German federal election, 2017

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German federal election, 2017
← 2013 24 September 2017 2021 →

All 598+ seats in the Bundestag
300+ seats needed for a majority
  Angela Merkel (2016-09-16 BRATISLAVA SUMMIT).jpg 14-07-01-martin-schulz-strasbourg-RalfR-01.jpg 14-09-11-Sarah-Wagenknecht-RalfR-008.jpg
Leader Angela Merkel Martin Schulz Sahra Wagenknecht &
Dietmar Bartsch
Party CDU/CSU SPD Left
Leader since 10 April 2000 19 March 2017
Leader's seat Vorpommern-Rügen-Greifswald I North Rhine-Westphalia list &
Mecklenburg-West Pomerania list
Last election 311 seats, 41.5% 193 seats, 25.7% 64 seats, 8.6%
Current seats 309 193 64

  Landtagswahl Thüringen 2014 IMG 8043 LR7,5 by Stepro.jpg Christian Lindner-4116.jpg Alice Weidel 80-16 (cropped).png
Leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt
& Cem Özdemir
Christian Lindner Alice Weidel &
Alexander Gauland
Party Green FDP AfD
Leader since – (Göring-Eckardt)
15 November 2008 (Özdemir)
7 December 2013
Leader's seat Thuringia list &
Baden-Württemberg list
Last election 63 seats, 8.4% 0 seats, 4.8% 0 seats, 4.7%
Current seats 63 0 0

Incumbent Chancellor

Angela Merkel

Federal elections will be held in Germany on 24 September 2017 to elect the members of the Bundestag.

The Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), led by Angela Merkel, has maintained a double-digit lead over the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in opinion polling since the 2013 election, but in early 2017 the gap closed substantially due to surge in support for the SPD led by Martin Schulz.


At the previous federal election, in 2013, the incumbent government—composed of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU, the CDU's Bavarian sister party), and the Free Democratic Party (FDP)—failed to achieve a majority of seats. The FDP failed to get over 5% of the vote, denying the party seats in the Bundestag for the first time in their history. In contrast, the CDU/CSU obtained their best result since 1990, with nearly 42% of the vote and just short of 50% of the seats. The CDU/CSU successfully negotiated with the Social Democrats (SPD) to form a grand coalition for the third time.[1]

In March 2017, the SPD chose Martin Schulz, the former President of the European Parliament, as their leader and chancellor candidate. Since then support for the SPD has increased sharply.


German law requires that the Bundestag election shall take place on a Sunday between 46–48 months after the assembly's first sitting. Since the 18th Bundestag first sat on 22 October 2013, the latest date for the next election would have been 22 October 2017 and the earliest date 27 August 2017, the first Sunday after 22 August 2017. By convention, recent elections have been held in late September, avoiding the school holidays. Elections can be held earlier under certain conditions, such as the government losing a confidence motion.

In January 2017, the election was scheduled for 24 September 2017.

Electoral system[edit]

The Bundestag has 598 nominal 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 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. Seats are allocated using the Sainte-Laguë method. To qualify for seats in the Bundestag corresponding to vote share, a party must either win three single-member constituencies or exceed a threshold of 5%. Parties representing ethnic minorities are exempt from the threshold, but normally only run in Landtag elections. If a party receives more seats than its vote share entitles it to (overhang seats), additional "compensatory" seats are added to the total of 299 to give other parties a proportional number of seats.[2]

Voters have two votes, one for the candidate in the single-member constituency and one for the party list in the multi-member constituency.[2]

Parties and leaders[edit]

The major parties participating in the election are:

Party Ideology Political position Leader(s)
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Christian democracy, Liberal conservatism Centre-right Angela Merkel
Social Democratic Party (SPD) Social democracy, Progressivism Centre-left Martin Schulz
The Left Democratic socialism, Left-wing populism Left-wing Katja Kipping, Bernd Riexinger
Alliance '90/The Greens Green politics Centre-left Cem Özdemir, Simone Peter
Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavarian regionalism, Christian democracy Centre-right Horst Seehofer
Free Democratic Party (FDP) Liberalism, Classical liberalism Centre to Centre-right Christian Lindner
Alternative for Germany (AfD) Right-wing populism, Euroscepticism Right-wing to far-right Frauke Petry, Jörg Meuthen

Opinion polling[edit]

German Opinion Polls 2017 Election.png

The polls are from September 2013 (the last federal election) up to the current date. Each colored line specifies a political party.


  1. ^ "Bundesregierung: Die Große Koalition ist besiegelt" [The grand coalition (deal) is sealed]. Die Zeit (in German). 2013-12-16. ISSN 0044-2070. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  2. ^ a b Electoral system IPU