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Germany - Federal Electoral Law

 (Bundewahlgesetz, BGW)

Enacted on 7 May 1956 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 383)

In the version promulgated on 23 July 1993 (Federal Gazette II p. 1288, 1594) most recently
 amended by the law of 15 November 1996 (Federal Gazette I p. 1712)


Table of Contents

Section I Electoral System

Article 1 Composition of the German Bundestag and Principles of Franchise
Article 2 Division of the Electoral Area
Article 3 Constituency Delimitation Commission and Division into Constituencies
Article 4 Votes
Article 5 Polling in the Constituencies
Article 6 Election by Land List
Article 7 Combined Lists

Section II Electoral Bodies

Article 8 Organization of Electoral Bodies
Article 9 Appointment of Electoral Bodies
Article 10 Electoral Committees and Electoral Boards
Article 11 Honorary Posts

Section III Franchise and Eligibility

Article 12 Franchise
Article 13 Disqualification from Voting
Article 14 Exercising the Right to Vote
Article 15 Eligibility to Stand for Parliament
Article 16 Election Day
Article 17 Voters' Register and Polling Cards
Article 18 Right to Nominate Candidates, Notification of Participation
Article 19 Submitting Nominations
Article 20 Content and Form of Constituency Nominations
Article 21 Selection of Party Candidates
Article 22 Spokesmen/Spokeswomen
Article 23 Withdrawal of Constituency Nominations
Article 24 Alteration of Constituency Nominations
Article 25 Remedying Errors and Defects
Article 26 Acceptance of Constituency Nominations
Article 27 Land Lists
Article 28 Acceptance of the Land List
Article 29 Exclusion from the Combination of Land Lists
Article 30 Ballot Papers

Section V The Poll

Article 31 Public Character of the Poll
Article 32 Inadmissible Electioneering and Collection of Signatures, Inadmissible Publication of Opinion Polls
Article 33 Preserving the Secrecy of the Ballot
Article 34 Casting the Vote by Means of Ballot Papers
Article 35 Casting the Vote by Means of Voting Machines
Article 36 Postal Ballot

Section VI Establishment of the Election Result

Article 37 Establishment of the Result in the Polling Districts
Article 38 Establishment of the Result of the Postal Ballot
Article 39 Invalid Votes, Rejection of Postal Ballot Letters, Rules for Establishing Invalidity
Article 40 Decision of the Electoral Board
Article 41 Establishment of the Election Result in the Constituency
Article 42 Establishment of the Election Result for the Land Lists

Section VII Special Regulations for By-Elections and Repeat Elections

Article 43 By-Elections
Article 44 Repeat Elections

Section VIII Attaining and Losing Membership of the Bundestag

Article 45 Attaining Membership of the Bundestag
Article 46 Loss of Membership of the Bundestag
Article 47 Decision on Loss of Membership
Article 48 Appointment of Successors from the Lists and Replacement Elections

Section IX Final Provisions

Article 49 Contestation
Article 49a Regulatory Offences
Article 49b Government Funds for other Constituency Nominations
Article 50 Costs of the Election
Article 51 Election Statistics
Article 52 Federal Election Regulations
Article 53 Transitional Provisions
Article 54 Time Limits and Dates
Article 55 Entry into Force


 

Section I Electoral System

Article 1 Composition of the German Bundestag and Principles of Franchise

(1) Subject to variations resulting from this Law, the German Bundestag shall consist of 656 members. They shall be elected in a general, direct, free, equal and secret ballot by the Germans entitled to vote, in accordance with the principle of proportional representation combined with the personal election of candidates.

(2) Of the members, 328 shall be elected from nominations in the constituencies and the rest from Land nominations (Land lists).

Article 2 Division of the Electoral Area

(1) The area in which this Law applies shall be the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany.

(2) The division of the electoral area into constituencies shall be as shown in the Annex to this Law.

(3) Each constituency shall be divided into polling districts for the purpose of voting.

Article 3 Constituency Delimitation Commission and Division into Constituencies

(1) The Federal President shall appoint a permanent Constituency Delimitation Commission. It shall consist of the President of the Federal Statistical Office, a judge of the Federal Administrative Court, and five other members.

(2) The Commission shall have the task of reporting on population changes in the electoral area and of explaining whether it considers alterations in the delimitation of constituencies to be necessary in the light of such changes and what alterations should be made. In its report it may submit re-delimitation proposals for other reasons as well. In presenting its proposals for the delimitation of constituencies, the Commission shall bear in mind the following principles :

1. The Länder boundaries shall be respected.
2. The population of a constituency should not deviate from the average population of the constituencies by more than 25 per cent in either direction ; where the deviation constitutes more than 33 1/3 per cent, a re-delimitation shall be made.
3. The number of constituencies in the respective Länder should as far as possible correspond to the latter's share of the total population.
4. Each constituency should form a coherent area.
5. Wherever possible, the boundaries of municipalities, districts and towns independent of district administration should be respected.

In the determination of population figures, aliens (Article 1, Paragraph (2) of the Aliens Law) shall not be taken into account.

(3) The report of the Constituency Delimitation Commission shall be rendered to the Federal Ministry of the Interior within fifteen months after the beginning of the legislative term of the Bundestag. The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall immediately forward it to the Bundestag and shall publish it in the Federal Official Bulletin. At the request of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Constituency Delimitation Commission shall render a supplementary report ; in this case the second sentence shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(4) Should Land boundaries be altered in accordance with statutory provisions governing procedures for other changes in the territory of the Länder pursuant to Article 29, Paragraph (7) of the Basic Law, the boundaries of the constituencies affected shall also be altered correspondingly. Should two or more constituencies be affected in the incorporating Land, or should an exclave of a Land be formed, the new territory shall belong to the constituency to which belongs the municipality, the municipal district, or the non-municipal area to which it has been added. Changes in Land boundaries which are made after the thirty-second month after the beginning of the legislative term shall not affect the division into constituencies until the following legislative term.

Article 4 Votes

Each voter shall have two votes, a first vote to be cast for a Member of Parliament representing a constituency and a second vote be cast for a Land list.

Article 5 Polling in the Constituencies

In each constituency one member shall be returned to Parliament. The candidate obtaining the majority of the votes cast shall be deemed elected. Where two or more candidates obtain the same number of votes, the election shall be settled by the Constituency Returning Officer drawing lots.

