- Bicameral parliament
- Chamber name: German Bundestag (Deutscher Bundestag)
- Members (lower house): 622
- Term: 4 years
- Constituencies: 299 constituencies; 16 multi-member constituencies corresponding to the Länder (component states of the federation).
- Voting system: Mixed: 299 members are elected under the majority (first-past-the post) system and the remaining seats are filled through the proportional representation system using the party list. Each voter has 2 votes: a 'first' for an individual candidate in one of the constituencies (majority system), and 'second vote' for the party list in the Länder. Under the majority system, the candidate having received the highest number of first votes in each constituency is declared elected. Seats under the proportional representation system are distributed according to the Sainte-Laguë/Schepers method. Parties which won at least 5 per cent of the second votes cast nationwide or those which won at least three seats under the majority system are entitled to win seats under the proportional representation system. If a party wins more seats in the majority system (the first vote) than it is entitled to by the results of the proportional representation system (second vote), it can keep the additional seats, called 'overhang seats' (Überhangmandate).
- Voter requirements: 18 years of age; German citizenship; residence in the country for at least 3 months; under certain circumstances, German nationals who have not yet been resident in the country for 3 months or who live outside the country may vote. This applies, for example, to persons who: left the country less than 25 years ago; live outside Germany working as civil servants, soldiers or civil service employees by order of their supreme authority; reside in other EU Member States.
- Voting is not compulsory.
Election results 2009, main parties. National summary
The 2009 elections resulted in the creation of a record 24 overhang seats, up from 16 in the 2005 elections, bringing the total number of seats in the new legislature to 622. The final results gave 194 seats to the CDU, 14 more than it had in the 2005 elections. The CSU took 45 seats. The CDU/CSU's future coalition partner, the FDP, won 93, up from 61, giving Angela Merkel's camp a total of 332 seats. In its worst showing since the end of World War II, the SPD lost 76 seats, dropping to 146. Its rival, the Left Party, won 76 seats, 22 more than in the outgoing legislature. The Green Party took 68, 17 more than in 2005.
On 28 October, the newly elected German Bundestag re-elected Ms. Merkel as Chancellor. Her second government comprised the CDU/CSU and the FDP.