Coordinates: 52°31′07″N 13°22′34″E / 52.51861°N 13.37611°E / 52.51861; 13.37611


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German Bundestag

Deutscher Bundestag
20th Bundestag
Coat of arms or logo
Established7 September 1949; 74 years ago (1949-09-07)
Preceded byhistorically: Reichstag (Nazi Germany, 1933–1945)
de jure: Reichstag (Weimar Republic, 1919–1933)
Bärbel Bas, SPD
since 26 October 2021
Aydan Özoğuz, SPD
since 26 October 2021
Yvonne Magwas, CDU/CSU
since 26 October 2021
Wolfgang Kubicki, FDP
since 24 October 2017
Petra Pau, The Left
since 7 April 2006
Vacant, AfD[a]
Peter Ramsauer, CDU/CSU
since 26 December 2023
Olaf Scholz, SPD
since 8 December 2021
Friedrich Merz, CDU/CSU
since 15 February 2022
Political groups
Government (415)
  SPD (207)
  Greens (117)
  FDP (91)

Opposition (319)

  CDU/CSU (197)
  AfD (77)
  The Left (28)
  BSW (10)
  Non-attached (7)
Mixed-member proportional representation (MMP)
with leveling seats
Last election
26 September 2021
Next election
On or before 26 October 2025
Meeting place
Reichstag building
Mitte, Berlin, Germany
Website Edit this at Wikidata
Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag and Mediation Committee (English)

The Bundestag (German pronunciation: [ˈbʊndəstaːk] , "Federal Diet") is the German federal parliament and the lower of two federal chambers, opposed to the upper chamber, the Bundesrat. It is the only federal representative body that is directly elected by the German people, comparable to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom or the United States House of Representatives. The Bundestag was established by Title III[c] of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Grundgesetz, pronounced [ˈɡʁʊntɡəˌzɛt͡s] ) in 1949 as one of the legislative bodies of Germany and thus it is the historical successor to the earlier Reichstag.

The members of the Bundestag are representatives of the German people as a whole, are not bound by any orders or instructions and are only accountable to their electorate and their conscience.[d] The minimum legal number of members of the Bundestag (German: Mitglieder des Bundestages) is 598;[e] however, due to the system of overhang and leveling seats the current 20th Bundestag has a total of 735 members, making it the largest Bundestag to date and the largest freely elected national parliamentary chamber in the world.[3] The members of the Bundestag refer to their workplace as Hohes Haus, august house.

The Bundestag is elected every four years by German citizens[f] aged 18 and older.[g] Elections use a mixed-member proportional representation system which combines first-past-the-post elected seats with a proportional party list to ensure its composition mirrors the national popular vote. Germany's parliament can only be dissolved by the President of Germany, and only after the chancellor failed to maintain the confidence of the parliament in a vote called for either by him or a majority of the house.

The Bundestag has several functions, among which a few are shared with the Bundesrat. It is the chief legislative body on the federal level, producing the federal government and its presiding chancellor. The individual states (Bundesländer) of Germany participate in the legislative process through the Bundesrat, a separate assembly sharing several privileges with the house.[4] The Bundestag elects and oversees the chancellor and their ministers, to each of which the parliament constituted mirroring committees for oversight (Ausschüsse). Setting the government budget is the parliament's primary privilege, for which to execute it assembles the largest and most important committee of the house. Opposed to most debates in the Bundestag focussing on a specific topic, budget bills from the committee are heavily debated in the style of a review and general criticism on the government for the past year (Generaldebatte). The Bundestag also exclusively mandates about deployment, dispatch and assignments of the Bundeswehr, Germany's military. The commander-in-chief, which is the federal minister of defence, is obliged to and acting on behalf of the parliament (Parlamentsarmee).

