Parliamentary Chamber: Deutscher Bundestag


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  Deutscher Bundestag

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  16 October 1994

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the Bundestag on the normal expiry of the members’ term of office. Previous elections had been held in December 1990.

Background and outcome of elections:

  On 3 February 1994, Germany’s main political parties agreed on the October federal election date, which would culminate a series of polls held at various levels. The Bundestag members were previously chosen in December 1990 in the wake of Germany reunification.

Once again, the principal contestants for the Bundestag seats were the parties of the governing coalition headed by Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl – his own Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the CDU’s Bavarian sister party known as the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) – and the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD), led by Mr. Rudolf Scharping. The latter held the majority in the Bundesrat.

The electoral campaign which opened in late August was dominated to a great extent by the image and strong personality of Mr. Kohl, who asserted that, with his experience as Chancellor since 1982, he was the best qualified to oversee the further integration of Germany and the European Union. The left-leaning opposition stressed economic issues (especially unemployment and public debt) and pointed to the hardships incurred as a consequence of German reunification since 1990. The two sides were generally at odds with respect to taxation, wages and welfare reform questions. In August, Mr. Scharping, widely regarded as uncharismatic, enlisted the aid of two other SPD leaders to present a unified image. Opinion polls bode well for the opposition until shortly before polling day, when the centre-right governing coalition made a late surge as the country’s economy suddenly improved. Altogether 3923 candidates from 41 parties or groups were in contention in the 328 constituencies.

In the final analysis, the election turned less on policies than on personalities as the CDU-led alliance emerged victorious for the fourth consecutive time despite obtaining but 48.4% of the popular vote; its Bundestag majority, however, fell substantially from 134 to 10 seats. Contrary to 1990, the CDU was exceeded by the SPD on an individual basis. The liberal FDP, led by Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, slipped considerably. On the other hand, the Alliance 90/Greens group and the former communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) made solid comebacks by going from 8 to 49 and 17 to 30 seats, respectively, with the PDS gains coming mainly from the eastern Lšnder. Due to the unpredictable system of “overhang mandates”, the total of Bundestag seats rose to an all-time high 672 (see above).

Given the parliamentary results, Mr. Kohl was re-elected Chancellor by the Bundestag on 15 November. Two days later, his largely unchanged 17-member Cabinet was sworn in.

Round no 1 (16 October 1994): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 60,452,009
Voters 47,737,999 (78.9%)
Blank or void “first votes” 788,643
Valid “first votes” 46,949,356
Blank or void “second votes” 632,825
Valid “second votes” 47,105,174

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group “Second Votes” %
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 17,140,354 36.4
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 16,089,960 34.2
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 3,258,407 6.9
Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) 3,427,196 7.3
Alliance 90/Greens group 3,424,315 7.3
Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) 2,066,176 4.4

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 252 +13
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 244 -24
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 47 -32
Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) 50 -1
Alliance 90/Greens group 49 +41
Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) 30 +13

  16 “overhang mandates” were allotted in the 1994 elections (12 to the CDU, 4 to the SPD) as opposed to 6 at the previous (1990) elections.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 495
Women: 177

Distribution of seats according to date of birth:  
1911-1920 2
1921-1930 20
1931-1935 50
1936-1940 139
1941-1945 181
1946-1950 122
1951-1955 85
1956-1960 43
1961-1965 24
1966-1970 5
1971 on 1

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Copyright © 1994 Inter-Parliamentary Union