Next German federal election

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Next German federal election
Germany
← 2017 On or before 24 October 2021

All 598 seats in the Bundestag (overhang and leveling seats possible)
300+ seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
  Angela Merkel June 2017.jpg 2017-07-21 Martin Schulz 0789.JPG 2017-11-29-Alice Weidel-Maischberger-5664 (cropped).jpg
Leader Angela Merkel Martin Schulz Alice Weidel
Alexander Gauland
Party CDU/CSU SPD AfD
Leader since 10 April 2000 19 March 2017
Leader's seat Vorpommern-Rügen – Vorpommern-Greifswald I North Rhine-Westphalia list Baden-Württemberg list & Brandenburg list
Last election 246 seats, 32.9% 153 seats, 20.5% 94 seats, 12.6%

  ChristianLindner-FDP-1 (cropped 1).jpg 2014-09-11 - Sahra Wagenknecht MdB - 8301 (cropped).jpg Katrin Goring-Eckardt MdB (cropped).jpg
Leader Christian Lindner Sahra Wagenknecht
Dietmar Bartsch
Katrin Göring-Eckardt
Cem Özdemir
Party FDP Left Green
Leader since 7 December 2013 – (Göring-Eckardt)
15 November 2008 (Özdemir)
Leader's seat North Rhine-Westphalia list North Rhine-Westphalia list & Mecklenburg-Vorpommern list Thuringia list & Baden-Württemberg list
Last election 80 seats, 10.7% 69 seats, 9.2% 67 seats, 8.9%

Incumbent Chancellor

Pending government formation



The next German federal election for the 20th Bundestag will be held no later than 24 October 2021.

Background

Jamaica coalition talks

The 2017 federal elections were held after a four-year grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and SPD. Though the CDU/CSU was returned with more seats than any other party, both it and the SPD suffered significant losses. The SPD leadership, recognizing the party's unsatisfactory performance after four years in government, announced that it would go into opposition.[1] With the CDU/CSU having pledged not to work with either the AfD nor The Left before the elections, the only remaining option for a majority government is a Jamaica coalition consisting of the CDU/CSU, FDP, and the Greens. Incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that she would pursue coalition talks with the FDP and the Greens, both of which are open to the possibility of a Jamaica coalition.[2] On 9 October, Merkel announced that exploratory talks for a Jamaica coalition with the CDU, CSU, FDP, and Greens would begin on 18 October.[3]

By the final days of the preliminary talks, the four parties had not arrived at an agreement on migration and climate issues.[4] Preliminary talks between the Jamaica parties collapsed past midnight on 20 November after the FDP withdrew, arguing that the talks had failed to produce a common vision or trust. Following the FDP's withdrawal, Merkel expressed regret, with the Union parties having believed that they were on the way to achieving an agreement, saying that the CDU/CSU would in the next week "continue to assume responsibility", the Greens criticized the FDP for having shirked its responsibility, and the SPD continued to reject the possibility of a grand coalition. Merkel stated that she would consult with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.[5] In the afternoon, Steinmeier implored the parties to reconsider, speaking with the leaders of the parties, including the SPD,[6] hoping to avoid new elections by ensuring the formation of a coalition government.[7]

Grand coalition talks

Steinmeier invited Merkel, Seehofer, and Schulz to meet on 30 November, after the SPD indicated that it would no longer rule out a grand coalition following a meeting between Schulz and Steinmeier on 23 November.[8] After internal disagreements, the SPD leadership eventually voted on 15 December to support exploratory talks with the CDU/CSU for a renewed grand coalition.[9] After seven hours of talks on 20 December, the CDU/CSU and SPD agreed to conduct exploratory talks from 7 to 12 January 2018.[10] The talks concluded successfully with a 28-page exploratory paper drawn up. SPD members will vote at a party congress in Bonn on 21 January on whether to open formal coalition talks.[11]

