German election live

Live commentary on today’s German election, plus Canadian final results and crucial US votes in Congress. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live Commentary

3:11pm If Germany just used FPTP seats without the list top-ups, what would the result have been? Wikipedia has the CDU/CSU winning 143 of the 299 FPTP seats, the SPD 121, the Greens 16, AfD 16 and three very important seats for the Left. The FDP won zero FPTP seats.

2:50pm Seat count now official. This is easily the worst vote share since WW 2 for the CDU/CSU. In 2017, right-wing parties won the overall vote by 56.2-38.6, so the margin falling to just 0.5% to the right at this election is still a massive improvement for the left.

2:35pm From these parliamentary numbers, it takes 368 seats to get a majority. Combining the SPD, Greens, Left and SSW gives them 364 seats, tantalizingly close to that majority. It is likely there will be weeks and possibly months of wrangling before we get our next German government. With no other parties prepared to work with the AfD, a right-left coalition will be needed. A plausible combination is SPD, Greens and FDP, or even another grand coalition between SPD and CDU/CSU, this time with SPD as the senior partner.

2:24pm I can’t see anything yet on official sites, but the Europe Elects twitter account has the parliamentary seat result. There will be a total of 735 seats, up 26 from 709 in 2017 and far exceeding the minimum of 598. The SPD won 206 seats, the CDU/CSU 196, the Greens 118, the FDP 92, the AfD 83, the Left 39 and an ethnic environmentalist party (SSW) one seat (ethnic parties are exempt from the 5% threshold).

2pm The Left party won three of the 299 FPTP seats, just enough to qualify for proportional allocation of seats, after coming just below the 5% national threshold with 4.9%. Their closest seat win was in Leipzig, where they beat the Greens by 22.8% to 18.4% with a split field.

1:08pm With all 299 seats in, it’s 25.7% SPD (up 5.2% since the 2017 election), 24.1% CDU/CSU (down 8.9%), 14.8% Greens (up 5.8%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.7%), 10.3% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.9% Left (down 4.3%). The overall right-wing parties win by a narrow 45.9-45.4 margin over the left-wing parties.

10:15am 279 of 299 seats in, and it’s 25.8% SPD (up 5.3%), 24.4% CDU/CSU (down 9.0%), 14.2% Greens (up 5.5%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.8%), 10.5% AfD (down 2.2%) and 4.6% Left (down 4.2%). So the overall right is beating the overall left by 46.4-44.6, contrary to pre-election polls. A Red-Red-Green (SPD, Left, Green) coalition is out.

9am 248 of 299 seats in, and it’s 25.7% SPD (up 5.2%), 24.7% CDU/CSU (down 8.8%), 14.0% Greens (up 5.5%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.7%), 10.7% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.6% Left (down 4.2%). Vote shifts are matched against the results from the same seats in 2017.

8:47am The Left party has dropped to 4.9% (below the 5% threshold) in an updated projection, but is set to win three FPTP seats, enough to get a proportional allocation of seats.

8:15am With 201 of 299 seats in, current vote shares are 25.2% CDU/CSU (down 8.8% using seat matched data from 2017), 25.7% SPD (up 5.1%), 13.8% Greens (up 5.4%), 11.4% FDP (up 0.8%), 10.5% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.4% Left (down 4.1%).

7:57am With 184 of 299 seats in, the SPD is up 5.0% and the Greens up 5.4%, but the Left is down 4.1%, putting them on pace now for a final 5.1%. The FW party has faded back to 3.1%, so won’t enter parliament.

6:58am After 65 of 299 FPTP seats, it’s a 5.0% gain for the SPD and a 4.3% gain for the Greens but a 3.7% loss for the Left. Subtracting 3.7% from the Left’s 9.2% in 2017 gives them 5.5%. Another party has 4.5% of the party list vote. It takes 5% of the list vote or 3 of 299 FPTP seats to enter parliament.

6:40am 30 of the 299 FPTP seats have now reported their final results. It’s important to look at the swing from 2017. In second vote share, the SPD is up 3.8%, the Greens up 4.2% and the Left down 3.4%. The Left won 9.2% in 2017, so this would be enough, but they’re likely to fall further when results from areas where they were strong in 2017 come through.

6:10am Monday Contrary to pre-election polls, projections from exit polls and partial results show the overall vote for right-wing parties leading the left vote by 47.5-45.0. Furthermore, the Left party is at the 5% threshold. If they fall below that threshold, they need to win at least three of 299 FPTP seats to get a proportional allocation of seats. I believe they’re currently losing two of their existing five FPTP seats.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The German election is today, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. I believe it will take until Monday afternoon AEST to have final results. To qualify for a proportional allocation of seats, parties must either win at least 5% of the vote, or three of the 299 first past the post seats. Owing to overhang and levelling seats, the total size of parliament is to be determined, but all qualifying parties will be allocated a proportional share of seats.

