Germany votes: 7 most recent nation-wide elections explained

Angela Merkel at WEF

Germany goes to the polls today. Here’s a run-down of the country’s most recent electoral contests.

1. Election 1990 – CDU/CSU-FDP coalition

The election of 1990 was significant for one major reason: it was the first election to take place following the reunification of the country, which had been divided during the Cold War.

Incumbent chancellor Helmut Kohl and his centre-right CDU/CSU won 319 seats, and formed a coalition with the liberal Free Democratic Party. This was the third CDU/CSU-FDP coalition in a row.

The Party of Democratic Socialism, whose legal predecessor had ruled east Germany since the country was split, won just 17 seats.

2. Election 1994 – CDU/CSU-FDP coalition

At this election, the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition won an historic fourth term in power although both parties suffered losses. The main centre-left party, the SPD, gained a handful of seats while the Greens jumped from eight to 49.

3. Election of 1998 – SPD-Green coalition

This election brought an end to Hermut Koln’s long-rule over Germany. The SPD won the most seats, and Gerhard Schroder became chancellor thanks to a coalition deal between his party and the Greens.

4. Election of 2002 – SPD-Green coalition

At this election, the SPD lost seats while the Greens made eight gains, resulting in a continuation of the red-green alliance, albeit on a very slim majority.

5. Election of 2005 – CDU/CSU-SDP grand coalition

After a motion of confidence defeat for Chancellor Schroder, an early election took place in September. Angela Merkel, who seemingly came from nowhere, ended up as her party’s chancellor-candidate, and became chancellor after the election despite her party losing votes and seats. The SPD also lost seats and votes while the FDP and the PDS made slight gains. The result was a grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD.

6. Election of 2009 – CDU/CSU-FDP coalition

At the 2009 election, Angela Merkel’s party was rewarded while the SPD suffered a heavy defeat. Merkel’s gains, as well as gains for their natural allies the FDP, led to a return of a CDU/CSU-FDP coalition. The new Left party and the Greens also made substantial gains at the election, mainly at the expense of the SPD.

Emmanuel Macron & Merkel European Council meeting

7. Election of 2013 – CDU/CSU-SDP grand coalition

Four years later, Angela Merkel’s party made substantial gains, putting them just a handful of seats away from an overall majority. The party gained 7.8 percentage points compared to the previous election, taking them to 311 seats. Meanwhile, Peer Steinbruk’s SPD gained 47 seats.

One of the most significant features of the election, was that the FDP lost all their seats, leaving them without any federal representation for the first time in their history. This left just four parties in the Bundestag, including the Greens and Left, who both lost seats.

The result of the election was another grand coalition.

What will happen in Germany's ongoing election?