Article 6 Election by Land List

(1) For the distribution of the seats to be occupied on the basis of Land lists, the second votes cast for each Land list shall be added up. In cases where a successful candidate in a constituency is one who has been nominated in accordance with Article 20, Paragraph (3), or by a party not entitled to submit a Land list in the Land in question, the second votes of those voters whose first votes were cast for him shall be disregarded. There shall be deducted from the total number of Members of Parliament (Article 1, Paragraph (1)) the number of successful constituency members referred to in the second sentence above or nominated by parties which, in accordance with Paragraph (6) of the present Article, are not to be taken into consideration.

(2) The remaining seats pursuant to the third sentence of Paragraph (1) shall be distributed among the Land lists on the basis of the second votes to be taken into account according to the first and second sentences of Paragraph (1), as follows. The total number of seats remaining shall be multiplied by the number of second votes cast for each Land list in the election area and the product divided by the sum total of second votes for all Land lists to be taken into account. First, each Land list shall receive one seal for each whole number attributed to it. The remaining seats shall be allocated in the descending sequence of decimal fractions resulting from the calculation according to the second sentence of this Paragraph. In case of equal fractions the assignment of the last seat shall be decided by the Federal Returning Officer drawing lots.

(3) If according to the distribution described in Paragraph (2) a Land list that has attracted more than one half of the total number of second votes of all Land lists to be taken into account does not receive more than one half of the seats available it shall, notwithstanding the fourth and fifth sentences of Paragraph (2), be allocated an additional seat. The seats then remaining shall be distributed according to the fourth and fifth sentences of Paragraph (2).

(4) From the number of members thus arrived at for each Land list shall be deducted the number of seats won by the party in question in the constituencies of the respective Land. The remaining seats shall be filled from the Land list concerned in the order laid down therein. Candidates who have been elected in a constituency shall be disregarded in the Land list. Should more seats be assigned to a land list than there are candidates nominated in it, these seats shall remain vacant.

(5) A party shall retain all the seats it has gained in the constituencies even if they exceed the number arrived at in accordance with Paragraphs (2) and (3). In this event the total number of seats (Article 1, Paragraph (1)) shall be increased by the difference in the numbers ; renewed calculation as under Paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Article shall not take place.

(6) In distributing the seats among the Land lists, only such parties shall be taken into consideration as have obtained at least five per cent of the valid second votes cast in the electoral area or have won a seat in at least three constituencies. The first sentence shall not apply to lists submitted by parties representing national minorities.

Article 7 Combined Lists

(1) Unless it is declared that one or more Land lists concerned are to be excluded from the combination of lists, Land lists of the same party shall be deemed to be combined.

(2) In the distribution of seats, combined lists shall be considered to be a single list in relation to the other lists.

(3) The seats assigned to a combined list shall be distributed among the Land lists concerned in accordance with Article 6, Paragraph (2). Article 6, Paragraphs (4) and (5), shall apply mutatis mutandis. Top

Section II Electoral Bodies

Article 8 Organization of Electoral Bodies

(1) Electoral bodies shall be

the Federal Returning Officer and the Federal Electoral Committee for the Electoral Area,

a Land Returning Officer and a Land Electoral Committee for each Land,

a Constituency Returning Officer and a Constituency Electoral Committee for each constituency,

an Electoral Officer and an Electoral Board for each polling district, and

at least one Electoral Officer and an Electoral Board in each constituency to establish the results of the postal ballot. The number of Electoral Boards necessary to complete the counting of the postal votes on election day shall be determined by the Constituency Returning Officer.

(2) For several neighbouring constituencies a Joint Constituency Returning Officer may be appointed and a Joint Electoral Committee formed ; the order shall be made by the Land Returning Officer.

(3) To establish the results of the postal ballot, Electoral Officers and Electoral Boards need not be appointed for every constituency but for one or several municipalities or for each district in the constituency. The order shall be made by the Land Government or the agency designated by it.

Article 9 Appointment of Electoral Bodies

(1) The Federal Returning Officer and his Deputy shall be appointed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior ; the Land Returning Officers, Constituency Returning Officers and Electoral Officers and their Deputies shall be appointed by the Land Government or the agency designated by it.

(2) The Federal Electoral Committee shall be composed of the Federal Returning Officer as Chairman and eight persons entitled to vote appointed by him as Committee Members. The other Electoral Committees shall be composed of the Returning Officer as Chairman and of six persons entitled to vote appointed by him as Committee Members. The Electoral Boards shall be composed of the Electoral Officer as Chairman, of his Deputy and of another three to five persons entitled to vote appointed as Board Members by the Electoral Officer ; the Land Government or the agency designated by it may order that the members of the Electoral Board shall be appointed by the local authority and the members of the Electoral Board for the establishment of the results of the postal ballot by the Constituency Returning Officer, in the event of an order pursuant to Article 8, Paragraph (3), by the local authority or county authority alone or in consultation with the Electoral Officer. In appointing Committee Members and Board Members, regard shall as far as possible be paid to the political parties represented in the polling district concerned.

(3) No person may be a member of more than one electoral body. Candidates standing for election, spokesmen/spokeswomen for nominations and deputy spokesmen/spokeswomen may not be appointed to membership of an electoral body.

Article 10 Electoral Committees and Electoral Boards

(1) The Electoral Committees and Electoral Boards shall meet, confer and reach their decisions in public session. When otherwise not stipulated by this Law, decisions shall be taken by majority vote ; in the case of a tie the Chairman shall have the casting vote.

(2) The members of the electoral bodies, their deputies and the keeper of the minutes shall be bound to perform the duties of their offices impartially and to maintain secrecy regarding information to which they have access as a result of their official duties.

Article 11 Honorary Posts

The Members of the Electoral Committees and the Members of the Electoral Boards shall perform their functions in an honorary capacity. Every person entitled to vote shall be bound to accept this honorary post if it is offered to him or her. The honorary post may be refused only on substantial grounds. Top

Section III Franchise and Eligibility

Article 12 Franchise

(1) All Germans within the meaning of Article 116, Paragraph (1) of the Basic Law shall be entitled to vote, provided that on the day of the election they

1. have reached the age of 18 years,
2. have had a domicile or have otherwise been permanently resident for at least three months in the Federal Republic of Germany, and
3. are not disqualified from voting under Article 13.

