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The state & politics

Parliament & Parties

The German Bundestag is elected every four years by free, secret, and direct ballot by citizens aged 18 and over who are eligible to vote.
Bundestag
© dpa

The German Bundestag is elected every four years by free, secret, and direct ballot by citizens aged 18 and over who are eligible to vote. The Bundestag The Bundestag The Bundestag is the elected representation of the German people. 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). This… Read more › is the German parliament. Half of the at least 598 seats in the Bundestag The Bundestag The Bundestag is the elected representation of the German people. 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). This… Read more › are allocated through the election of candidates put up by the parties on state lists (second votes), the other half through the election of persons in 299 constituencies (first votes). The German electoral system makes it difficult for any one party to form a government on its own – meaning that a coalition tends to be the rule. In order to prevent complications in the formation of majorities by the presence of small and very small parties, a threshold known as “the five percent hurdle” excludes parties that poll less than that being represented in the Bundestag.

Sitzverteilung Bundestag

Seven parties with 709 members of parliament are represented in the 19th Bundestag: CDU, CSU, SPD, AfD, FDP, The Left party, and Alliance 90/The Greens. Ever since the first Bundestag election in 1949, the CDU and its sister party CSU, which only stands in Bavaria Bavaria The “beer state” of Bavaria also produces fine wine in the Franconia region. The Oktoberfest, Neuschwanstein Castle and the magnificent Alpine scenery attract more foreign tourists than does any other federal state. Yet the slogan “Laptop and Lederhose” demonstrates that there is more to Bavaria… Read more › , have formed a single parliamentary party. Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered parliament for the first time in this legislative period; the FDP is once again represented in the Bundestag The Bundestag The Bundestag is the elected representation of the German people. 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). This… Read more › after a four-year break.

The current Federal Government Federal Government The Federal Government and cabinet is made up of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers. While the Chancellor holds the power to issue directives, the ministers have departmental powers, meaning that they independently run their respective ministries in the framework of those directives… Read more › is made up of a coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD, with Dr. Angela Merkel (CDU) as the Federal Chancellor Federal chancellor The Federal Chancellor is the only member of the Federal Government to be elected. The constitution empowers him to personally choose his ministers, who head the most important political authorities. Moreover it is the Chancellor who determines the number of ministries and their responsibilities… Read more › , Olaf Scholz (SPD) as Deputy Chancellor and Heiko Maas (SPD) as Federal Foreign Minister. AfD, FDP, The Left party and the Greens form the parliamentary opposition.