Technically speaking half the 598 seats in the Bundestag are allocated by means of the parties’ state lists (the second vote) and the other half by the direct election of candidates in the 299 constituencies (the first vote).
If the number of seats a party obtains through the second vote is higher than its direct mandates the remaining seats are assigned to the candidates according to their rank on the state list. If the number of seats obtained by a party’s direct candidates is higher than its share according to the second vote so-called “overhang” seats are granted, with a certain number of compensatory seats assigned to the other parties to keep the proportion of seats intact. For example the current Bundestag has a total of 631 seats.
Parties must win at least 5 percent of the vote or win three direct mandates in order to be represented in the Bundestag.
Listed here are seven parties that have a realistic chance, based on most polls, of clearing the five percent hurdle for representation in the Bundestag:
- Christian Democratic Unions of Germany / Christian Social Union in Bavaria
- Social Democratic Party of Germany
- Alliance 90/The Greens
- Alternative for Germany
- The Left
- Free Democratic Party