(2) Also entitled to vote, provided they fulfill the other conditions, are Germans within the meaning of Article 116, Paragraph (1) of the Basic law who, on the day of the election,

1. as civil servants, soldiers, employees and workers in the public service are domiciled or otherwise permanently resident outside the Federal Republic of Germany by order of their employer, and the members of their households,
2. reside in the territories of the other member states of the Council of Europe and, prior to leaving the Federal Republic, have since 23 May 1949 had a domicile or otherwise been permanently resident for at least three months continuously within the Federal Republic of Germany,
3. reside in other territories outside the Federal Republic of Germany, provided that, prior to leaving that area, they have had a domicile or otherwise been permanently resident for at least three months continuously within the Federal Republic of Germany, and provided that no more than ten years have elapsed since they left. This applies mutatis mutandis to seamen on vessels not flying the Federal Flag, as well as the members of their households.

Upon their return to the Federal Republic of Germany, the period of three months provided for in Paragraph (1), No. 2 above shall not apply. For the application of Nos. 2 and 3, a previous domicile or residence in the area stipulated in Article 3 of the Unification Treaty is to be taken into account.

(3) For the purposes of this Law, a domicile shall be any enclosed space which is used for dwelling or sleeping. Caravans and house-boats, however, shall only be considered to be domiciles if they are not or only occasionally moved.

(4) To the extent that any of the persons mentioned hereunder does not have or has not had a domicile in the Federal Republic of Germany, the following shall be considered a domicile within the meaning of Paragraph (1). No. 2 or Paragraph (2), Nos. 2 and 3 :

1. for seamen and the members of their households, the ship occupied by them if the ship is entitled to fly the Federal Flag under the Flag Law (in the version promulgated on 4 July 1990, Federal Law Gazette 1, p. 1342) in the version applicable at the time,
2. for boatmen in inland navigation and the members of their households, the vessel occupied by them if the vessel is enrolled in a ship's register within the Federal Republic of Germany,
3. for persons serving a term of imprisonment imposed by a court of law as well as for other persons accommodated in an institution, the detention establishment or the respective institution.

(5) In calculating the three-month period pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 1 and Paragraph (2), Nos. 2 and 3, the day on which the domicile is occupied or the residence is begun shall be included.

Article 13 Disqualification from Voting

A person shall be disqualified from voting if

1. he or she is not entitled to vote owing to a judicial decision.
2. a custodian has been appointed not only through a restraining order to attend to all his or her affairs ; this also applies when the custodian's sphere of duties does not include the affairs set forth in Article 1896, Paragraph (4) and Article 1905 of the Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch),
3. he or she is accommodated in a psychiatric hospital under an order pursuant to Article 63 in conjunction with Article 20 of the Penal Code.

 

Article 14 Exercising the Right to Vote

(1) Only such persons as are entered in a voters' register or have a polling card shall be permitted to vote.

(2) Anyone entered in a voters' register may only vote in the polling district of the voters' register in which he or she is entered.

(3) Anyone possessing a polling card may vote in the constituency in which the polling card was issued

a) by casting his or her vote in any polling district of this constituency, or
b) by postal ballot.

(4) Each person entitled to vote may vote only once and must do so personally.

Article 15 Eligibility to Stand for Parliament

(1) There shall be eligible to stand for parliament only such persons as, on election day,

1. have been Germans within the meaning of Article 116, Paragraph (1) of the Basic Law for at least one year, and
2. have reached the age of 18 years.

(2) A person shall be ineligible to stand for parliament if

1. he or she is disqualified from voting under Article 13,
2. he or she has been deprived by judicial decision of eligibility to stand for parliament or of qualification to hold public office, or
3. without possessing German citizenship, he or she is a German within the meaning of Article 116, Paragraph (1) of the Basic Law and has attained this legal status by renouncing German citizenship under the Law for the Regulation of Questions of Citizenship of 22 February 1955 (Federal Law Gazette 1, p. 65). Section IV Preparations for the Election

 

Article 16 Election Day

The Federal President shall decide the day on which the general election is to take place (election day). The election day must fall on a Sunday or on a statutory public holiday.

Article 17 Voters' Register and Polling Cards

(1) The local authorities shall maintain a register of persons entitled to vote for each polling district. The voters' register shall be laid out on display for the general public on working days from the twentieth until the sixteenth day before the election.

(2) A person entitled to vote who is prevented from casting his or her vote in the polling district of the voters' register in which he or she is entered, or has not been entered in the voters' register for reasons outside his control, shall be issued with a polling card on application.

Article 18 Right to Nominate Candidates, Notification of Participation

(1) Nominations of candidates may be submitted by parties and, in accordance with Article 20, by persons entitled to vote.

(2) A party which has not been continuously represented by at least five representatives in the Bundestag or in a Landtag (state parliament) since the last election on the basis of nominations made by the party itself may only submit a nomination as a party if it has announced its intended participation in the election to the Federal Returning Officer in writing not later than the ninetieth day before the election and has been recognized as a party by the Federal Electoral Committee. Such notification must include the name to be used by the party in the election. It must be personally signed by at least three members of the national executive committee, including the chairman or his deputy. If a party does not have a national executive committee, the management committee of the party's principle organization shall function in its place. The party's written statutes and written programme as well as proof that the executive committee has been duly appointed in accordance with the statutes shall accompany the notification.

(3) The Federal Returning Officer shall examine the notification pursuant to Paragraph (2) immediately upon receiving it. If it is incomplete he shall inform the executive committee without delay, requesting that the missing information be furnished. After the time limit for the submission of such notification has expired, only deficiencies in otherwise valid notifications may be rectified. A notification shall not be deemed valid if

1. the form or time-limit prescribed in Paragraph (2) has not been complied with,
2. the name of the party has not been included,
3. the valid signatures necessary pursuant to Paragraph (2) and the documents to be submitted with the notification are missing, unless such documents cannot be submitted in time as a result of circumstances for which the party cannot be held responsible,
4. the members of the executive or management committee have not been properly designated, with the result that the names of the persons concerned have not been determined.

Once a decision recognizing a party has been taken, any further action to remove deficiencies shall be ruled out. The party's executive committee may appeal to the Federal Electoral Committee against decisions by the Federal Returning Officer pertaining to the removal of deficiencies.