Since 1999, the Bundestag has met in the Reichstag building in Berlin.[5] The Bundestag also operates in multiple new government buildings in Berlin around the neo-renaissance house and has its own police force (the Bundestagspolizei), directly subordinated to the Bundestag Presidency. Since 2021, Bärbel Bas of the SPD is the president of the Bundestag, with as much as five vice presidents, one from each faction. The presidents and vice presidents of the parliament are elected by the members of the parliament from among their midst. Usually each faction's proposed candidate gets a simple affirmation for the office by a vote of the whole house, no matter whether the faction is governing or in opposition and regularly without distinction of person. The radical-right AfD is the first and only faction in the history of reunited Germany not being able to take seat in the Bundestag presidency, failing to do so in 17 votes of the house.[6] The denial to affirm a vice president from the AfD is seen as a vote of no confidence and distrust of the house in the only faction observed by Germany's domestic intelligence agency.[7]

As the President of Germany is the head of state, and the Bundestag would produce, oversee and control the government, the president of the Bundestag is the second-highest ranking administrator of Germany. The chancellor, albeit head of government, is only the third-highest ranking administrator and has to petition both the presidents he is subordinated to for certain procedures.

The 20th German Bundestag is the most visited parliament in the world, as well as the largest elected legislative body in the world.[8]


The German Unity Flag is a national memorial to German reunification that was raised on 3 October 1990; it waves in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin, seat of the Bundestag.

The first body to be called Bundestag was in the German Confederation (called Deutscher Bund in German). It convened in Frankfurt am Main from 1816 to 1866. In English it is referred to as Federal Convention.

With the dissolution of the German Confederation in 1866 and the founding of the German Empire (German Reich) in 1871, the Reichstag was established as the German parliament in Berlin, which was the capital of the then Kingdom of Prussia (the largest and most influential state in both the Confederation and the empire). Two decades later, the current parliament building was erected. The Reichstag delegates were elected by direct and equal male suffrage (and not the three-class electoral system prevailing in Prussia until 1918). The Reichstag did not participate in the appointment of the chancellor until the parliamentary reforms of October 1918. After the Revolution of November 1918 and the establishment of the Weimar Constitution, women were given the right to vote for (and serve in) the Reichstag, and the parliament could use the no-confidence vote to force the chancellor or any cabinet member to resign. In 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor and through the Reichstag Fire Decree, the Enabling Act of 1933 and the death of President Paul von Hindenburg in 1934, gained unlimited power. After this, the Reichstag met only rarely, usually at the Kroll Opera House to unanimously rubber-stamp the decisions of the government. It last convened on 26 April 1942.

With the new constitution of 1949, the Bundestag was established as the new West German parliament. Because West Berlin was not officially under the jurisdiction of the constitution, a legacy of the Cold War, the Bundestag met in Bonn in several different buildings, including (provisionally) a former waterworks facility. In addition, owing to the city's legal status, citizens of West Berlin were unable to vote in elections to the Bundestag, and were instead represented by 22 non-voting delegates[9] chosen by the House of Representatives, the city's legislature.[10]

The Bundeshaus in Bonn is the former parliament building of Germany. The sessions of the German Bundestag were held there from 1949 until its move to Berlin in 1999. Today it houses the International Congress Centre Bundeshaus Bonn and in the northern areas the branch office of the Bundesrat ("Federal Council"), which represents the Länder – the federated states. The southern areas became part of German offices for the United Nations in 2008.[11]

The former Reichstag building housed a history exhibition (Fragen an die deutsche Geschichte) and served occasionally as a conference center. The Reichstag building was also occasionally used as a venue for sittings of the Bundestag and its committees and the Federal Convention, the body which elects the German federal president. However, the Soviets harshly protested against the use of the Reichstag building by institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany and tried to disturb the sittings by flying supersonic jets close to the building.[citation needed]

Since 19 April 1999, the German parliament has again assembled in Berlin in its original Reichstag building, which was built in 1888 based on the plans of German architect Paul Wallot and underwent a significant renovation under the lead of British architect Lord Norman Foster. Parliamentary committees and subcommittees, public hearings and parliamentary group meetings take place in three auxiliary buildings, which surround the Reichstag building: the Jakob-Kaiser-Haus, Paul-Löbe-Haus and Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus.[citation needed]

In 2005, a small aircraft crashed close to the German Parliament. It was then decided to ban private air traffic over Central Berlin.[12]



Together with the Bundesrat, the Bundestag is the legislative branch of the German political system.

