Documents to download

Germany voted to elect 736 members to the 20th Bundestag. 47 political parties contested the election, with eight winning seats in the chamber.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had already announced she would be standing down after 16 years in office, so the country was set to see a new government formed. Three candidates had a realistic chance of replacing Merkel as chancellor: Annalena Baerbock (Greens), Armin Laschet (Christian Democratic Union – CDU) and Olaf Scholz (Social Democratic Party – SPD).

Climate change was the key issue for most voters during the election campaign, following the devastating flooding that hit western Germany in July. Foreign policy, the European Union and migration received little attention from the candidates.

Bundestag election results

At 6am on 27 September 2021, the Federal Returning Officer released the provisional result of the election to the 20th German Bundestag.

The official, final result of the 2021 election was announced on Friday 15 October 2021, at a public meeting in the German Bundestag in Berlin.

Results showed the centre-left Social Democrats won the most seats, with a narrow lead over the conservative CDU/CSU bloc.

Party No. of valid votes % of valid votes Seats
Social Democratic Party 11,955,434 25.74 206
Christian Democratic Party / Christian Social Union 11,178,298 24.07 197
Alliance 90 / The Greens 6,852,206 14.75 118
Free Democratic Party 5,319,952 11.46 92
Alternativr for Germany 4,803,902 10.34 83
The Left 2,270,906 4.89 39
South Schleswig Voters’ Association 55,578 0.12 1
Other parties 4,005,747 8.63 0
TOTAL 46,442,023 100.00 736

Eight parties are now represented in the Bundestag, an increase from the previous parliament. The South Schleswig Voters’ Association (SSW) was awarded a seat as the party represents national minorities – the Danish and Frisian minorities in Schleswig-Holstein – within the meaning of the Federal Elections Act. As such, the requirement to take five per cent of votes to gain a seat did not apply to the SSW.

This 2021 election was only the second time the SSW secured a seat in the Bundestag; the first time was in the first Bundestag election in 1949.

Despite securing slightly less than five per cent of votes, the Left also got its full proportional allocation of seats as it won three of the first-past-the-post constituency races.

Background to the German general election

On 25 November 2020 the German government set the date for the next general election: 26 September 2021. The chosen date fell between 25 August and 24 October, the window of time determined by the German Constitution.

Those eligible to vote must be aged 18 or older on election day, hold German citizenship, have been living in Germany for a minimum of 3 months and not disqualified from voting.

Some 60.4 million Germans were eligible to vote in the 2021 election, to elect members to the 20th Bundestag.

Each voter had two ballots. The first was a constituency vote, using the “first-past-the-post” system to elect 299 members.

The second was a party list vote to fill the remaining seats in the Bundestag, using the Sainte-Laguë method of proportional representation. This system is said to favour smaller political parties.

Following most elections, the size of the Bundestag has increased, with additional “balance seats” created to ensure that the distribution of the seats reflects the parties’ share of the second votes and that no party receives fewer than its guaranteed minimum number of seats. The previous parliament saw 709 Bundestag members and the new parliament sees a further increase to 736 seats in the Bundestag.

Documents to download

Related posts