(4) The Federal Electoral Committee shall establish not later than the seventy-second day before the election the following, which shall be binding on all electoral bodies :

1. which parties have been continuously represented in the Bundestag or in a Landtag since the last election to the one or the other by at least five representatives nominated by the party itself, and
2. which associations, having announced their participation pursuant to Paragraph (2), shall be recognized as parties for the election. A two thirds majority is necessary to refuse recognition as a party for the election.

(5) A party may submit only one constituency nomination for each constituency and only one Land list for each Land.

Article 19 Submitting Nominations

Constituency nominations shall be submitted in writing to the Constituency Returning Officer, and Land lists to the Land Returning Officer not later than 6 p.m. on the sixty-sixth day before the election.

Article 20 Content and Form of Constituency Nominations

(1) A constituency nomination may only contain the name of one candidate. Each candidate may only be named in one constituency and there only in one nomination. A person may only be nominated if he or she has given his or her consent in writing ; such consent shall be irrevocable.

(2) Constituency nominations by parties must bear the personal and handwritten signatures of the executive committee of the Land party organization or, where such Land organizations do not exist, the personal and handwritten signatures of the executive committees of the next lower regional organizations (Article 7, Paragraph (2) of the Law on Political Parties) in whose area the constituency is situated. Constituency nominations by parties referred to in Article 18, Paragraph (2) above must in addition bear the personal and handwritten signatures of at least 200 persons entitled to vote from the constituency ; entitlement to vote must exist at the time of signing the nomination and proof thereof must be furnished with the nomination. The requirement to present 200 signatures shall not apply to constituency nominations by parties representing national minorities.

(3) Other constituency nominations must bear the personal and handwritten signatures of at least 200 persons entitled to vote from the constituency concerned. Paragraph (2), second sentence shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(4) Constituency nominations by parties must contain the name of the party submitting them as well as any shortened form of its name if such form is used by it ; other constituency nominations must show a distinctive code name.

Article 21 Selection of Party Candidates

(1) A person may only be named as candidate of a party in a constituency if he or she has been selected for this purpose in an assembly of party members for the selection of a constituency candidate or in a special or general assembly of party representatives. An assembly of party members for the selection of a constituency candidate shall be an assembly of members of the party who at the time of their meeting are entitled to vote in the election to the Bundestag within their constituency. A special assembly of party representatives shall be an assembly of delegates elected by such an assembly of party members from their own ranks. A general assembly of party representatives shall be an assembly appointed in general by such an assembly of party members from their own ranks in view of forthcoming elections in accordance with the statutes of the party concerned (Article 6 of the Law on Political Parties).

(2) Where districts and towns independent of district administration comprise several constituencies, the candidates for those constituencies of which the area does not intersect the boundary of the district or of the town independent of district administration may be selected in a joint assembly of members or representatives.

(3) The candidates and the representatives for the assemblies of representatives shall be selected by secret ballot. Elections may take place at the earliest thirty-two months, in the case of the representatives' assembly at the earliest twenty-three months, after the beginning of the legislative term of the German Bundestag ; this shall not apply if the term ends prematurely.

(4) The executive committee of the Land party organization or, where such Land organizations do not exist, the executive committees of the next lower regional organizations (Article 7, Paragraph (2) of the Law on Political Parties) in whose area the constituency is situated, or another body provided for this purpose in the party's statutes, may object to the decision of an assembly of members or delegates. If such objection is raised, the ballot shall be repeated. Its result shall be final.

(5) Further details regarding the election of representatives for the delegates' assembly, the convening and the quorum of the assembly of members or delegates, as well as the procedure for the selection of the candidate, shall be regulated by the parties concerned in accordance with their statutes.

(6) One copy of the record of the selection of the candidate, with details as to the place and time of the assembly, the form of the invitation the number of members attending and the result of the ballot, shall be submitted together with the constituency nomination. In so doing, the chairman of the assembly and two participants designated by it shall give to the Constituency Returning Officer an assurance in lieu of an oath to the effect that the selection of the candidates has taken place by secret ballot. The Constituency Returning Officer shall have competence to administer such an assurance in lieu of an oath ; he shall be deemed to constitute an authority within the meaning of Article 156 of the Penal Code.

Article 22 Spokesmen/Spokeswomen

(1) In every constituency nomination a spokesperson and a deputy spokesperson should be designated. If such designation is not made, the first signatory shall be considered to be the spokesperson and the second to be his/her deputy.

(2) Unless provided otherwise in this Law only the spokesperson and his/her deputy each for himself/herself shall be entitled to make and receive binding statements concerning the constituency nomination.

(3) The spokesperson and his/her deputy may be removed from their posts and replaced by others through a written statement addressed to the Constituency Returning Officer by the majority of the signatories of the constituency nomination.

Article 23 Withdrawal of Constituency Nominations

A constituency nomination may be withdrawn by a joint written statement of the spokesperson and his/her deputy, provided no decision has yet been reached as to its acceptance. A constituency nomination signed by at least 200 persons entitled to vote may also be withdrawn by the majority of the signatories through a statement bearing their personal and handwritten signatures.

Article 24 Alteration of Constituency Nominations

After the expiration of the period for submitting nominations, a constituency nomination may be altered only through a joint statement in writing by the spokesperson and his/her deputy and only if the candidate has died or has become ineligible to stand for parliament. The procedure laid down in Article 21 need not be adhered to and the signatures as provided in Article 20, Paragraphs (2) and (3) shall not be required. After a decision has been made on the acceptance of a constituency nomination (Article 26, Paragraph (1), first sentence) alterations of any kind shall be excluded.

Article 25 Remedying Errors and Defects

(1) The Constituency Returning Officer shall examine constituency nominations immediately upon their receipt. If he discovers errors or defects in a constituency nomination he shall immediately notify the spokesperson and demand that such errors or defects as can be corrected be remedied in due time.

(2) After expiration of the period for submitting nominations, errors or defects may only be remedied in nominations which are otherwise valid. A nomination shall not be valid if

1. the form and period prescribed under Article 19 have not been adhered to,
2. the valid signatures required pursuant to Article 20, Paragraph (2), first and second sentences, and Paragraph (3), together with proof that the signatories are entitled to vote are missing, unless such proof cannot be furnished in time due to circumstances for which the person entitled to make the nomination is not responsible,
3. in the case of a party nomination, the name of the party has been omitted, the necessary recognition of party status under Article 18, Paragraph (2) above has been refused, or the evidence required under Article 21 has not been furnished,
4. the candidate is inadequately described, so that his or her identity cannot be established,
5. the candidate's written consent is lacking.