Although most legislation is initiated by the executive branch, the Bundestag considers the legislative function its most important responsibility, concentrating much of its energy on assessing and amending the government's legislative program. The committees (see below) play a prominent role in this process. Plenary sessions provide a forum for members to engage in public debate on legislative issues before them, but they tend to be well attended only when significant legislation is being considered.

The Bundestag members are the only federal officials directly elected by the public; the Bundestag in turn elects the chancellor and, in addition, exercises oversight of the executive branch on issues of both substantive policy and routine administration. This check on executive power can be employed through binding legislation, public debates on government policy, investigations, and direct questioning of the chancellor or cabinet officials. For example, the Bundestag can conduct a question hour (Fragestunde), in which a government representative responds to a written question previously submitted by a member. Members can ask related questions during the question hour. The questions can concern anything from a major policy issue to a specific constituent's problem. Use of the question hour has increased markedly over the past forty years, with more than 20,000 questions being posed during the 1987–90 term. The opposition parties actively exercise their parliamentary right to scrutinize government actions.

Constituent services also take place via the Petition Committee. In 2004, the Petition Committee received over 18,000 complaints from citizens and was able to negotiate a mutually satisfactory solution to more than half of them. In 2005, as a pilot of the potential of internet petitions, a version of e-petitioner was produced for the Bundestag. This was a collaborative project involving The Scottish Parliament, International Teledemocracy Centre and the Bundestag 'Online Services Department'. The system was formally launched on 1 September 2005, and in 2008 the Bundestag moved to a new system based on its evaluation.[13]

Electoral term

The Bundestag within the political system of Germany

The Bundestag is elected for four years, and new elections must be held between 46 and 48 months after the beginning of its electoral term, unless the Bundestag is dissolved prematurely. Its term ends when the next Bundestag convenes, which must occur within 30 days of the election.[14] Prior to 1976, there could be a period where one Bundestag had been dissolved and the next Bundestag could not be convened; during this period, the rights of the Bundestag were exercised by a so-called "Permanent Committee".[15]



Germany uses the mixed-member proportional representation system, a system of proportional representation combined with elements of first-past-the-post voting. The Bundestag has 598 nominal members, elected for a four-year term; these seats are distributed between the sixteen German states in proportion to the states' population eligible to vote.[16]

Every elector has two votes: a constituency vote (first vote) and a party list vote (second vote). Based solely on the first votes, 299 members are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting. The second votes are used to produce a proportional number of seats for parties, first in the states, and then on the federal level. Seats are allocated using the Sainte-Laguë method. If a party wins fewer constituency seats in a state than its second votes would entitle it to, it receives additional seats from the relevant state list. Parties can file lists in every single state under certain conditions – for example, a fixed number of supporting signatures. Parties can receive second votes only in those states in which they have filed a state list.[16]

If a party, by winning single-member constituencies in one state, receives more seats than it would be entitled to according to its second vote share in that state (so-called overhang seats), the other parties receive compensation seats. Owing to this provision, the Bundestag usually has more than 598 members. The 20th and current Bundestag, for example, has 735 seats: 598 regular seats and 137 overhang and compensation seats. Overhang seats are calculated at the state level, so many more seats are added to balance this out among the different states, adding more seats than would be needed to compensate for overhang at the national level in order to avoid negative vote weight.[16]

To qualify for seats based on the party-list vote share, a party must either win three single-member constituencies via first votes (basic mandate clause) or exceed a threshold of 5% of the second votes nationwide. If a party only wins one or two single-member constituencies and fails to get at least 5% of the second votes, it keeps the single-member seat(s), but other parties that accomplish at least one of the two threshold conditions receive compensation seats.[16] In the most recent example of this, during the 2002 election, the PDS won only 4.0% of the second votes nationwide, but won two constituencies in the state of Berlin.[17] The same applies if an independent candidate wins a single-member constituency,[16] which has not happened since the 1949 election.[17]

If a voter cast a first vote for a successful independent candidate or a successful candidate whose party failed to qualify for proportional representation, their second vote does not count toward proportional representation. However, it does count toward whether the elected party exceeds the 5% threshold.[16]

Parties representing recognized national minorities (currently Danes, Frisians, Sorbs, and Romani people) are exempt from both the 5% threshold and the basic mandate clause, but normally only run in state elections.[16] The only party that has been able to benefit from this provision so far on the federal level is the South Schleswig Voters' Association, which represents the minorities of Danes and Frisians in Schleswig-Holstein and managed to win a seat in 1949 and 2021.[18]

Bundestag ballot from the 2005 election in the Würzburg district. The column for the constituency vote (with the name, occupation, and address of each candidate) is on the left in black print; the column for the party list vote (showing top five list candidates in the state) is on the right in blue print.

