German Federal Diet
|Preceded by|| Reichstag 1933–1945|
Volkskammer (East Germany) 1949–1990
| Government (398)|
|Mixed-member proportional representation (MMP)|
|24 September 2017|
| Reichstag building |
Mitte, Berlin, Germany
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Bundestag (German pronunciation: [ˈbʊndəstaːk] , ‘Federal Diet’) is the German federal parliament. It can be compared to the chamber of deputies along the lines of the United States House of Representatives or the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
In politics, a diet is a formal deliberative assembly. The term is mainly used historically for the Imperial Diet, the general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire, and for the legislative bodies of certain countries. Modern usage mainly relates to the National Diet of Japan, or the German Bundestag, the Federal Diet.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries.The term is similar to the idea of a senate, synod or congress, and is commonly used in countries that are current or former monarchies, a form of government with a monarch as the head. Some contexts restrict the use of the word parliament to parliamentary systems, although it is also used to describe the legislature in some presidential systems, even where it is not in the official name.
Through the Bundesrat, the individual states of Germany participate in legislation similar to a second house in a bicameral parliament. It must be mentioned, however, that according to the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany(Grundgesetz, Constitution), these two chambers form constitutional bodies principally separate from each other, so to say not forming the German parliament. But they work closely together in most aspects of lawmaking on the federal level.
The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the national level. The Bundesrat meets at the former Prussian House of Lords in Berlin. Its second seat is located in the former West German capital of Bonn.
A bicameral legislature has legislators in two separate assemblies, chambers, or houses. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and vote as a single group, and from some legislatures that have three or more separate assemblies, chambers, or houses. As of 2015, fewer than half the world's national legislatures are bicameral.
The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Bundestag was established by article III of the 'Grundgesetz' in 1949 as one of the legislative bodies of Germany and thus the historical successor to the earlier Reichstag.
The Reichstag was the name of the parliament of the Weimar Republic, which was considered as weak and fragile.
Since 1999 it has met in the Reichstag Building in Berlin. Wolfgang Schäuble is the current President of the Bundestag. Members of the Bundestag (Mitglieder des Bundestages) are usually elected every four years by all adult German citizens in a mixed system of constituency voting and list voting. The constitutional minimum number of seats is 598; with overhang and leveling seats there are currently 709 seats. The Election Day can be called earlier than four years after the last if the Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler) loses a vote of confidence and asks the Federal President (Bundespräsident) to dissolve the Bundestag in order to hold new general elections.
Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with Potsdam, Brandenburg's capital. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.
Wolfgang Schäuble is a German lawyer and politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party whose political career has spanned more than four decades. He is one of the most experienced and longest serving politicians in German history and since 2017 has been the President of the Bundestag.
The President of the Bundestag presides over the sessions of the Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany, with functions similar to that of a speaker in other countries. In the German order of precedence, the office is ranked second after the President and before the Chancellor. The 13th and current President of the Bundestag is Wolfgang Schäuble, since October 24, 2017.
In the 19th century, the name Bundestag was the unofficial designation for the assembly of the sovereigns and mayors of the Monarchies and Free Cities which formed the German Confederation (1815–1866). Its seat was in the Free City of Frankfurt on the Main.
The German Confederation was an association of 39 German-speaking states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries and to replace the former Holy Roman Empire, which had been dissolved in 1806. The German Confederation excluded German-speaking lands in the eastern portion of the Kingdom of Prussia, the German cantons of Switzerland, and the French region of Alsace, which was predominantly German speaking.