(3) After the decision has been made on the acceptance of a constituency nomination (Article 26, Paragraph (1), first sentence), no remedying of errors and defects shall be permissible.

(4) The spokesperson may appeal to the Constituency Electoral Committee against instructions given by the Constituency Returning Officer in proceedings for the remedying of errors and defects.

Article 26 Acceptance of Constituency Nominations

(1) The Constituency Electoral Committee shall decide on the acceptability of constituency nominations on the fifty-eighth day before the election. It shall reject nominations if they

1. are submitted too late, or
2. do not meet the requirements established by this Law and by the Federal Election Regulations, unless laid down otherwise in these provisions.

The decision shall be announced at the meeting of the Constituency Electoral Committee.

(2) If the Constituency Electoral Committee rejects a constituency nomination an appeal may be made to the Land Electoral Committee within three days after the announcement of the decision. The spokesperson for the constituency nomination, the Federal Returning Officer, and the Constituency Returning Officer shall be entitled to appeal. The Federal Returning Officer and the Constituency Returning Officer may also appeal against a decision by which a constituency nomination is accepted. The persons concerned attending the appeal proceedings shall be heard. The decision on the appeal must be taken not later than the fifty-second day before the election.

(3) The Constituency Returning Officer shall publish the accepted constituency nominations not later than the forty-eighth day before the election.

Article 27 Land Lists

(1) Land lists may only be submitted by political parties. They must bear the personal and handwritten signatures of the executive committee of the Land party organization or, where Land organizations do not exist, those of the executive committees of the next lower regional organizations (Article 7, Paragraph (2), of the Law on Political Parties) existing within the territory of the Land ; moreover, in the case of the political parties mentioned in Article 18, Paragraph (2), they must be so signed by one per thousand of the persons entitled to vote in the Land at the last elections to the Bundestag, but by not more than 2,000 persons entitled to vote. Persons signing the Land list of one of the parties referred to in Article 18, Paragraph (2) must be entitled to vote at the time of signing the list ; proof of this entitlement must also be furnished when submitting the Land lists. The requirement to present additional signatures shall not apply to Land lists of parties representing national minorities.

(2) Land lists must show the name of the party submitting them as well as any shortened form of its name if such form is used by it.

(3) The names of the candidates must be listed in recognizable sequence.

(4) A candidate may only be nominated in one Land, and there only in one Land list. Only such persons as have given their consent in writing may be named in a Land list ; such consent shall be irrevocable.

(5) Article 21, Paragraphs (1), (3), (5) and (6), as well as Articles 22 to 25 shall apply mutatis mutandis, provided that the assurance in lieu of an oath to be given under Article 21, Paragraph (6), second sentence shall also cover an assurance to the effect that the sequence of the names of candidates shown in the Land list has been laid down by secret ballot.

Article 28 Acceptance of the Land List

(1) The Land Electoral Committee shall decide on the acceptance of the Land lists on the fifty-eighth day before the election. It shall reject Land lists if they

1. are submitted too late, or
2. do not meet the requirements established by this Law and by the Federal Election Regulations, unless laid down otherwise in these provisions.

If a list fails to meet the requirements in respect only of individual candidates their names shall be deleted from the Land list. The decison shall be made public in the meeting of the Land Electoral Committee.

(2) If the Land Electoral Committee rejects a Land list wholly or in part, an appeal may be made to the Federal Electoral Committee within three days after the announcement of the decision. The spokesperson for the Land list and the Land Returning Officer shall be entitled to appeal. The Land Returning Officer may also appeal against a decision by which a Land list is accepted. The persons concerned attending the appeal proceedings shall be heard. The decision on the appeal must be taken not later than the fifty-second day before the election.

(3) The Land Returning Officer shall publish the accepted Land lists not later than the forty-eighth day before the election.

Article 29 Exclusion from the Combination of Land Lists

(1) Exclusion from the combination of Land lists (Article 7) shall be notified to the Federal Returning Officer by the spokesperson for the Land list concerned and his/her deputy by means of a joint written statement not later than 6 p.m. on the thirty-fourth day before the election.

(2) The Federal Electoral Committee shall decide on the statements under Paragraph (1) above not later than the thirtieth day before the election, Article 28, Paragraph (1) second sentence shall apply mutatis mutandis. The decision shall be made public in the meeting of the Federal Electoral Committee.

(3) Not later than the twenty-sixth day before the election the Federal Returning Officer shall publish the combinations of lists and the Land lists for which a statement has been made under Paragraph (1) above.

Article 30 Ballot Papers

(1) The ballot papers, their envelopes and the envelopes for the postal ballot (Article 36, Paragraph (1)) shall be officially manufactured.

(2) The ballot paper shall contain

1. for the constituency elections, the names of the candidates of the accepted constituency nominations ; additionally, in the case of constituency nominations by parties, it shall show the names of these parties as well as any shortened form of their names if such form is used by them, while in respect of other constituency nominations it shall, moreover, bear the distinctive code name.
2. for elections by Land lists, the names of the parties and any shortened form of their names if such form is used by them, as well as the names of the first five candidates on the Land lists accepted.

(3) The order of the Land lists of parties which were represented in the last Bundestag shall be determined by the number of second votes which each obtained at the last Bundestag election in the Land concerned. The remainder of the Land lists shall follow in the alphabetical order of the names of the parties. The order of the constituency nominations shall be the same as the order of the corresponding Land lists. Other constituency nominations shall follow in the alphabetical order of the names of the parties or of the code names. Top

Section V The Poll

Article 31 Public Character of the Poll

Polling shall be public. The electoral board may eject from the polling station any persons causing a disturbance.

Article 32 Inadmissible Electioneering and Collection of Signatures, Inadmissible Publication of Opinion Polls

(1) In and at the entrance to the building in which the polling station is located it shall be forbidden to influence voters in any way by word, sound, writing, or image or by collecting signatures.

(2) The results of opinion polls after votes have been cast may not be published before the expiry of the time prescribed for the election.

Article 33 Preserving the Secrecy of the Ballot

(1) Measures shall be taken to ensure that the voter cannot be observed while marking his or her ballot paper and placing it in the envelope. Ballot boxes for the reception of the envelopes must be such that they ensure the preservation of the secrecy of the ballot.