Latest election result


Regular election of 2021


The latest federal election was held on Sunday, 26 September 2021, to elect the members of the 20th Bundestag.

Party Constituencies Party list Total
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 12,234,690 26.4 121 11,955,434 25.7 85 206 +53
Christian Democratic Union (CDU)[h] 10,451,524 22.5 98 8,775,471 18.9 54 152 −48
Alliance 90/The Greens (GRÜNE) 6,469,081 14.0 16 6,852,206 14.8 102 118 +51
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 4,042,951 8.7 0 5,319,952 11.5 92 92 +12
Alternative for Germany (AfD) 4,695,611 10.1 16 4,803,902 10.3 67 83 −11
Christian Social Union (CSU)[h] 2,788,048 6.0 45 2,402,827 5.2 0 45 −1
The Left (DIE LINKE) 2,307,536 5.0 3 2,270,906 4.9 36 39 −30
Free Voters (FREIE WÄHLER) 1,334,739 2.9 0 1,127,784 2.4 0 0 0
Human Environment Animal Protection 163,201 0.4 0 675,353 1.5 0 0 0
Grassroots Democratic Party (dieBasis) 735,451 1.6 0 630,153 1.4 0 0 New
Die PARTEI 543,145 1.2 0 461,570 1.0 0 0 0
Team Todenhöfer 5,700 0.0 0 214,535 0.5 0 0 New
Pirate Party Germany (PIRATEN) 60,839 0.1 0 169,923 0.4 0 0 0
Volt Germany (Volt) 78,339 0.2 0 165,474 0.4 0 0 New
Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP) 152,792 0.3 0 112,314 0.2 0 0 0
National Democratic Party (NPD) 1,090 0.0 0 64,574 0.1 0 0 0
South Schleswig Voters' Association (SSW) 35,027 0.1 0 55,578 0.1 1[i] 1 +1
Party for Health Research 2,842 0.0 0 49,349 0.1 0 0 0
The Humanists (Die Humanisten) 12,730 0.0 0 47,711 0.1 0 0 0
Alliance C – Christians for Germany 6,222 0.0 0 39,868 0.1 0 0 0
Bavaria Party (BP) 36,748 0.1 0 32,790 0.1 0 0 0
V-Partei³ 10,644 0.0 0 31,884 0.1 0 0 0
Independents for Citizen-oriented Democracy 13,421 0.0 0 22,736 0.0 0 0 0
The Greys (Die Grauen) 2,368 0.0 0 19,443 0.0 0 0 0
The Urbans. A HipHop Party (du.) 1,912 0.0 0 17,811 0.0 0 0 0
Marxist–Leninist Party (MLPD) 22,534 0.0 0 17,799 0.0 0 0 0
German Communist Party (DKP) 5,446 0.0 0 14,925 0.0 0 0 0
Animal Protection Alliance (Tierschutzallianz) 7,371 0.0 0 13,672 0.0 0 0 0
European Party Love (LIEBE) 873 0.0 0 12,967 0.0 0 0 New
Liberal Conservative Reformers (LKR) 10,767 0.0 0 11,159 0.0 0 0 New
Lobbyists for Children (LfK) 9,189 0.0 0 0 New
The III. Path (III. Weg) 515 0.0 0 7,832 0.0 0 0 New
Garden Party (MG) 2,095 0.0 0 7,611 0.0 0 0 0
Citizens' Movement (BÜRGERBEWEGUNG) 1,556 0.0 0 7,491 0.0 0 0 New
Democracy in Motion (DiB) 2,609 0.0 0 7,184 0.0 0 0 0
Human World (MENSCHLICHE WELT) 656 0.0 0 3,786 0.0 0 0 0
The Pinks/Alliance 21 (BÜNDNIS21) 377 0.0 0 3,488 0.0 0 0 New
Party of Progress (PdF) 3,228 0.0 0 0 New
Socialist Equality Party (SGP) 1,417 0.0 0 0 0
Civil Rights Movement Solidarity (BüSo) 811 0.0 0 727 0.0 0 0 0
Climate List Baden-Württemberg (KlimalisteBW) 3,967 0.0 0 0 New
Family Party of Germany (FAMILIE) 1,817 0.0 0 0 0
Democracy by Referendum (Volksabstimmung) 1,086 0.0 0 0 0
Grey Panthers (Graue Panther) 961 0.0 0 0 New
Thuringian Homeland Party (THP) 549 0.0 0 0 New
The Others (sonstige) 256 0.0 0 0 New
Bergpartei, die "ÜberPartei" (B*) 222 0.0 0 0 0
Independents and voter groups 110,894 0.2 0 0 0
Valid votes 46,362,013 98.9 46,442,023 99.1
Invalid/blank votes 492,495 1.1 412,485 0.9
Total votes 46,854,508 100.0 299 46,854,508 100.0 437 736 +27
Registered voters/turnout 61,181,072 76.6 61,181,072 76.6
Source: Bundeswahlleiter

