National Elections in Germany 2013
More than 60 million German voters headed to the polls on Sunday, September 22, 2013, to elect the representatives of the 18th Bundestag, the German parliament. Based on the results, two or more political parties will form an alliance to build a governing majority and to elect a Chancellor. Here, Germany.info introduces you to the major political parties, the election process and the process of building a government.
A total of 34 parties are taking part in this year’s general election for the German Bundestag . They include six parties that are currently represented in the Bundestag: the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), The Left Party, Alliance 90/The Greens, and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU).
In German elections, each voter casts two votes: the first vote is for a specific candidate in a given district. The second vote is cast for a party. The total number of seats each party receives in the Bundestag is determined by its total nationwide share of the second votes.
The German electoral system makes it very difficult for any one party to end up with an absolute majority after the elections, therefore, normally two or more parties will agree to form an alliance in order to govern and to elect a Chancellor.
Election Vocabulary from the Word of the Week
In our Word of the Week feature we explain the meanings of these three words and give you more insight into the German election process.