(2) A voter who is illiterate or who is prevented by a physical handicap from marking the ballot paper, from placing it in the envelope, from handing the envelope over to the Electoral Officer or from placing it into the ballot box himself or herself, may be aided by another person.

Article 34 Casting the Vote by Means of Ballot Papers

(1) Votes shall be cast by using official ballot papers in official envelopes.

(2) The voter shall

1. cast his or her first vote by marking the ballot paper with a cross or other sign clearly indicating for which candidate the vote is intended, and
2. cast his or her second vote by marking the ballot paper with a cross or other sign clearly indicating for which Land list the vote is intended.

 

Article 35 Casting the Vote by Means of Voting Machines

(1) In order to facilitate the casting and counting of votes, voting machines equipped with independent registers may be used instead of ballot papers, envelopes and ballot boxes.

(2) Voting machines within the meaning of Paragraph (1) above must guarantee the secrecy of voting. They must be officially licensed in their design to be used at elections to the Bundestag for individual elections or on a general scale. The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall decide on the licensing of a voting machine on the application of its manufacturer. The use of an officially licensed voting machine shall be subject to approval by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Such approval may be pronounced in respect of individual elections or with general effect.

(3) The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall be authorized to issue detailed regulations by statutory ordinance not requiring the approval of the Bundesrat (Länder chamber) concerning :

1. the conditions for the official licensing of the design of voting machines as well as for the withdrawal and the revocation of the licence,
2. the procedure governing the official licensing of the design,
3. the procedure governing the examination of a voting machine as to the type corresponding to the officially licensed design,
4. the public testing of a voting machine prior to its use,
5. the procedure governing the official approval of the use as well as the withdrawal and the revocation of the approval,
6. the particularities contingent upon the use of voting machines in relation to the election.

In the cases provided for in Nos. 1 and 3, the statutory ordinance shall be issued in agreement with the Federal Ministry of Economics.

(4) As regards the operation of a voting machine, Article 33, Paragraph (1), first sentence and Paragraph (2) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 36 Postal Ballot

(1) If voting by postal ballot, the voter shall send in a sealed postal ballot envelope to the Constituency Returning Officer of the constituency in which his or her polling card was issued :

a) his or her polling card and,
b) in a separate sealed envelope, his or her ballot paper,

early enough to ensure that the postal ballot letter will arrive not later than 6 p.m. on election day. Article 33, Paragraph (2) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) On the polling card the voter or assisting person shall give an assurance in lieu of an oath to the Constituency Returning Officer that the ballot paper has been marked either personally or in accordance with the declared intent of the voter. The Constituency Returning Officer shall have competence to administer such an assurance in lieu of an oath ; he shall be deemed to constitute an authority within the meaning of Article 156 of the Penal Code.

(3) In the event of an order by the Land government or by an agency designated by it pursuant to Article 8, Paragraph (3), the place of the Constituency Returning Officer referred in Paragraph (1), first sentence and in Paragraph (2) shall be taken by the local authority that has issued the voting cards or the administrative authority of the county in which the local authority is situated.

(4) Postal ballot letters may be posted as standard mail without any special form of dispatch, free of charge, if contained in official election envelopes. If the sender chooses a special form of dispatch he must pay the amount in excess of the otherwise applicable letter rate. The Federal Government shall pay the postal service department (POSTDIENST) of the Deutsche Bundespost the valid letter rate for every official election envelope forwarded by it, posted unstamped, or sent by special mail. Top

Section VI Establishment of the Election Result

Article 37 Establishment of the Result in the Polling Districts

After the closing of the poll the Electoral Board shall establish how many votes have been cast in the polling district for the individual constituency nominations and Land lists.

Article 38 Establishment of the Result of the Postal Ballot

The Electoral Board appointed for the postal ballot shall establish how many postal votes have been cast for the individual constituency nominations and Land lists.

Article 39 Invalid Votes, Rejection of Postal Ballot Letters, Rules for Establishing Invalidity

(1) Votes shall be invalid if the ballot paper

1. has not been handed over in an official voting envelope,
2. has been handed over in a voting envelope which evidently differs from the other envelopes in a manner endangering the secrecy of the ballot, or which contains a distinctly tangible object,
3. has not been officially manufactured or is valid for another constituency,
4. shows no marking,
5. does not reflect the voter's intent beyond any doubt,
6. contains any addendum or reservation.

In the cases mentioned under Nos. 1 to 4, both votes shall be invalid.

(2) Several ballot papers contained in a voting envelope shall be considered to be one ballot paper if their wording is identical or if only one of them has been marked, otherwise they shall count as one ballot paper with two invalid votes.

(3) If the voting envelope has been handed over empty, both votes shall be considered to be invalid. Where only one vote has been cast on the ballot paper, the vote not cast shall be invalid.

(4) If voting is by postal ballot, postal ballot letters shall be rejected if

1. the postal ballot letter has not arrived in time,
2. no or no valid ballot paper is enclosed in the postal ballot envelope,
3. no voting envelope is annexed to the postal ballot envelope,
4. neither the postal ballot envelope nor the voting envelope is sealed,
5. the postal ballot envelope contains several voting envelopes but not an equal number of valid polling cards bearing the prescribed assurance in lieu of an oath,
6. the voter or the person of his or her confidence has failed to sign the prescribed assurance in lieu of an oath for the postal ballot on the polling card,
7. no official voting envelope has been used,
8. a voting envelope has been used which evidently differs from the other envelopes in a manner endangering the secrecy of the ballot, or which contains a distinctly tangible object.

The senders of postal ballot letters that are rejected shall not be counted as voters ; their votes shall be deemed not to have been cast.

(5) The votes of a voter having taken part in the postal ballot shall not become invalid if he dies before or on election day or is disqualified from voting pursuant to Article 13.

Article 40 Decision of the Electoral Board

The Electoral Board shall decide on the validity of the votes cast and on any queries and objections arising during the poll and during the counting of votes. The Constituency Electoral Committee shall have a right of verification.

Article 41 Establishment of the Election Result in the Constituency

(1) The Constituency Electoral Committee shall establish how many votes have been cast in the constituency for the individual constituency nominations and Land lists, and which candidate has been elected Deputy for the constituency.

(2) The Constituency Returning Officer shall notify the candidate who has been elected Deputy for the Constituency and shall invite him to state in writing within a week whether he accepts the election.