Repeat election of 2024


In several districts of Berlin the 2021 election was repeated due to irregularities. This changed the number of additional mandates of the Bundestag from 138 to 137, resulting in the FDP losing a seat.[19]

List of Bundestag by session

Seat distribution in the German Bundestag (at the beginning of each session)
Session Election Seats CDU/CSU SPD FDP Greens[j] The Left[k] AfD Others
1st 1949 402 139 131 52 –   – 80[l]
2nd 1953 487 243 151 48 –   – 45[m]
3rd 1957 497 270 169 41 17[n]
4th 1961 499 242 190 67
5th 1965 496 245 202 49
6th 1969 496 242 224 30
7th 1972 496 225 230 41
8th 1976 496 243 214 39
9th 1980 497 226 218 53
10th 1983 498 244 193 34 27
11th 1987 497 223 186 46 42
12th 1990 662 319 239 79 8 17
13th 1994 672 294 252 47 49 30
14th 1998 669 245 298 43 47 36
15th 2002 603 248 251 47 55 2
16th 2005 614 226 222 61 51 54
17th 2009 622 239 146 93 68 76
18th 2013 630 311 192 63 64
19th 2017 709 246 153 80 67 69 94
20th 2021 736(735)[o] 197 206 92(91) 118 39 83 1[p]
  Parties in the ruling coalition
Seat distribution in the Bundestag from 1949 to 2021

Parties that were only present between 1949 and 1957


Timeline of the political parties who got elected into the Bundestag
1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
Greens Alliance 90/Greens
Greens/Alliance 90
WASG The Left

Presidents since 1949

Presidents of the Bundestag
No. Name Party Beginning of term End of term Length of term
1 Erich Köhler (1892–1958) CDU 7 September 1949 18 October 1950[q] 1 year, 41 days
2 Hermann Ehlers (1904–1954) CDU 19 October 1950 29 October 1954[r] 4 years, 10 days
3 Eugen Gerstenmaier (1906–1986) CDU 16 November 1954 31 January 1969[s] 14 years, 76 days
4 Kai-Uwe von Hassel (1913–1997) CDU 5 February 1969 13 December 1972 3 years, 312 days
5 Annemarie Renger[t] (1919–2008) SPD 13 December 1972 14 December 1976 4 years, 1 day
6 Karl Carstens (1914–1992) CDU 14 December 1976 31 May 1979[u] 2 years, 168 days
7 Richard Stücklen (1916–2002) CSU 31 May 1979 29 March 1983 3 years, 363 days
8 Rainer Barzel (1924–2006) CDU 29 March 1983 25 October 1984[s] 1 year, 210 days
9 Philipp Jenninger (1932–2018) CDU 5 November 1984 11 November 1988[s] 4 years, 6 days
10 Rita Süssmuth (b. 1937) CDU 25 November 1988 26 October 1998 9 years, 335 days
11 Wolfgang Thierse (b. 1943) SPD 26 October 1998 18 October 2005 6 years, 357 days
12 Norbert Lammert (b. 1948) CDU 18 October 2005 24 October 2017 12 years, 6 days
13 Wolfgang Schäuble (1942–2023) CDU 24 October 2017 26 October 2021 4 years, 2 days
14 Bärbel Bas (b. 1968) SPD 26 October 2021 present 2 years, 265 days




The Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus, one of the official buildings of the complex, housing the parliamentary library

Parliamentary groups


The most important organisational structures within the Bundestag are parliamentary groups (Fraktionen; sing. Fraktion). A parliamentary group must consist of at least 5% of all members of parliament. Members of parliament from different parties may only join in a group if those parties did not run against each other in any German state during the election. Normally, all parties that surpassed the 5%-threshold build a parliamentary group. The CDU and CSU have always formed a single united Fraktion (CDU/CSU), which is possible, as the CSU only runs in the state of Bavaria and the CDU only runs in the other 15 states. The size of a party's Fraktion determines the extent of its representation on committees, the time slots allotted for speaking, the number of committee chairs it can hold, and its representation in executive bodies of the Bundestag. The Fraktionen, not the members, receive the bulk of government funding for legislative and administrative activities.

The leadership of each Fraktion consists of a parliamentary party leader, several deputy leaders, and an executive committee. The leadership's major responsibilities are to represent the Fraktion, enforce party discipline and orchestrate the party's parliamentary activities. The members of each Fraktion are distributed among working groups focused on specific policy-related topics such as social policy, economics, and foreign policy. The Fraktion meets every Tuesday afternoon in the weeks in which the Bundestag is in session to consider legislation before the Bundestag and formulate the party's position on it.

Parties that do not hold 5% of the Bundestag-seats may be granted the status of a Gruppe (literally "group", but a different status from Fraktion) in the Bundestag; this is decided case by case, as the rules of procedure do not state a fixed number of seats for this. Most recently, this applied to the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) from 1990 to 1998. This status entails some privileges which are in general less than those of a Fraktion.

Executive bodies


The Bundestag's executive bodies include the Council of Elders and the Presidium. The council consists of the Bundestag leadership, together with the most senior representatives of each Fraktion, with the number of these representatives tied to the strength of the Parliamentary groups in the chamber. The council is the coordination hub, determining the daily legislative agenda and assigning committee chairpersons based on Parliamentary group representation. The council also serves as an important forum for interparty negotiations on specific legislation and procedural issues. The Presidium is responsible for the routine administration of the Bundestag, including its clerical and research activities. It consists of the chamber's president (usually elected from the largest Fraktion) and vice presidents (one from each Fraktion).



Most of the legislative work in the Bundestag is the product of standing committees, which exist largely unchanged throughout one legislative period. The number of committees approximates the number of federal ministries, and the titles of each are roughly similar (e.g., defense, agriculture, and labor). There are, as of the current nineteenth Bundestag, 24 standing committees. The distribution of committee chairs and the membership of each committee reflect the relative strength of the various Parliamentary groups in the chamber. In the current nineteenth Bundestag, the CDU/CSU chaired ten committees, the SPD five, the AfD and the FDP three each, The Left and the Greens two each. Members of the opposition party can chair a significant number of standing committees (e.g. the budget committee is by tradition chaired by the biggest opposition party). These committees have either a small staff or no staff at all.



The members of Bundestag and the presidium are supported by the Bundestag Administration. It is headed by the Director, that reports to the President of the Bundestag. The Bundestag Administrations four departments are Parliament Service, Research, Information / Documentation and Central Affairs. The Bundestag Administration employs around 3,000 employees.

