; electoral law(s). One such article is Article 38 which is regarding the election of deputies in the federal Bundestag. Article 38.2 of the Basic Law establishes universal suffrage: "Any person who has attained the age of eighteen shall be entitled to vote; any person who has attained the age of majority may be elected."
German elections since 1949
Federal Republic of Germany
Germany elects on federal level a legislature. The parliament has one chamber—the Bundestag (or Federal Diet); the Bundesrat, or Federal Council, represents the regions and is not considered a chamber as its members are not elected. The Bundestag nominally hartus 598 members, elected for a four-year term. Half, 299 members, are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting, while a further 299 members are allocated from statewide party lists to achieve a proportional distribution in the legislature, conducted according to a form of proportional representation called the Mixed member proportional representation system (MMP). 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 most recent election there were 24 overhang seats, giving a total of 622 seats. This is caused by larger parties winning additional single-member constituencies above the totals determined by their proportional party vote.
Germany has a multi-party system with two strong parties and some other third parties also represented in the Bundestag. Since 1990, five parties (counting the CDU and CSU as one) have been represented in the Bundestag.
Elections are conducted approximately every four years, resulting from the constitutional requirement for elections to be held 46 to 48 months after the assembly of the Bundestag. The exact date of the election is chosen by the President 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 100 days.
German nationals over the age of 18 who have resided in Germany for at least three months are eligible to vote. Eligibility for candidacy is essentially the same.
Latest election results
Current status of election law
2009 Court Decision
In July 2008, the Constitutional Court decided that the allocation system used to allocate seats under the MMP system was unconstitutional as it occasionally resulted in negative vote weights for voters in states where their party had already achieved an overhang.
The 2009 election was allowed to proceed under the previous system, as the court allowed the government three years to amend the law.
As a result, in 2011, Angela Merkel's government changed the national D'hondt method calculation to a fully regionalized Saint-Lague method allocation. This eliminated the negative vote weight. Additionally, it created a new class of augmentation seats, whereby any wasted votes in a state for parties crossing the threshold (based on a hare quota of 1/598 of the seats) would be provided bonus seats. This was done to soften the effect on parties with minimal support in small states.
This proposal was again rejected by the German constitutional court due to the fact that it continued to allow significant benefits to parties gaining overhang seats.  As a result, Germany is currently technically without an electoral law.
List of federal election results
- Future proposed elections: German federal election, 2013
- 17th German federal election, 2009
- 16th German federal election, 2005
- 15th German federal election, 2002
- 14th German federal election, 1998
- 13th German federal election, 1994
- 12th German federal election, 1990 (1st of the re-united Germany)
- 11th German federal election, 1987
- 10th German federal election, 1983
- 9th German federal election, 1980
- 8th German federal election, 1976
- 7th German federal election, 1972
- 6th German federal election, 1969
- 5th German federal election, 1965
- 4th German federal election, 1961
- 3rd German federal election, 1957
- 2nd German federal election, 1953
- 1st German federal election, 1949
State elections in the Federal Republic of Germany
State elections are conducted under various rules set by the Länder (states). In general they are conducted according to some form of party-list proportional representation, 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
- Baden-Württemberg state election, 2011
- Baden-Württemberg state election, 2006
- Baden-Württemberg state election, 2001
Bavaria state election results
Berlin state election results
Brandenburg state election results
Bremen state election results
Hamburg state election results
Hesse state election results
- Hesse state election, 2009
- Hesse state election, 2008
- Hesse state election, 2003
- Hesse state election, 1999
Lower Saxony state election results
- Lower Saxony state election, 2013
- Lower Saxony state election, 2008
- Lower Saxony state election, 2003
- Lower Saxony state election, 1998
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election results
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election, 2011
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election, 2006
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election, 2002
North Rhine-Westphalia state election results
- North Rhine-Westphalia state election, 2012
- North Rhine-Westphalia state election, 2010
- North Rhine-Westphalia state election, 2005
- North Rhine-Westphalia state election, 2000
Rhineland-Palatinate state election results
- Rhineland-Palatinate state election, 2011
- Rhineland-Palatinate state election, 2006
- Rhineland-Palatinate state election, 2001
Saarland state election results
- Saarland state election, 2012
- Saarland state election, 2009
- Saarland state election, 2004
- Saarland state election, 1999
Saxony state election results
Saxony-Anhalt state election results
- Saxony-Anhalt state election, 2011
- Saxony-Anhalt state election, 2006
- Saxony-Anhalt state election, 2002
Schleswig-Holstein state election results
- Schleswig-Holstein state election, 2012
- Schleswig-Holstein state election, 2009
- Schleswig-Holstein state election, 2005
- Schleswig-Holstein state election, 2000
Thuringia state election results
German Democratic Republic
In the German Democratic Republic, elections to the Volkskammer were effectively controlled by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and state hierarchy, even though multiple parties existed pro forma. The 18 March 1990 election were the first free ones held in the GDR, 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 or, after the abdication of Wilhelm II in 1918, the Reichspräsident. With the Weimar Republic's Constitution of 1919, the voting system changed from single-member constituencies to proportional representation. The election age was reduced to 20 years of age. Women's suffrage had already been established by a new electoral law in 1918 following the November Revolution of that year.
The German election in 1933 was the ninth and last (mostly) free election. In the Third Reich, several elections were conducted leading to unanimous support of the Nazi Party because other parties were dissolved or banned.
- 1st German election, 1871
- 2nd German election, 1874
- 3rd German election, 1877
- 4th German election, 1878
- 5th German election, 1881
- 6th German election, 1884
- 7th German election, 1887
- 8th German election, 1890
- 9th German election, 1893
- 10th German election, 1898
- 11th German election, 1903
- 12th German election, 1907
- 13th German election, 1912
Weimar Republic elections
- 1st German election, 1919
- 2nd German election, 1920
- 3rd German election, May 1924
- 4th German election, December 1924
- 5th German election, 1928
- 6th German election, 1930
- 7th German election, July 1932
- 8th German election, November 1932
- 9th German election, March 1933
Elections in Nazi Germany (formally under the Weimar Constitution)
- Kitschelt, Herbert (October 2003). "Political-economic context and partisan strategies in the German federal elections, 1990-2002". West European Politics 26 (4): 125–152. doi:10.1080/01402380312331280718.
- Manow, Philip (January 2007). "Electoral rules and legislative turnover: Evidence from Germany's mixed electoral system". West European Politics 30 (1): 195–207. doi:10.1080/01402380601019852.
- Adam Carr's Election Archive
- Parties and elections
- Opinion poll tracker with data, graph and daily average (in English)
- Latest polling results for state and federal elections (in German)
- Official Site of "Bundeswahlleiter"
- Collection of German Election Posters of Weimar Republic and Federal Republic
- NSD: European Election Database – Germany publishes regional level election data; allows for comparisons of election results, 1990–2009