Article 42 Establishment of the Election Result for the Land Lists

(1) The Land Electoral Committee shall establish how many votes have been cast in the Land for the individual Land lists.

(2) The Federal Electoral Committee shall establish how many seats have been won by the individual Land lists and which candidates have been elected.

(3) The Land Returning Officer shall notify the elected candidates and invite them to state in writing within a week whether they accept the election.

Section VII Special Regulations for By-Elections and Repeat Elections

Article 43 By-Elections

(1) A by-election shall take place

1. if an election has not been held in a constituency or a polling district,
2. if a constituency candidate dies after the acceptance of his or her nomination but before the election.

(2) In the event of Paragraph (1), No. 1, the by-election should take place not later than three weeks after the date of the general elections. In the event of Paragraph (1), No. 2, the by-election should take place not later than six weeks after the date of the general elections. The date of the by-election shall be determined by the Land Returning Officer.

(3) The by-election shall be subject to the same regulations and shall take place on the same basis as the general elections.

Article 44 Repeat Elections

(1) If an election is declared wholly or partly invalid as a result of the scrutiny proceedings, it shall be repeated as required by the respective decision.

(2) The repeat election shall be subject to the same regulations as the general elections, it shall be held with the same nominations and, provided less than six months have passed since the general elections, on the basis of the same register of voters, unless the decision reached under the scrutiny procedure shall prescribe otherwise with regard to nominations of candidates and registers of voters.

(3) The repeat election must take place not later than sixty days after the decision by which the election was declared invalid has become legally effective. Where the election has been declared only partially invalid, there shall be no repeat election if it is certain that a new Bundestag will be elected within six months. The date of the repeat election shall be determined by the Land Returning Officer or, in the case of a repeat election for the whole electoral area, by the Federal President.

(4) The election results shall be newly established on the basis of the repeat election, in accordance with the regulations laid down in Section VI, Article 41, Paragraph (2) and Article 42, Paragraph (3) shall apply mutatis mutandis. Top

Section VIII Attaining and Losing Membership of the Bundestag

Article 45 Attaining Membership of the Bundestag

An elected candidate shall attain membership of the Bundestag upon receipt by the appropriate Returning Officer of his letter of acceptance within the period and in the form prescribed in Article 41, Paragraph (2) or Article 42, Paragraph (3), but not before the expiration of the period of legislature of the last Bundestag and, in the case of Article 44, Paragraph (4), not before the withdrawal of the member elected as a result of the original election. If the elected candidate fails to send or does not in due form send a letter of acceptance before the expiration of the legally prescribed period, the election shall be considered accepted as at the time of expiration. An acceptance under reserve shall count as a refusal. Statements of acceptance and refusal shall be irrevocable.

Article 46 Loss of Membership of the Bundestag

(1) A deputy shall lose his or her membership of the Bundestag

1. if the attainment of membership is invalid,
2. if the election result is newly established,
3. if he or she loses one of the prerequisites for permanent eligibility,
4. by resigning,
5. if the Federal Constitutional Court finds in accordance with Article 21, Paragraph (2), second sentence of the Basic Law that the political party or party section of which the deputy is a member is unconstitutional.

Any grounds for loss of membership as may be laid down in other statutory provisions shall not be affected.

(2) A deputy whose election in the constituency is invalid shall nevertheless retain his or her membership of the Bundestag if he or she was at the same time elected on a Land list but was disregarded pursuant to Article 6, Paragraph (4), third sentence.

(3) Resignation shall only be effective if it is declared in writing to the President of the Bundestag, to a German notary having his seat within the area of application of this Law, or to a member of a German mission abroad who is authorized to authenticate documents. The deputy shall be required to transmit to the President of the Bundestag the declaration of resignation attested by a notary or presented to a mission abroad. The resignation shall be irrevocable.

(4) If a party or section of a party is declared unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court in accordance with Article 21, Paragraph (2), second sentence of the Basic Law, the deputies shall lose their membership of the Bundestag, and their successors on the list shall lose their candidacy, if they have been members of that party or party section during the period between the filing of the application (Article 43 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court) and the pronouncement of the decision (Article 46 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court). To the extent that deputies having lost their membership in accordance with the first sentence above were elected in constituencies, the election of a constituency deputy shall be repeated in such constituencies, Article 44, Paragraphs (2) to (4) being applied mutatis mutandis ; in these cases the deputies who have lost their membership in accordance with the first sentence above shall not be allowed to appear as candidates. If deputies having lost their membership in accordance with the first sentence above were elected on the basis of a Land list of the party or section of a party declared unconstitutional, their seats shall remain vacant. Otherwise, Article 48, Paragraph (1) shall be applicable.

Article 47 Decision on Loss of Membership

(1) A decision on loss of membership under Article 46, Paragraph (1) shall be made

1. in the case of No. 1, under the scrutiny procedure,
2. in the case of Nos. 2 and 5, by a resolution of the Council of Senior Members of the Bundestag,
3. in the case of No. 3, if eligibility has been lost as a result of a judicial decision, by a resolution of the Council of Senior Members of the Bundestag, otherwise under the scrutiny procedure,
4. in the case of No. 4, by the President of the Bundestag issuing a confirmation of the declaration of resignation.

(2) If a decision on the loss of membership is made under the scrutiny procedure, the deputy concerned shall withdraw from the Bundestag as soon as the decision shall become legally effective.

(3) If the Council of Senior Members or the President of the Bundestag decides on the loss of membership, the deputy concerned shall withdraw from the Bundestag as soon as the decision has been taken. The decision shall be taken ex officio without delay. Within two weeks after the decision has been served upon him or her, the deputy concerned may apply for a decision on the loss of membership to be taken by the Bundestag under the scrutiny procedure. Such decision shall be served upon the applicant in accordance with the provisions of the Law on the Serving of Documents in Administrative Procedure.