For almost five centuries, the German city of Frankfurt was a city-state within two major Germanic entities:
With the dissolution of the German Confederation in 1866 and the founding of the German Empire (Deutsches Reich) in 1871, the Reichstag was established as the German parliament in Berlin, which was the capital of the then Kingdom of Prussia (the largest and most influential state in both the Confederation and the empire). Two decades later, the current parliament building was erected. The Reichstag delegates were elected by direct and equal male suffrage (and not the three-class electoral system prevailing in Prussia until 1918). The Reichstag did not participate in the appointment of the Chancellor until the parliamentary reforms of October 1918. After the Revolution of November 1918 and the establishment of the Weimar Constitution, women were given the right to vote for (and serve in) the Reichstag, and the parliament could use the no-confidence vote to force the chancellor or any cabinet member to resign. In March 1933, one month after the Reichstag fire, the then President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, a retired war hero, gave Adolf Hitler ultimate power through the Decree for the Protection of People and State and the Enabling Act of 1933, although Hitler remained at the post of Federal Government Chancellor (though he called himself the Führer). After this, the Reichstag met only rarely, usually at the Krolloper (Kroll Opera House) to unanimously rubber-stamp the decisions of the government. It last convened on 26 April 1942.
The German Empire, also known as the Second Reich or Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.
The three-class franchise system was an indirect election system used from 1848 to 1918 in the Kingdom of Prussia, and for shorter intervals in other German states. Voters were grouped into three classes such that those who paid most tax formed the first class, those who paid least formed the third, and the aggregate tax revenue of each class was equal. Voters in each class separately elected one third of the electors (Wahlmänner) who in turn voted for the representatives. Thus it was a form of apportionment by economic class rather than geographic area or population.
With the new Constitution of 1949, the Bundestag was established as the new West German parliament. Because West Berlin was not officially under the jurisdiction of the Constitution, a legacy of the Cold War, the Bundestag met in Bonn in several different buildings, including (provisionally) a former waterworks facility. In addition, owing to the city's legal status, citizens of West Berlin were unable to vote in elections to the Bundestag, and were instead represented by 22 non-voting delegateschosen by the House of Representatives, the city's legislature.
The Bundeshaus in Bonn is the former parliament building of Germany. The sessions of the German Bundestag were held there from 1949 until its move to Berlin in 1999. Today it houses the International Congress Centre Bundeshaus Bonn and in the northern areas the branch office of the Bundesrat ("Federal Council"), which represents the Länder – the federated states). The southern areas became part of German offices for the United Nations in 2008.
The former Reichstag building housed a history exhibition (Fragen an die deutsche Geschichte) and served occasionally as a conference center. The Reichstag building was also occasionally used as a venue for sittings of the Bundestag and its committees and the Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly), the body which elects the German Federal President. However, the Soviets harshly protested against the use of the Reichstag building by institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany and tried to disturb the sittings by flying supersonic jets close to the building.
Since April 19, 1999, the German parliament has again assembled in Berlin in its original Reichstag building, which was built in 1888 based on the plans of German architect Paul Wallot and underwent a significant renovation under the lead of British architect Lord Norman Foster. Parliamentary committees and subcommittees, public hearings and parliamentary group meetings take place in three auxiliary buildings, which surround the Reichstag building: the Jakob-Kaiser-Haus, Paul-Löbe-Haus and Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus.
In 2005, a small aircraft crashed close to the German Parliament. It was then decided to ban private air traffic over Central Berlin.
Together with the Bundesrat, the Bundestag is the legislative branch of the German political system.
Although most legislation is initiated by the executive branch, the Bundestag considers the legislative function its most important responsibility, concentrating much of its energy on assessing and amending the government's legislative program. The committees (see below) play a prominent role in this process. Plenary sessions provide a forum for members to engage in public debate on legislative issues before them, but they tend to be well attended only when significant legislation is being considered.
The Bundestag members are the only federal officials directly elected by the public; the Bundestag in turn elects the Chancellor and, in addition, exercises oversight of the executive branch on issues of both substantive policy and routine administration. This check on executive power can be employed through binding legislation, public debates on government policy, investigations, and direct questioning of the chancellor or cabinet officials. For example, the Bundestag can conduct a question hour (Fragestunde), in which a government representative responds to a previously submitted written question from a member. Members can ask related questions during the question hour. The questions can concern anything from a major policy issue to a specific constituent's problem. Use of the question hour has increased markedly over the past forty years, with more than 20,000 questions being posed during the 1987-90 term. Understandably, the opposition parties are active in exercising the parliamentary right to scrutinize government actions.
