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Deutscher Bundestag (German Bundestag)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Electoral system module

Parliament name -
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Deutscher Bundestag / German Bundestag
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Bundesrat / Federal Council
Electoral Law 23 July 1993
(Federal Electoral Act 1993) Last amendment: 3 May 2013
Mode of designation directly elected 598
other 111
Constituencies - 299 constituencies
- 16 multi-member constituencies corresponding to the Länder (component states of the federation) which elect at least 299 members (see below)
Voting system Mixed: 299 members are elected under the majority (first-past-the post) system and the remaining seats are filled through the proportional representation system using the party list.
- Each voter has 2 votes: 1 ("first vote") for an individual candidate in one of the constituencies (majority system), and 1 ("second vote") for the party list in the Länder.
- Under the majority system, the candidate having received the highest number of first votes in each constituency is declared elected.
Seats under the proportional representation system are distributed according to the Sainte-Laguë/Schepers method. Parties which won at least 5 per cent of the second votes cast nationwide or those which won at least three seats under the majority system are entitled to win seats under the proportional representation system.
- If a party wins more seats in the majority system (the first vote) than it is entitled to by the results of the proportional representation system (second vote), it can keep the additional seats, called "overhang seats" (Überhangmandate).
- Based on the 2013 amendments to the Federal Electoral Act, in cases where some parties obtain overhang seats, "balance seats" (Ausgleichsmandate) are added to other parties in order to ensure complete proportionality of the share of votes for all parties nationwide.
- Vacant seats attributed to a political party are filled by the "next-in-line" candidate of the same party (even seats vacated by members elected through the majority system. This rule applies to all seats, including overhang seats and compensatory seats.
Vacant seats held by independents are filled through a special election in that constituency.
- Voting is not compulsory.
Voter requirements - German citizenship
- Age: 18 years
- Persons who have had their domicile or who have resided permanently in the Federal Republic of Germany for at least three months
- German citizens living abroad are entitled to vote if they lived in Germany after their 14th birthday for at least three month in the past 25 years or if they can prove that they are still familiar with the political circumstances in Germany and are affected by them
- persons with certain cases of insanity or mental disorder
- Persons disqualified by a judicial decision.
Eligibility - Qualified voters;
- German citizenship
- At least 18 years on election day.
- Persons disqualified from voting;
- Persons who have been deprived of eligibility to hold public or political office by judicial decision.
Incompatibilities - The Federal President;
- Members of the office of the Federal President;
- Ministers of the Federal State;
- Members of the Federal Audit Office;
- Judges;
- Members of the Bundesrat;
- Civil servants.
(cf. Article 137, 66 Basic Law)
Candidacy requirements - candidatures for constituencies may be presented by a political party or by individuals
- candidatures for constituencies must be submitted by political parties. "Non-established parties" (those which do not have at least five seats in the Bundestag or in the legislature of a given Land) must announce their intention to take part in the Federal Election to the Federal Returning Officer at least 97 days prior to the election.
- in cases where candidatures for constituencies are presented by individuals, these must be supported by at least 200 voters of the same constituency. The same rule applies to candidates representing "non-established parties" (see above).
- candidatures for Länder party lists can be presented by any political party. Only the lists submitted by non-established parties require the supporting signature of one thousandth the number of eligible voters in the respective Land (with a maximum of 2,000 signatures).
- There are no monetary deposits for candidates or for political parties.

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