Article 48 Appointment of Successors from the Lists and Replacement Elections

(1) If an elected candidate dies or refuses to accept election, or if a member dies or subsequently withdraws from the Bundestag for any other reason, the vacant seat shall be filled by an appointment from the Land list of that party for which the departed member stood at the election. In the selection of the successor those candidates on the list who have subsequently to the drawing up of the Land list resigned from the party concerned shall not be taken into consideration. If the list is exhausted, the seat shall remain vacant. The decision as to which candidate from the list is to succeed to the seat shall be taken by the Land Returning Officer. Article 42, Paragraph (3) and Article 45 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) If the departed member has been elected as the constituency member for a group of voters or a party which had not been allowed to submit a Land list in the Land, a replacement election shall be held in the constituency. The replacement election must be held not later than sixty days after the seat has become vacant. There shall be no replacement election if it is certain that a new Bundestag will be elected within six months. The replacement election shall be conducted according to the general regulations. The election date shall be determined by the Land Returning Officer. Article 41, Paragraph (2) and Article 45 shall apply mutatis mutandis. Top

Section IX Final Provisions

Article 49 Contestation

Any decisions and measures directly affecting the electoral procedure may only be contested by means of the legal remedies provided by this Law and the Federal Election Regulations and by way of the scrutiny procedure.

Article 49a Regulatory Offences

(1) Any person who

1. contrary to the provisions of Article 11 refuses an honorary post without sufficient reason or evades the responsibilities of such office without sufficient excuse
or
2. contrary to the provisions of Article 32, Paragraph (2), publishes the results of opinion polls of voters decisions after voting before the time prescribed for voting has expired, shall be guilty of a regulatory offence.

(2) A regulatory offence pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 1 may carry a fine of up to DM 1,000. A regulatory offence pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 2 may carry a fine of up to DM 100,000.

(3) The administrative authority within the meaning of Article 36, Paragraph (1), No. 1 of the Law on Regulatory Offences is

1. for regulatory offences pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 1

a) the Constituency Returning Officer, if a person eligible to vote unjustifiably refuses to accept the office of Electoral Officer, Deputy Electoral Officer or member of the Electoral Board or County Electoral Committee or evades the responsibilities of such office without sufficient reason,
b) the Land Returning Officer, if a person eligible to vote refuses to accept the office of a member of the Land Electoral Committee or evades the responsibilities of such office without sufficient reason,
c) the Federal Returning Officer, if a person eligible to vote refuses to accept the office of member of the Federal Electoral Committee or evades the responsibilities of such office without sufficient reason ;

2. for regulatory offences pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 2, the Federal Returning Officer.

 

Article 49b Government Funds for other Constituency Nominations

(1) Candidates for a constituency nomination, submitted pursuant to Articles 18 and 20 by persons entitled to vote, who receive at least 10 per cent of the valid votes cast in a constituency shall receive DM 4.00 per valid vote cast. Provision is to be made in the Federal Budget for these funds.

(2) The candidate shall apply in writing for assessment and payment of the government funds to the President of the German Bundestag within two months of the first meeting of the German Bundestag; any applications received after this period shall not be considered. The sum shall be assessed and paid by the President of the German Bundestag.

(3) The provisions of the Party Law on the absolute and relative upper limit shall not apply.

Article 50 Costs of the Election

(1) The Federation shall reimburse the Länder for their own and their municipalities' (municipality associations') necessary expenditure arising from the election by the payment of a fixed amount for each person entitled to vote which shall be determined in relation to the size of each commune.

(2) The fixed amount shall be determined by the Federal Ministry of the Interior with the consent of the Bundesrat. In determining the amount, current staff and material costs and costs for the use of premises and facilities belonging to the Länder and municipalities (municipality associations) shall not be taken into consideration.

Article 51 Election Statistics

(1) The results of the German Federal Parliamentary Elections shall be statistically analysed.

(2) In polling districts to be selected by the Federal Returning Officer in consultation with the Land Returning Officers and the Land Statistical Offices, statistics shall also be worked out on the sex and age of the persons entitled to vote and of the voters taking into consideration the votes cast for the individual nominations. The division of the poll according to age-group and sex shall only be admissible if the secrecy of each vote cast is fully preserved.

Article 52 Federal Election Regulations

(1) The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall issue the Federal Election Regulations necessary for the implementation of this Law. It shall in particular include therein statutory provisions regarding

1. the appointment of Returning Officers and Electoral Officers, the formation of Electoral Committees and Electoral Boards, and the activities, quorum and procedure of the electoral bodies,
2. appointments to honorary electoral posts, the reimbursement of expenses to persons holding honorary electoral posts, and the procedure for imposing fines,
3. the hours of the poll,
4. the delimitation of polling districts and their notification to the public,
5. the various preconditions for entry in the voters' registers, the keeping of such registers, their public display, their correction and closing, objections to and complaints against a voters' register and the notification of persons entitled to vote,
6. the various preconditions for the granting of polling cards and their issuance, and regarding objections to and complaints against the refusal of polling cards,
7. proof that the preconditions for possessing the right to vote are met,
8. the procedure to be followed according to Article 18, Paragraphs (2) to (4),
9. the submission, content and form of nominations and relevant documents, their examination, the elimination of errors and defects, their acceptance, complaints against decisions of the Constituency Electoral Committee and the Land Electoral Committee, as well as the publication of nominations,
10. the form and content of the ballot paper and regarding the voting envelope,
11. the provision, furnishing and notification to the public of the polling stations as well as devices ensuring the secrecy of the poll and voting booths,
12. the casting of votes, including special arrangements to meet special conditions,
13. the postal ballot,
14. voting in hospitals and nursing institutions, monasteries and convents, residential premises and areas closed by public health authorities, as well as social therapy and penal institutions,
15. the establishment of the election results, their onward reporting to the appropriate authorities, their public announcement, and the notification of the successful candidates,
16. the conduct of by-elections, repeat elections and replacement elections as well the appointment of successors from the lists of candidates.

(2) The statutory provisions shall not require the consent of the Bundesrat,

(3) The Federal Ministry of the Interior is authorized, in the event that the Bundestag is dissolved, to shorten the periods prescribed in the Federal Electoral Law and in the Federal Election Regulations by means of an ordinance without the consent of the Federal Council.

Article 53 Transitional Provisions

Article 3, Paragraph (4) applies accordingly for changes in Land boundaries which are undertaken pursuant to Article 2, Paragraphs (2) and (3) of the Länder Establishing Act of 22 July 1990 (Federal Law Gazette 1, No. 51, p. 955).

Article 54 Time Limits and Dates

The time limits and dates provided for in this Law may not be extended or changed on account of the fact that the last day of the period in question or a particular date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, a statutory or state-protected public holiday. A reversal to the previous state shall be precluded.

Article 55 Entry into Force

...
________

In 1998 the legislator plans to amend this provision to 25 years. At the time of publication the law had not yet been adopted.

 

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