A basic German election knowledge base.
1. National elections are held every four years in Germany....state elections every five years...and city elections every five years. Rarely do these occur on the same Sunday, especially for a national election.
2. Elections always occur on a Sunday.
3. Because of a mandatory registration law on the books....when you move from residence to residence or city to city....you must register your location with the local city-hall. That visit also fixes your residence and voting situation. Because of the mandatory photo ID required, that will also be shown as you walk in to vote. Dead people don't vote.....double-voting doesn't occur....and illegal citizens voting doesn't occur. If a city says 99,898 people voted....it's a 100-percent chance that they were all legit. You must be 18 to vote, although some states are pursuing the idea of allowing state elections down to 16 years old.
4. You vote for the party....not so much for the individual. The party will have a meeting (everyone who pays to be a member can have some say), and they will eventually select the Chancellor candidate via that method.
5. The winner party of an election MUST have fifty-percent of the Bundestag membership or have a coalition group (it could be one partner or two partners). You are given roughly 30 days to put together a coalition. If you have no luck, then the number two party could be given a chance to form a coalition. If they fail....a fresh new vote. The coalition is typically built with the division of cabinet posts, and agreed-upon agenda where the partners will go and vote on issues over the next four years. This agreement tends to mean no criticism of a serious nature on various topics between the partners.
6. The Chancellor is the head of government. The President is mostly a ceremonial position. People can vote for the Chancellor....only the Bundestag can vote for the President.
7. A party can be displeased with a member of their group....have a formal meeting....and fire the guy from the party. It would be very unusual. Folks typically resign if it gets this bad.
8. Some free advertising does occur with various parties on public TV. Most of the big-name parties benefit more from weekly public forums where they chat about their policies and suggestions.
9. There are a minimum of forty political parties in Germany. You must have 5-percent of the vote minimum....to sit in the Bundestag. At best....six parties might get enough votes to have a seat. Roughly five-to-eight percent of the nation will typically vote for parties outside of the top six.
10. There are sixteen German states, with various ongoing priorities, scandals, hyped-up arguments, and problems. Parties tend to build their programs or advertised platforms to meet the bulk of voters across those sixteen states.