Constituent service does also take place in the form of the Petition Committee. In 2004, the Petition Committee received over 18,000 complaints from citizens and was able to negotiate a mutually satisfactory solution to more than half of them. In 2005, as a pilot of the potential of internet petitions, a version of e-Petitioner was produced for the Bundestag. This was a collaborative project involving The Scottish Parliament, International Teledemocracy Centre and the Bundestag ‘Online Services Department’. The system was formally launched on 1 September 2005, and in 2008 the Bundestag moved to a new system based on its evaluation.
The Bundestag is elected for four years, and new elections must be held between 46 and 48 months after the beginning of its electoral term, unless the Bundestag is dissolved prematurely. Its term ends when the next Bundestag convenes, which must occur within 30 days of the election.Prior to 1976, there could be a period where one Bundestag had been dissolved and the next Bundestag could not be convened; during this period, the rights of the Bundestag were exercised by a so-called "Permanent Committee".
Members serve four-year terms, with elections held every four years, or earlier in the relatively rare case that the Bundestag is dissolved prematurely by the president. The Bundestag can be dissolved by the president on the recommendation of the chancellor if the latter has lost a vote of confidence in the Bundestag if the recommendation is made and accepted before the Bundestag acts to elect a new Chancellor. This has happened three times: 1972 under Chancellor Willy Brandt, 1983 under Chancellor Helmut Kohl and 2005 under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. The procedures for these situations are governed by Articles 67 and 68 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Law regarding the election procedure itself is the Federal Election Act 1956 (Bundeswahlgesetz/BWahlG)
All candidates must be at least eighteen years old; there are no term limits. The election uses the MMP electoral system. In addition, the Bundestag has a minimum threshold of either 5% of the national party vote or three (directly elected) constituency representatives for a party to gain additional representation through the system of proportional representation. Thus, small minority parties cannot easily enter the Bundestag and prevent the formation of stable majority governments as they could under the Weimar constitution.
The most recent election, the German federal election, 2017, was held on 24 September 2017.
Half of the Members of the Bundestag are elected directly from 299 constituencies (using the first-past-the-post system), whilst the other half are elected from the parties’ Land lists in such a way as to achieve proportional representation for the total Bundestag (if possible).
Accordingly, each voter has two votes in the elections to the Bundestag. The first vote, allowing voters to elect their local representatives to the Bundestag, decides which candidates are sent to Parliament from the constituencies.
The second vote is cast for a party list; it determines the relative strengths of the parties represented in the Bundestag.
At least 598 Members of the Bundestag are elected in this way. Parties that gain more than 5% of the second votes or win at least three direct mandates are allocated seats in the Bundestag in proportion to the number of votes it has received (d'Hondt method until 1987, largest remainder method until the 2005 election, and now the Sainte-Laguë method).
In addition to this, there are certain circumstances in which some candidates win what are known as overhang seats when the seats are being distributed. If a party has gained more direct mandates in a Land than it is entitled to according to the results of the second vote: it does not forfeit these mandates because all directly elected candidates are guaranteed a seat in the Bundestag. The other parties are then compensated by getting additional seats as well: the balance seats, and thus, proportionality is preserved.
The last Federal elections were held on Sunday, 24 September 2017, to elect the members of the 19th Bundestag.
The election saw the CDU/CSU win 33% of the vote, a drop of more than 8% and its lowest share of the vote since 1949, while the SPD achieved its worst result since the Second World War with just 20% of the vote. Alternative for Germany (AfD)—which was previously unrepresented in the Bundestag—became the third party in the Bundestag with 12.6% of the vote and a plurality of the vote in Saxony. No party won an outright majority in any state, including Bavaria, where the CSU often wins majorities and won a majority of the vote in 2013.
