Parliamentary Chamber: Deutscher Bundestag


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  Deutscher Bundestag

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  2 December 1990

Purpose of elections:

  Polling was held for all the seats in the Bundestag in the first all-German general elections since reunification on 3 October 1990.

Background and outcome of elections:

  The day after German reunification on 3 October 1990, the first session of the enlarged (from 519 to 663 members) Bundestag was held in Berlin. The date of the Bundestag poll had been set on 13 August.

Main contenders for the 662 Bundestag seats at stake on 2 December were the federal Christian Democratic Union (CDU) - Christian Social Union (CSU) - Free Democrats (FDP) coalition headed by Federal Chancellor Helmuth Kohl, who had been elected Chairman on 1 October upon merger of the East and West German CDU parties; and the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by Mr. Oskar Lafontaine.

The electoral campaign was dominated by reunification issues, particularly economic consequences thereof, as well as foreign policy questions and the contrasting personalities of the two candidates for Chancellor. The ruling coalition stressed patriotic themes and its role in achieving peaceful reunification, while the SPD warned of pending problems (such as a raise in taxes) stemming from the costs of rehabilitating the eastern German economy after reunification. These were acknowledged by the coalition but characterized as manageable through budget cuts, State borrowing and hard work. The SPD furthermore focussed on social and environmental issues.

On polling day, the CDU emerged on top with 268 seats to 239 for the SPD, although the governing partners’ overall total (398) gave it an absolute Bundestag majority taking into account the CSU (CDU’s Bavarian sister party) and FDP numbers. All leading parties improved their positions at the expense of the western Greens, who lost all the seats they had occupied since they obtained less than the 5% vote required for parliamentary re-presentation. The only other successful groups were the Alliance 90/Greens and the successor to the East German Communist Party, the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS).

On 20 December, the newly elected Bundestag held its inaugural session. On 17 January 1991, Mr. Kohl (CDU) was re-elected Chancellor and the new Cabinet (comprising 11 CDU, 4 CSU and 5 FDP members) was sworn in the following day.

Round no 1 (2 December 1990): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 60,436,560
Voters 46,995,915 (77.8%)
Blank or void “first votes” 720,990
Valid “first votes” 46,274,925
Blank or void “second votes” 540,143
Valid “second votes” 46,455,772

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group “Second votes” obtained %
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 17,055,116 36.7
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 15,545,366 33.5
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 5,123,223 11.0
Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) 3,302,980 7.1
Green Party (Grüne) 1,788,200 3.8
Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) 1,129,578 2.4**
Alliance 90/The Greens (B’90/Die Grünen) 559,207 1.2**

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss*
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 268*** +83
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 239 46
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 79 +31
Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) 51 +2
Green Party (Grüne) 0 -44
Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) 17 +17
Alliance 90/The Greens (B’90/Die Grünen) 8 +8

  * Previous elections held in 1987, when Germany was still divided and results refer to the the FRG.
** Obtained more than 5% on the territory of the former GDR.
*** Six “surplus” seats were allotted in the 1990 elections

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 526
Women: 136

Distribution of seats according to age (by birth year):  
1911-1915 1
1916-1920 1
1921-1925 6
1926-1930 62
1931-1935 82
1936-1940 171
1941-1945 160
1946-1950 92
1951-1955 49
1956-1960 27
1961-1965 9
1966-1970 2

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Civil servants, judges, military, elected civil servants 104
Teachers, college/university lecturers 89
Members of independent professions 73
Self-employed 66
Employees in industry 65
Members of political and social organizations 64
Holders of Government posts 52
Public servants 47
Housewives 13
Clergy 12
Others 77

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Copyright © 1990 Inter-Parliamentary Union