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Deutscher Bundestag (Federal Diet)

A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name -
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Deutscher Bundestag / Federal Diet
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Bundesrat / Federal Council
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 18 September 2005
Purpose of elections Elections were held for the all seats in Bundestag following its premature dissolution on 21 July 2005. General elections had previously taken place on 22 September 2002.
Following his Social Democratic Party's heavy defeat in local elections in May 2005, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder orchestrated a negative vote of confidence in parliament on 1 July to pave the way for new parliamentary elections. He insisted he needed a fresh mandate in order to continue his reforms to revive the German economy. On 21 July 2005, President Horst Köhler announced the dissolution of the Bundestag and called early elections for 18 September 2005, one year ahead of schedule.

The outgoing government, the Red-Green coalition, was composed of Chancellor Schröder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's Green Party, which had respectively won 251 and 55 seats in the 2002 election. The SPD's main rival, Ms. Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was supported by the CDU's sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), standing only in Bavaria. The two had respectively won 190 and 58 seats in 2002. The Free Democrats (FDP), reported to be a possible coalition partner for the CDU-CSU, held 47 seats. Ms. Merkel was aspiring to become the first woman chancellor of the country.

In July 2005, the new Left Party was formed by the Electoral Alternative for Work and Social Justice (WASG), a group of left-wing defectors from the SPD, and the former communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), consisting predominantly of parliamentarians from eastern Germany, whose strength had decreased from 32 seats to 2 in the 2002 election.

The election campaign focused both on domestic and foreign policy issues. Mr. Schröder came to power in 1998 promising to lower the unemployment rate. His recent reforms, known as Hartz IV, which aimed to reduce unemployment and welfare benefits in order to make the labour market more flexible, had reportedly produced little impact and frustrated both the unemployed and employers. His rival, Ms. Merkel, argued that a faster pace of reform was necessary. Her programmes included a two per cent VAT increase to finance a reduction in social security costs for employers. The two leaders also held contrasting views over Turkish accession to the European Union (EU). While Chancellor Schröder insisted that Turkish membership would ensure long-term security in Europe, Ms. Merkel firmly opposed Turkey joining the EU and proposed a "privileged partnership" instead.

When the Bundestag was dissolved, the CDU had a 20 point lead over the SPD in opinion polls, but the gap had narrowed to 6 points in final surveys before polling day. Two major turning points seem to have been the televised debate between the two leaders on 4 September and Ms. Merkel's appointment of Mr. Paul Kirchof as economic adviser. Mr. Kirchof, known as a radical thinker, advocated a simplification of the tax system and, in particular, a flat 25 per-cent income tax for all, which reportedly split the CDU supporters. His proposals were also criticized by the CSU.

On 18 September 2005, elections were held in 298 of 299 districts. Of the 61.6 million registered voters 77.7 per cent turned out at the polls.

Official results, excluding Dresden, showed that neither the CDU nor the SPD had secured enough seats to easily form a ruling coalition. The CDU/CSU coalition won 225 seats, followed closely by the SPD with 222 seats. The FDP obtained 61 seats, the Greens won 51, and the newly formed Left Party, 54.

Voting in the 160th district in Dresden was held separately on 2 October due to the death of a candidate. More than 72 per cent of the 219,000 eligible voters cast their ballots. The CDU won the seat, bringing the total seats for the CDU/CSU coalition to 226.

The newly elected Bundestag was convened on 18 October 2005 and elected Mr. Norbert Lammert of the CDU as its speaker.

On 11 November, after seven weeks of negotiation, the CDU-CSU and the SPD agreed to form a grand coalition, the second in German history. Ms. Merkel of the CDU was elected as Chancellor on 22 November, becoming the first woman to assume the post.
Voter turnout
Round no 118 September 2005
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
47'879'927 (77.73%)
"Blank or invalid ballot papers" and "valid votes" above refer to the first vote (constituencies) except for the 160th district in Dresden.
"Blank or invalid ballot papers" and "valid votes" for the second vote (party lists) except for the 160th district of Dresden are as follows:
- Blank or invalid ballot papers: 758,633
- Number of Valid votes: 47,121,294
The number of registered voters in the 160th district of Dresden was 219,379.
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes % Gain/Loss
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 34.20 -4.30
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 27.80 -1.70
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 9.80 2.40
Left Party (Linkspartei) 8.70 4.70
Green Party 8.10 -0.50
Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) 7.40 -1.60
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Constituencies Party Lists Gain/Loss (Total) Overhang mandates
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 222 145 77 -29 9
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 180 106 74 -10 7
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 61 0 61 14 0
Left Party (Linkspartei) 54 3 51 52 0
Green Party 51 1 50 -4 0
Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) 46 44 2 -12 0
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
German Bundestag: http://www.bundestag.de/
BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
CNN: http://www.cnn.com/
ZDF: http://www.zdf.de

- Statistics include the results from the 160th district in Dresden where the CDU won one seat.
- The number of seats and percentage of votes gained or lost by the Left Party is calculated on the basis of the Party of Democratic Socialism's (PDS) score in the 2002 election.
- There are 16 overhang seats, giving a total of 614 parliamentarians (see below for further explanations).

Overhang seat (Überhangmandate):
In the German electoral system, each voter has 2 votes: a first vote for an individual candidate in one of the constituencies, and a second for the party list drawn up for each of the Länders by each political party. In each Land, every party is entitled to the number of seats that corresponds to its share in the second votes. In case a party wins more seats in the constituencies on the first vote than it is entitled to according to the results of the second vote calculation, the party can keep the additional seats, called "overhang seats" (Überhangmandate).

The "Distribution of seats according to sex" includes 16 overhang seats (Überhangmandate): 195 women of 614 members, or 31.76%. The percentage below is based on the statutory number of 598.

Ms. Dagmar Schmidt (SPD) passed away on 9 November 2005.
Her seat went to Mr. Christoph Pries (SPD) on 16 November, reducing the total number of women to 194.
As at 17 November 2008, there were 197 women out of 612 members (including 14 overhang seats). Source: Federal Diet, 17.11.2008.

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