Principle of discontinuation


Following the tradition of German diets, the Bundestag is subject to the principle of discontinuation, meaning that a newly elected Bundestag is legally regarded to be a body and entity completely different from the previous Bundestag. This leads to the result that any motion, application or action submitted to the previous Bundestag, e.g. a bill referred to the Bundestag by the Federal Government, is regarded as void by non-decision (German terminology: "Die Sache fällt der Diskontinuität anheim"). Thus any bill that has not been decided upon by the beginning of the new electoral period must be brought up by the government again if it aims to uphold the motion, this procedure in effect delaying the passage of the bill. Furthermore, any newly elected Bundestag will have to freshly decide on the rules of procedure (Geschäftsordnung), which is done by a formal decision of taking over such rules from the preceding Bundestag by reference. If the succeeding Bundestag convents with same or similar majorities like its predecessor, the parliament can decide to take over earlier initiatives of legislation in the same fashion to abbreviate the process, thus effectively breaking the principle of discontinuation by a pull. The discontinuation of the parliament is the reason why the four-year-long convent is numbered. The current convent is numbered the 20th Bundestag.

Any Bundestag (even after a snap election) is considered dissolved only once a newly elected Bundestag has actually gathered in order to constitute itself (Article 39 sec. 1 sentence 2 of the Basic Law), which has to happen within 30 days of its election (Article 39 sec. 2 of the Basic Law). Thus, it may happen (and has happened) that the old Bundestag gathers and makes decisions even after the election of a new Bundestag that has not gathered in order to constitute itself. For example, elections to the 16th Bundestag took place on 18 September 2005,[20] but the 15th Bundestag still convened after election day to make some decisions on German military engagement abroad,[21] and was entitled to do so, as the newly elected 16th Bundestag did not convene for the first time until 18 October 2005.[22]



Also following the tradition of German diets, the German Bundestag can legally convene on any location, domestic and foreign. The Reichstag plenary chamber is not determined by law as the location of the assembly, making it a facility of convenience. Bundestag's predecessor, the German Reichstag, convened in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin, after the Reichstag with its then wooden interior and walls burned down in the Reichstag fire.

After World War II, the Bundestag did not have own facilities to call home and had to convene in the Bundeshaus in Bonn together with the Bundesrat. 1953, the plenary chambers in the Bundeshaus had to be expanded and the Bundestag assembled in a radio building in Cologne. Until 1965, the Bundestag assembled in West Berlin for nine sessions. Seven sessions have been held in the Technical University of Berlin and two sessions in Berlin's Congress Hall in Tiergarten. The assemblies met severe protest from the communist side, the last session even interrupted by Soviet aircraft in supersonic low-altitute flight. 1971, the four occupying powers agree to not accept Bundestag assemblies in West Berlin anymore. The Bundestag assembled in the Old Waterworks Building in Bonn when the old plenary chamber had to get broken down, and in the new plenary chamber for only a few years after Germany's reunification.

The most distinctive assembly of the Bundestag outsite its regular chambers was on 4 October 1990, the day after German reunification. The Bundestag assembled inside the Reichstag building in Berlin for the first time after 57 years, and remote from its then-regular home in Bonn. Soon after this most memorable assembly, the Bundestag decided to move from Bonn back to Berlin by a law which sets only the city of Berlin to be the home of the Bundestag, not the building.

See also




Informational notes

  1. ^ The Rules of Procedure of the Bundestag (German: Geschäftsordnung) allocate one Vice-President to each political group (Fraktion). However, each candidate must still be elected by a parliamentary majority. Due to the candidates put forth by the AfD and their unanimous rejection by all other parties, no AfD candidate has reached such a majority.
  2. ^ Though the by-laws of the Bundestag do not mention such a position, the leader of the largest opposition Fraktion is called leader of the opposition by convention.
  3. ^ Articles 38 to 49
  4. ^ Article 38 Section 1 Grundgesetz
  5. ^ Paragraph 1 Section 1 of the Federal Elections Act (Bundeswahlgesetz)
  6. ^ German Citizens are defined in Article 116 Grundgesetz
  7. ^ Article 38 Section 2 Grundgesetz: 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.
  8. ^ a b The Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union of Bavaria do not compete against each other in the same states and form one group within the Bundestag.
  9. ^ As reflected by the electoral threshold in Germany, parties are usually required to meet a threshold of at least 5% of nationwide votes or win at least 3 constituency seats; the SSW got a seat as a representative of a recognised minority group (in their case, Danes and Frisians), an exception enshrined into German electoral law.
  10. ^ 1983 to 1994 The Greens and 1990 to 1994 Alliance 90, since 1994 Alliance 90/The Greens
  11. ^ 1990 to 2005 PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism), 2005 to 2007 The Left Party.PDS, since 2007 The Left
  12. ^ DP 17, BP 17, KPD 15, WAV 12, Centre Party 10, DKP-DRP 5, SSW 1, Independents 3
  13. ^ DP 15, GB/BHE 27, Centre Party 3
  14. ^ DP
  15. ^ The FDP lost a seat in the repeat of a small part of the election in 2024.
  16. ^ SSW
  17. ^ Resigned for medical reasons
  18. ^ Died in office
  19. ^ a b c Resigned for political reasons
  20. ^ First woman to hold the post
  21. ^ Elected President of Germany


