2009 German federal election

2009 German federal election

← 200527 September 2009 (2009-09-27)2013 →

All 598 seats (plus 24 overhangs) in the Bundestag
312 seats were needed for a majority
Registered62,168,489 Increase 0.5%
Turnout44,005,575 (70.8%)
Decrease6.9 pp
 First partySecond partyThird party
 Angela Merkel 2009a (cropped).jpgFrank-Walter Steinmeier 20090902-DSCF9761.jpgGuido Westerwelle 2007 (cropped).jpg
LeaderAngela MerkelFrank‑Walter SteinmeierGuido Westerwelle
Leader since24 September 200218 October 20084 May 2001
Leader's seatNordvorpommern-RügenBrandenburg an der HavelNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Last election226 seats, 35.2%222 seats, 34.2%61 seats, 9.8%
Seats won23914693
Seat changeIncrease13Decrease76Increase32
Popular vote14,658,5159,990,4886,316,080
SwingDecrease1.4 ppDecrease11.2 ppIncrease4.8 pp

 Fourth partyFifth party
 Gregor Gysi y Oskar Lafontaine.jpgJürgen Trittin y Renate Künast 2009.jpg
LeaderGregor Gysi & Oskar LafontaineJürgen Trittin &
Renate Künast
Leader since17 July 2005
30 July 2005
16 November 2008
27 September 2005
Leader's seatBerlin Treptow – Köpenick & SaarlandLower Saxony & Berlin
Last election54 seats, 8.7%51 seats, 8.1%
Seats won7668
Seat changeIncrease22Increase17
Popular vote5,155,9334,643,272
SwingIncrease3.2 ppIncrease2.6 pp

2009 German federal election - Results by state.svg
Results of the second vote by state.

Chancellor before election

Angela Merkel

Elected Chancellor

Angela Merkel

Federal elections took place on 27 September 2009 to elect the members of the 17th Bundestag (parliament) of Germany.[1] Preliminary results showed that the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) won the election, and the three parties announced their intention to form a new centre-right government with Angela Merkel as Chancellor. Their main opponent, Frank-Walter Steinmeier's Social Democratic Party (SPD), conceded defeat.[2] The Christian Democrats previously governed in coalition with the FDP in most of the 1949–1966 governments of Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard and the 1982–1998 governments of Helmut Kohl.


Since the 2005 election, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had governed in a grand coalition with the SPD. However, it was her stated goal to win a majority for CDU/CSU and FDP (the CDU/CSU's traditional coalition partner) in 2009.

Foreign minister and Vice Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) was formally nominated as his party's chancellor-candidate at a convention on 18 October 2008.[3] He aimed to form a government in which the SPD was the strongest party, but which also excluded the left-socialist party The Left.[citation needed]

The election campaign was considered exceptionally boring,[4] which may be attributable to a perceived lack of charisma on the part of the leaders of the CDU and SPD.[5] Another reason pointed to for the sedate campaign is that the CDU and SPD both defended the record of their grand coalition, as well as facing the possibility of having to continue the grand coalition in a friendly manner.[6] Merkel was content with the low-key campaign style, which was largely seen as benefiting her party because of her high approval ratings.[7]

One of the lighter moments in the campaign came when CDU candidate Vera Lengsfeld released a campaign poster featuring herself and Merkel in a way that emphasised their cleavage. The poster bore the slogan "We have more to offer" (German: "Wir haben mehr zu bieten").[8]

The federal election was the final and most important election in what is called a Superwahljahr (super election year) in Germany. In addition to the election of a new Bundestag, also scheduled for 2009 were the election to the European Parliament on 7 June, seven local elections on the same day, five state elections and an additional local election in August and September and the election of the President of Germany by the Federal Assembly on 23 May.