Several issues dominated the campaign, with the opposition CDU/CSU attacking the government's performance on the economy which fell back into recession due to the Telecoms crash and the introduction of the euro. As well as campaigning on family values issues and against taxes (particularly on fuel). The government, on the other hand, was helped by broad support for its opposition to the Iraq War, continued media attention on the CDU fudning scandal and by Gerhard Schröder's personal popularity relative to the opposition's candidate for Chancellor, CSU leader Edmund Stoiber.
Early in the campaign, Guido Westerwelle, leader of the Free Democrats, declared himself a "Chancellor Candidate," usually a title reserved for the main election leaders of the SPD and CDU/CSU. This was met with general derision.
Although the opposition gained seats, and the result was in doubt for most of the election night, the governing coalition retained a narrow majority. In particular, the SPD was able to partially offset declines in their vote share in the West with an increase in the East, with the PDS falling below both the 5% threshold and the 3-seat threshold, either of which is required to qualify a party for top-up seats. Consequently the PDS held only two directly-elected seats.
e • dSummary of the 22 September 2002 German Bundestagelection results