|Christian Democratic Union (CDU)||14,030,751||30.2||185||12,447,656||26.8||15||200||−55|
|Social Democratic Party (SPD)||11,429,231||24.6||59||9,539,381||20.5||94||153||−40|
|Alternative for Germany (AfD)||5,317,499||11.5||3||5,878,115||12.6||91||94||+94|
|Free Democratic Party (FDP)||3,249,238||7.0||0||4,999,449||10.7||80||80||+80|
|The Left (DIE LINKE)||3,966,637||8.6||5||4,297,270||9.2||64||69||+5|
|Alliance 90/The Greens (GRÜNE)||3,717,922||8.0||1||4,158,400||8.9||66||67||+4|
|Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU)||3,255,487||7.0||46||2,869,688||6.2||0||46||−10|
|Human Environment Animal Protection||22,917||0.0||0||374,179||0.8||0||0||0|
|National Democratic Party||45,169||0.1||0||176,020||0.4||0||0||0|
|Pirate Party Germany||93,196||0.2||0||173,476||0.4||0||0||0|
|Ecological Democratic Party||166,228||0.4||0||144,809||0.3||0||0||0|
|Basic Income Alliance||–||–||–||97,539||0.2||0||0||New|
|Democracy in Motion||–||–||–||60,914||0.1||0||0||New|
|Animal Protection Alliance||6,114||0.0||0||32,221||0.1||0||0||New|
|Marxist–Leninist Party of Germany||35,760||0.1||0||29,785||0.1||0||0||0|
|German Communist Party||7,517||0.0||0||11,558||0.0||0||0||New|
|Magdeburger Garden Party||2,570||0.0||0||5,617||0.0||0||0||New|
|Alliance for Germany||6,316||0.0||0||9,631||0.0||0||0||0|
|Socialist Equality Party||903||0.0||0||1,291||0.0||0||0||0|
|Bergpartei, die "ÜberPartei"||672||0.0||0||911||0.0||0||0||New|
|Party of Reason||242||0.0||0||533||0.0||0||0||0|
|The Violets – for Spiritual Politics||2,176||0.0||0||–||–||–||0||0|
|Seat distribution in the German Bundestag (at the beginning of each session)|
|Session||Election||Seats||CDU/CSU||SPD||FDP||GRÜNE 1||DIE LINKE 2||DP / AfD||Others|
1 1983 to 1994 The Greens and 1990 to 1994 Alliance 90, since 1994 Alliance 90/The Greens
2 1990 to 2005 PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism), 2005 to 2007 The Left Party.PDS, since 2007 The Left
3 BP 17, KPD 15, WAV 12, Centre Party 10, DKP-DRP 5, SSW 1, Independents 3
4 GB-BHE 27, Centre Party 3
|Name||Party||Beginning of term||End of term||Length of term|
|1||Erich Köhler* (1892–1958)||CDU||7 September 1949||18 October 1950||1 year, 41 days|
|2||Hermann Ehlers** (1904–1954)||CDU||19 October 1950||29 October 1954||4 years, 10 days|
|3||Eugen Gerstenmaier*** (1906–1986)||CDU||16 November 1954||31 January 1969||14 years, 76 days|
|4||Kai-Uwe von Hassel (1913–1997)||CDU||5 February 1969||13 December 1972||3 years, 312 days|
|5||Annemarie Renger† (1919–2008)||SPD||13 December 1972||14 December 1976||4 years, 1 day|
|6||Karl Carstens§ (1914–1992)||CDU||14 December 1976||31 May 1979||2 years, 168 days|
|7||Richard Stücklen (1916–2002)||CSU||31 May 1979||29 March 1983||3 years, 363 days|
|8||Rainer Barzel*** (1924–2006)||CDU||29 March 1983||25 October 1984||1 year, 210 days|
|9||Philipp Jenninger*** (1932-2018)||CDU||5 November 1984||11 November 1988||4 years, 6 days|
|10||Rita Süssmuth (b. 1937)||CDU||25 November 1988||26 October 1998||9 years, 335 days|
|11||Wolfgang Thierse (b. 1943)||SPD||26 October 1998||18 October 2005||6 years, 357 days|
|12||Norbert Lammert (b. 1948)||CDU||18 October 2005||24 October 2017||12 years, 6 days|
|13||Wolfgang Schäuble (b. 1942)||CDU||24 October 2017||present||2 years, 4 days|
*resigned for medical reasons
**died in office
***resigned for political reasons
†first woman to hold the post
§ resigned when he became President of Germany
The most important organisational structures within the Bundestag are parliamentary groups (Fraktionen; sing. Fraktion), which are traditionally formed by political parties who win at least 5% of the "second vote." The CDU and CSU have always formed a single united Fraktion. The size of a party's Fraktion determines the extent of its representation on legislative committees, the time slots allotted for speaking, the number of committee chairs it can hold, and its representation in executive bodies of the Bundestag. The Fraktionen, not the members, receive the bulk of government funding for legislative and administrative activities.
