How is election day going?

The Bundestag is elected every four years. If it is terminated prematurely, the election will be preferred. The last time that happened was in 2005 under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Votes are always held on a Sunday, this year on September 22nd. The polling stations are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Who can vote?

Whoever has a German passport, is of legal age and has had their main residence in Germany for at least three months is allowed to vote. A total of 61.8 million people are eligible to vote.

Where can I choose and what do I need for it?

Every eligible voter receives a "voting notification" by post. The letter states in which polling station he can vote. On election day, every voter must take their identity card or passport with them. Because only those who can identify themselves will receive the voting slip.

How do I vote if I can't go to my polling station?

Anyone who cannot or does not want to go to the polling station assigned to them on election Sunday can vote by post. The so-called "postal vote" must be requested from the local authority. This can be done in writing or in person, but not over the phone. Applications can be submitted at the earliest about four weeks before the election and, for those who decide late, by the Friday evening before.

In order for the completed ballot papers to be available in time for the counting on election Sunday, they should be sent no later than the Wednesday before. You only need a stamp if you vote from abroad.

When are forecasts and results published?

Forecasts and projections may only be announced when the polling stations are closed. The provisional official result will be announced by the Federal Returning Officer. The counting usually lasts until late in the evening.

How will the seats in the Bundestag be distributed after the election?

Each party receives a number of seats in the Bundestag according to its share of second votes. These are only filled with the directly elected candidates. If there are still seats available, they will be given to the candidates on the state lists.

What are overhang mandates and why are they problematic?

If a party wins more direct mandates in the constituencies than it is entitled to through its share of nationwide second votes, it results in overhang mandates. The directly elected candidates still get their seat in the Bundestag and the total number of MPs increases. At the moment there are 620 members of the Bundestag, because the last election in 2009 resulted in 22 overhanging seats.

As a result of overhanging mandates, the distribution of seats in the Bundestag does not necessarily correspond to the shares that the parties received through the second vote of the voters. That is why the Federal Constitutional Court declared the German electoral system unconstitutional last year. The Bundestag then decided to reform the electoral law, which will take effect for the first time in the upcoming election in September.

What's new about the 2013 electoral law?

Overhang mandates are offset so that the distribution of seats corresponds to the proportions that the voters decided with their second vote. For the first time this year, parties can receive compensation mandates.

As a result, the Bundestag can become significantly larger than before. Experts suspect an increase of up to 50 MPs, in extreme cases even 800 seats could be awarded. If the current Bundestag were already composed according to the new electoral law, it would not have 620 but 671 members.

When will the new federal government take office?

After the election, the parties will negotiate who will form a coalition. Once a majority coalition has been found, it agrees on the government program and the ministers. The Bundestag then elects the Chancellor, who is usually the candidate of the strongest coalition party. The Bundestag must meet for the first time no later than 30 days after the election - even if a coalition has not yet been formed.

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