Next German federal election
German law requires that the next election should take place on a Sunday between 46-48 months after the assembly's first sitting. Since the current Bundestag first sat on 22 September 2013, the latest date for the next election is 22 September 2017 (a Sunday). The earliest date is 27 August 2017, the first Sunday after 22 August. By convention, recent elections have been held in late September, avoiding the school holidays. Elections can be held earlier under certain conditions, for instance if a government loses a confidence motion.
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. Merkel's party successfully negotiated with the Social Democrats (SPD) to form a grand coalition.
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. 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.
Voters have two votes, one for the candidate in the single-member constituency and one for the party list in the multi-member constituency.
Parties and leaders
This is a list of the parties (and their respective leaders) which would likely participate in the election.
If Merkel does not run for re-election, media speculated that the following politicians become possible candidates to run for CDU/CSU in a future election.
- Julia Klöckner — leader of CDU in Rhineland-Palatinate
- Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer — current Minister President of Saarland
- Ursula von der Leyen — current Minister of Defence
- Wolfgang Schäuble — current Finance Minister and former leader of CDU (1998-2000)
- Heiko Maas — current Justice Minister and leader of SPD in Saarland
- Manuela Schwesig — current Family Minister and vice-leader of SPD
- Dietmar Bartsch — current parliamentary party leader
- Sahra Wagenknecht — current parliamentary party leader
- Robert Habeck — current Environment Minister of Schleswig-Holstein
- Anton Hofreiter — current parliamentary party leader
- Katrin Göring-Eckardt — current parliamentary party leader and party's candidate in 2013
The polls are from September 2013 (the last federal election) up to the current date. Each colored line specifies a political party.
- Electoral system IPU
- Bundestagswahl 2017: Kanzlerin Merkel will vierte Amtszeit, spiegel.de (German), 1st Aug 2015
- Julia Klöckner, AKK und der "totale Quatsch", welt.de (German), 12th Oct 2015
- Nachfolge im Kanzleramt: Merkels Plan K, spiegel.de (German), 25st Jun 2014
- Merkel-Nachfolge: Alternativlos?, faz.net (German), 14th Oct 2014
- Will er Kanzler werden?, zeit.de (German), 31st Oct 2015
- Wer aus der SPD könnte Kanzler?, handesblatt.de (German), 11th Aug 2015
- SPD-Hoffnungsträger Maas: Kanzlerkandidat der Reserve, spiegel.de (German), 13th Nov 2015
- Katrin Göring-Eckardt kündigt Spitzenkandidatur an, zeit.de (German), 16th Oct 2015
- Hofreiter will Spitzenkandidat der Grünen werden, spiegel.de (German), 6th Nov 2015
- Grüne Politiker*innen: Kennen Sie diese Zehn?, spiegel.de (German), 20th Nov 2015