The leadership of each Fraktion consists of a parliamentary party leader, several deputy leaders, and an executive committee. The leadership's major responsibilities are to represent the Fraktion, enforce party discipline and orchestrate the party's parliamentary activities. The members of each Fraktion are distributed among working groups focused on specific policy-related topics such as social policy, economics, and foreign policy. The Fraktion meets every Tuesday afternoon in the weeks in which the Bundestag is in session to consider legislation before the Bundestag and formulate the party's position on it.
Parties that do not cross the 5% threshold but win at least three seats by direct elections (i.e. which have at least three MPs representing a constituency seat) can be granted the status of a group in the Bundestag. This applied to the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) from 1990-1998. This status entails some privileges which are in general less than those of a Fraktion. In the current Bundestag, there are no such groups (the PDS had only two constituency MPs in parliament until 2005 and could thus not even considered a group anymore; the party—now The Left—has held full Fraktion status in the Bundestag since 2005).
The Bundestag's executive bodies include the Council of Elders and the Presidium. The council consists of the Bundestag leadership, together with the most senior representatives of each fraktion, with the number of these representatives tied to the strength of the Parliamentary groups in the chamber. The council is the coordination hub, determining the daily legislative agenda and assigning committee chairpersons based on Parliamentary group representation. The council also serves as an important forum for interparty negotiations on specific legislation and procedural issues. The Presidium is responsible for the routine administration of the Bundestag, including its clerical and research activities. It consists of the chamber's president (usually elected from the largest fraktion) and vice presidents (one from each fraktion).
Most of the legislative work in the Bundestag is the product of standing committees, which exist largely unchanged throughout one legislative period. The number of committees approximates the number of federal ministries, and the titles of each are roughly similar (e.g., defense, agriculture, and labor). There are, as of the current nineteenth Bundestag, 24 standing committees. The distribution of committee chairs and the membership of each committee reflect the relative strength of the various Parliamentary groups in the chamber. In the current nineteenth Bundestag, the CDU/CSU chaired ten committees, the SPD five, the AfD and the FDP three each, The Left and the Greens two each. Members of the opposition party can chair a significant number of standing committees (e.g. the budget committee is always chaired by the biggest opposition party). These committees have either a small staff or no staff at all.
As is the case with some other parliaments, the Bundestag is subject to the principle of discontinuation, meaning that a newly elected Bundestag is legally regarded to be a body and entity completely different from the previous Bundestag. This leads to the result, that any motion, application or action submitted to the previous Bundestag, e.g. a bill referred to the Bundestag by the Federal Government, is regarded as void by non-decision (German terminology: "Die Sache fällt der Diskontinuität anheim"). Thus any bill that has not been decided upon by the beginning of the new electoral period must be brought up by the government again if it aims to uphold the motion, this procedure in effect delaying the passage of the bill. Furthermore, any newly elected Bundestag will have to freshly decide on the rules of procedure (Geschäftsordnung), which is done by a formal decision of taking over such rules from the preceding Bundestag by reference.
Any Bundestag is considered dissolved only once a newly elected Bundestag has actually gathered in order to constitute itself (Article 39 sec. 1 sentence 2 of the Basic Law), which has to happen within 30 days of its election (Article 39 sec. 2 of the Basic Law). Thus, it may happen (and has happened) that the old Bundestag gathers and makes decisions even after the election of a new Bundestag that has not gathered in order to constitute itself. For example, elections to the 16th Bundestag took place on 18 September 2005, but the 15th Bundestag still convened after election day to make some decisions on German military engagement abroad, and was entitled to do so, as the newly elected 16th Bundestag did not convene for the first time until 18 October 2005.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bundestag .|
Germany is a democratic, federal parliamentary republic, where federal legislative power is vested in the Bundestag and the Bundesrat.