Before the congress, the SPD state associations of Lower Saxony, Hesse, Saarland, Hamburg, and Brandenburg voted in support of a renewed grand coalition, those of Berlin, Thuringia, and Saxony-Anhalt voted against (although the votes on the latter two resolutions were non-binding), while eight other state associations did not vote on a resolution before the congress. A total of 600 delegates were present at the party congress; North Rhine-Westphalia, with 144 delegates, sent the most.[12] In addition, the 45 members of the party's presidium also have the right to participate in the vote. At the party congress, the SPD voted in favor of coalition talks, with 362 delegates in favor, 279 against, and 1 abstention.[13]

Electoral system

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.[14]

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 in the Bundestag. 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.[14]

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 19th and current Bundestag, for example, has 709 seats: 598 regular seats and 111 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.[14]

In order to qualify for seats based on the party-list vote share, a party must either win three single-member constituencies 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.[14] In the most recent example of this, during the 2002 election, the PDS won only 4.0% of the second votes votes nationwide, but won two constituencies in the state of Berlin.[15] The same applies if an independent candidate wins a single-member constituency,[14] which has not happened since the 1949 West German federal election.[15]

If a voter cast a first vote for a successful independent candidate or a successful candidate whose party failed to qualify for proportional representation, his or her second vote does not count toward proportional representation. However, it does count toward whether the elected party exceeds the 5% threshold.[14]

Parties representing recognized national minorities (currently Danes, Frisians, Sorbs, and Romani people) are exempt from the 5% threshold, but normally only run in state elections.[14]

Date

The Basic Law and the federal election code provide that federal elections must be held on a Sunday or on a national holiday no earlier than 46 and no later than 48 months after the first sitting of a Bundestag.[16] The 19th Bundestag held its first sitting on 24 October 2017.[17] Therefore, the next election will be held on one of the following possible dates:

  • 29 August 2021 (Sunday)
  • 5 September 2021 (Sunday)
  • 12 September 2021 (Sunday)
  • 19 September 2021 (Sunday)
  • 26 September 2021 (Sunday)
  • 3 October 2021 (Sunday and German Unity Day)
  • 10 October 2021 (Sunday)
  • 17 October 2021 (Sunday)
  • 24 October 2021 (Sunday)

The exact date will be determined by the President of Germany.[18]

Federal elections can be held earlier if the President of Germany dissolves the Bundestag. They may only do so under two possible scenarios described by the Basic Law.

  1. If the Bundestag fails to elect a Chancellor with an absolute majority of its members on the 15th day after the first ballot of a Chancellor's election, the President is free to either appoint the candidate who received a plurality of votes as Chancellor or dissolve the Bundestag (in accordance with Article 63, Section 4 of the Basic Law).
  2. If the Chancellor loses a confidence motion, they may ask the President to dissolve the Bundestag. The President is free to grant or to deny the Chancellor's request (in accordance with Article 68 of the Basic Law).

In both cases, federal elections would have to take place on a Sunday or national holiday no later than 60 days after the dissolution.[16][19]

New elections

New elections are possible only after the election of a Chancellor; i.e. Steinmeier would first have to nominate a Chancellor to be elected by a majority vote in the Bundestag (so called first election phase); if the Chancellor candidate failed to secure an absolute majority of votes, the Bundestag may hold additional ballots during the following 14 days. During this period candidates are to be nominated by the parliamentary groups (so called second election phase). Should no Chancellor candidate secure an absolute majority during this time, a last ballot will be held on the 15th day after the first ballot: If a candidate secures a majority on this last ballot, the President of Germany has to appoint him or her as Chancellor. If not, the President may choose to either appoint the candidate, who received a plurality of votes, as Chancellor or to dissolve the Bundestag, triggering new elections no later than 60 days after the dissolution (so called third election phase).[20][21]

Parties

The table below lists parties currently represented in the 19th Bundestag.