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  2. ^ "Scheuer legt Mandat nieder: Warum sein Sitz nun leer bleibt". ZDFheute (in German). 2 April 2024. Retrieved 28 April 2024.
  3. ^ Mayer, Tilman (14 July 2021). "Das größte Parlament der Welt wächst und wächst: Politik bläht Bundestag immer weiter auf". FOCUS online. Archived from the original on 2 October 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  4. ^ Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland (PDF) (23 December 2014 ed.). Bonn: Parlamentarischer Rat. 8 May 1949. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Plenarsaal "Deutscher Bundestag" – The Path of Democracy". Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Schlappe für die AfD: Partei scheitert erneut bei Wahl um Bundestagsvizepräsidenten". (in German). 28 September 2023. Retrieved 20 June 2024.
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  8. ^ "German Bundestag - From the Parliamentary Council to the most visited parliament..." German Bundestag. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  9. ^ Germany at the Polls: The Bundestag Elections of the 1980s, Karl H. Cerny, Duke University Press, 1990, page 34
  10. ^ GERMANY (FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF) Date of Elections: 5 October 1980, International Parliamentary Union
  11. ^ "The United Nations in Germany". Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations in New York. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Small Plane Crashes Near German Parliament". Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  13. ^ Trenel, M. (2007). "Öffentliche Petitionen beim deutschen Bundestag - erste Ergebnisse der Evaluation des Modellversuchs = An Evaluation Study of Public Petitions at the German Parliament" (PDF). TAB Brief Nr 32. Deutscher Bundestag. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  14. ^ "Basic Law, Article 39: Electoral term – Convening". Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  15. ^ Schäfer, Friedrich (2013). Der Bundestag: Eine Darstellung seiner Aufgaben und seiner Arbeitsweise [The Bundestag: Its tasks and procedures] (in German). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. p. 28. ISBN 9783322836434.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Martin Fehndrich; Wilko Zicht; Matthias Cantow (22 September 2017). "Wahlsystem der Bundestagswahl". Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Ergebnisse früherer Bundestagswahlen" (PDF). Der Bundeswahlleiter. 18 August 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  18. ^ NDR (26 September 2021), Stefan Seidler (SSW): "Die ersten Zahlen sind sensationell" (in German), retrieved 27 September 2021
  19. ^ "Deutscher Bundestag - FDP-Fraktion verliert Sitz nach Wiederholungswahl in Berlin".
  20. ^ "Verkürzte Fristen zur vorgezogenen Neuwahl des Deutschen Bundestages" (Press release). Bundeswahlleiter. 25 July 2005. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2008.
  21. ^ "Stenographischer Bericht der 187. Sitzung des 15. Deutschen Bundestages am 28. September 2005" [Stenographic report of the 187th session of the 15th Deutscher Bundestag on 2005-09-28] (PDF). Deutscher Bundestag. 28 September 2005. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 20 October 2008.
  22. ^ "Stenographischer Bericht der 1. Sitzung des 16. Deutschen Bundestages am 18. Oktober 2005" [Stenographic report of the 1st session of the 16th Deutscher Bundestag on 2005-10-18] (PDF). Deutscher Bundestag. 18 October 2005. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 20 October 2008.

52°31′07″N 13°22′34″E / 52.51861°N 13.37611°E / 52.51861; 13.37611