The Party of Democratic Socialism was a democratic socialist political party in Germany active between 1989 and 2007. It was the legal successor to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), which ruled the German Democratic Republic as a one-party state until 1990. From 1990 through to 2005, the PDS had been seen as the left-wing "party of the East". While it achieved minimal support in western Germany, it regularly won 15% to 25% of the vote in the eastern new states of Germany, entering coalition governments in the federal states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Berlin.
The President of Germany, officially the Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany, is the head of state of Germany.
A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the voters to a parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this category includes specifically members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title. Member of Congress is an equivalent term in other jurisdictions.
The Federal Convention, also known as the Federal Assembly, is a special constitutional body in the political and federal institutional system of Germany, convened solely for the purpose of electing the President of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundespräsident), either every five years or within 30 days of the premature termination of a presidential term. The Federal Convention mirrors the aggregated majority situation of the Bundestag and the parliaments of the 16 German federal states.
Elections in Germany include elections to the Bundestag, the Landtags of the various states, and local elections.
Federal elections were held in Germany on 16 October 1994 to elect the members of the 13th Bundestag. The CDU/CSU alliance led by Helmut Kohl remained the largest faction in parliament, with Kohl remaining Chancellor. This elected Bundestag was largest in history until 2017, numbering 672 members.
The Cabinet of Germany is the chief executive body of the Federal Republic of Germany. It consists of the Chancellor and cabinet ministers. The fundamentals of the cabinet's organisation as well as the method of its election and appointment as well as the procedure for its dismissal are set down in articles 62 through 69 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz).
The Constitution of the German Empire was the basic law of the German Empire of 1871-1918, from 16 April 1871, coming into effect on 4 May 1871. German historians often refer to it as Bismarck's imperial constitution, in German the Bismarcksche Reichsverfassung (BRV).
Federal elections were held in Germany on 18 September 2005 to elect the members of the 16th Bundestag. This became necessary after a motion of confidence in Chancellor Gerhard Schröder failed on 1 July. Following the defeat of Schröder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) in a state election, Schröder asked his supporters to abstain from the Bundestag motion, knowing the motion would fail and thus triggering an early federal election.
The Left, also commonly referred to as the Left Party, is a democratic socialist political party in Germany. It is considered to be left-wing populist by some researchers. The party was founded in 2007 as the result of the merger of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG). Through the PDS, the party is the direct descendant of the ruling party of the former East Germany (GDR), the Marxist-Leninist Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED).
The German Federal Election System regulates the election of the members of the national parliament, called Bundestag. According to the principles governing the elections laws, set down in Art. 38 of German Basic Law, elections are to be universal, direct, free, equal, and secret. Furthermore, the German Basic Law stipulates that Bundestag elections are to take place every four years and that one can vote, and be elected, upon reaching the age of 18. All other stipulations for the federal elections are regulated by the Federal Electoral Act. Elections always take place on a Sunday. Mail votes are possible upon application.
The Reichstag, officially the Großdeutscher Reichstag after 1938, was the pseudo-Parliament of the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945. Following the Nazi seizure of power and the passing of the Enabling Act of 1933, it met only as a rubber stamp for the actions of Adolf Hitler's dictatorship — always by unanimous consent — and to listen to Hitler's speeches. In this purely ceremonial role, the Reichstag convened only 20 times, the last on 26 April 1942. The President of the Reichstag throughout this period was Hermann Göring.
Federal elections were held in Germany on 24 September 2017 to elect the members of the 19th Bundestag. At stake were all 598 seats in the Bundestag, as well as 111 overhang and leveling seats determined thereafter.
The next German federal election for the 20th Bundestag is expected to be held between August and October 2021.
Dagmar Enkelmann is a German politician.