Name Ideology Leader(s)[a] Whip(s) 2017 result Seats in 19th
Bundestag
Votes (%) Seats
CDU/CSU CDU Christian Democratic Union of Germany
Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
Christian democracy Angela Merkel[b] Volker Kauder 26.8%
200 / 709
200 / 709
CSU Christian Social Union in Bavaria
Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern
6.2%[c]
46 / 709
46 / 709
SPD Social Democratic Party of Germany
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
Social democracy Martin Schulz Andrea Nahles 20.5%
153 / 709
153 / 709
AfD Alternative for Germany
Alternative für Deutschland
National conservatism Jörg Meuthen
Alexander Gauland
Alexander Gauland
Alice Weidel
12.6%
94 / 709
92 / 709
FDP Free Democratic Party
Freie Demokratische Partei
Classical liberalism Christian Lindner Christian Lindner 10.7%
80 / 709
80 / 709
Linke The Left
Die Linke
Democratic socialism Katja Kipping
Bernd Riexinger
Sahra Wagenknecht
Dietmar Bartsch
9.2%
69 / 709
69 / 709
Grüne Alliance 90/The Greens
Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
Green politics Cem Özdemir
Simone Peter
Katrin Göring-Eckardt
Anton Hofreiter[d]
8.9%
67 / 709
67 / 709
Independents
(factionless)
Frauke Petry, Mario Mieruch
0 / 709
2 / 709

Opinion polling

Opinion polling for the next German federal election (short range).png

Notes

  1. ^ Current party leader(s); the individuals listed in the election infobox were the leading candidates in the 2017 election.
  2. ^ As current Chancellor and leader of the CDU; Horst Seehofer is the current leader of the CSU.
  3. ^ CSU received 38.8% in Bavaria
  4. ^ Göring-Eckardt and Hofreiter are acting whips.[22]

References

  1. ^ "Die SPD geht in die Opposition – Schulz bleibt Parteichef". Die Zeit. 24 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  2. ^ "Kommt jetzt Jamaika?". Die Zeit. 24 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Sondierungsgespräche beginnen kommende Woche". Zeit Online. Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Agence France-Presse. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  4. ^ "Endspurt mit strittigen Themen". tagesschau. 15 November 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  5. ^ "FDP bricht Jamaika-Sondierungen ab". tagesschau. 20 November 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  6. ^ "Steinmeier fordert Gesprächsbereitschaft". tagesschau. 20 November 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  7. ^ "Steinmeiers Mission Impossible". tagesschau. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017. 
  8. ^ "Bundespräsident lädt Chefs von Union und SPD ein". Spiegel Online. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  9. ^ "Sondierungen ab Januar". tagesschau. 15 December 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  10. ^ "Sondierungen sollen nur sechs Tage dauern". Spiegel Online. Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  11. ^ "Parteichefs erzielen Durchbruch bei Sondierungen". Zeit Online. Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Agence France-Presse, Reuters. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  12. ^ Markus C. Schulte (19 January 2018). "Wie die SPD-Landesverbände zur großen Koalition stehen". Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  13. ^ "Abstimmung muss ausgezählt werden". Zeit Online. Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Agence France-Presse, Reuters. 21 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Martin Fehndrich; Wilko Zicht; Matthias Cantow (22 September 2017). "Wahlsystem der Bundestagswahl". Wahlrecht.de. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  15. ^ a b "Ergebnisse früherer Bundestagswahlen" (PDF). Der Bundeswahlleiter. 18 August 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Wahl zum 19. Deutschen Bundestag am 24. September 2017". Der Bundeswahlleiter. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "Neu gewählter Bundestag tritt am 24. Oktober erstmals zusammen". Deutscher Bundestag. 5 October 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017. 
  18. ^ "Nach der Bundestagswahl". Der Bundeswahlleiter. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  19. ^ Martin Fehndrich (26 February 2017). "Bundeskanzlerwahl". Wahlrecht.de. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  20. ^ "Groko, Minderheitsregierung, Neuwahl – die Szenarien nach dem Aus". Die Welt. 20 November 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017. 
  21. ^ "Art. 63 GG". dejure.org. Retrieved 23 November 2017. 
  22. ^ "Geschäftsführender Vorstand". Bundestagsfraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 

External links

  • Comprehensive results of the 2017 federal election (in German)
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