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, introduces you to the major political parties, the election process and the process of building a government.

Chancellor Merkel at CDU Election Night Event

Clear Victory for Merkel and CDU/CSU

Chancellor Merkel’s conservative CDU and its Bavarian sister party, CSU, won a clear victory in Germany’s parliamentary elections on September 22, together garnering 41.5 percent of the popular vote, according to official provisional results.

Political parties in the Bundestag

Political Parties

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).

2013 Ballot

How Germany Elects Members of Parliament

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.

Black-Yellow Coalition

Building a Governing Coalition

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.

© dpa - Bildarchiv

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.




National Elections 2013

National elections

Elections in Germany

(© Federal Foreign Office)

Election results, like the ones we’ll hear about after Germans go to the polls in September, are generally very closely watched. And underpinning those results are very sophisticated mechanisms which justify the faith Germans put in their electoral system.

Federal Returning Officer

The Federal Returning Officer prepares and conducts Bundestag elections and European elections and publishes official results.