The Guardian’s poll aggregate gives the centre-left SPD 25.3%, the conservative CDU/CSU 22.4%, the Greens 15.7%, the pro-business FDP 11.4%, the far-right AfD 10.8% and the far-left Left 6.2%. That’s an overall left lead of 47.2-44.6, a tightening from 47.7-44.0 last week. Individual late polls have the overall left ahead by between 0.5 and 4 points.

Official results will be available at this link. There are two points that may cause confusion. These results will give the “first” and “second” votes. The first vote is the local member vote, and it is the second vote that is far more important in determining the seats each party is entitled to; the 5% threshold applies to the second vote. The CDU and CSU will be listed separately, even though they are effectively the same party, like the Liberals and Nationals in Australia. The CSU runs only in Bavaria, the CDU everywhere else.

Upcoming US crucial votes in Congress

Democrats hold the US House of Representatives by a 220-212 margin with three vacancies. In the Senate, it’s a 50-50 tie with Vice President Kamala Harris having the casting vote. However, to pass the Senate, most legislation requires 60 votes to shut down a filibuster. Special legislation can be passed with a simple majority using “reconciliation”. This can only be used for legislation related to the budget, not for eg, voting rights reforms.

In the next week, there are likely to be votes in the House on a bipartisan infrastructure bill (BIB) and a Democratic infrastructure bill (DIB). The BIB earlier passed the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority. The DIB has not passed either chamber yet, and can only get through using reconciliation. Left-wing and centrist Democrats have had disagreements over these bills.

The US budget for the current year expires on Friday AEST, and appropriation bills must be passed by then to prevent a shutdown. The debt limit must be raised by sometime in October to prevent an economic disaster.

Democrats have put the debt limit increase in a bill to fund the government, but it has no chance of passing the Senate with Republicans opposed. Democrats are likely to decouple the debt limit increase from the government funding, which Republicans say they will not oppose. But the debt limit still needs to be raised, likely using reconciliation. Republicans are opposing the debt limit increase as Democrats are likely to be blamed if it goes wrong, as they control the presidency, House and Senate.

Final Canadian results

At the September 20 Canadian election, the Liberals won 159 of the 338 seats (up two since 2019), the Conservatives 119 (down two), the Quebec Bloc 33 (up one), the NDP 25 (up one) and the Greens two (down one). Vote shares were 33.7% Conservative (down 0.7%), 32.6% Liberal (down 0.5%), 17.8% NDP (up 1.8%), 7.7% Bloc (up 0.1%), 5.0% People’s Party (up 3.3%) and 2.3% Greens (down 4.2%).

Despite losing the popular vote by 1.1%, the Liberals won 40 more seats than the Conservatives. A key reason was the most populous province of Ontario, where the Liberals won 78 of the 121 seats to 37 Conservatives on a 4.4% popular vote lead. The Liberals utterly dominated Canada’s big cities: to see this zoom in on Toronto in Ontario or Montreal in Quebec on the CBC’s results map.

65 comments on “German election live”

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  1. Here ya go:

    SPD 121, CDU 98, CSU 45, Green 16, AfD 16, Left 3.

    How do the SSW get a seat? I get that they’re exempt from the 5% threshold, but they only got 0.1%. Wouldn’t that proportionally give them 0 seats? (I’m reminded of United Future in NZ, the last couple of elections Peter Dunne won his local seat despite UF qualifying for 0 seats on the party vote – it ended up being an overhang seat.)

  2. Ahh righty then.

    I’ve just been playing around with the S-H results. (11 FPP seats, 11 proportional top-up seats.) Using Sainte-Lague for 22 seats gives SPD 7, CDU 5, Grn 4, FDP 3, AfD 1, SSW 1. The actual FPP seats went SPD 8, CDU 2, Grn 1, so the SPD got an overhang seat; redo SL for 23 seats, and the extra seat (23rd largest divisor) would be a 5th Green.

    (I think that’s how it works?)

    Do that for 16 states, add them all up and compare to a Sainte-Lague result for 598 (plus state-level overhang) seats; end up with more overhang seats, then add more seats nationally (in which states?) to rebalance it. No wonder the Bundestag is so big. How they did this before computers… *shakes head in befuddlement*

  3. “3:11pm If Germany just used FPTP seats without the list top-ups, what would the result have been? Wikipedia has the CDU/CSU winning 143 of the 299 FPTP seats, the SPD 121, the Greens 16, AfD 16 and three very important seats for the Left. The FDP won zero FPTP seats.”…

    FPTP is Undemocratic!
    Results of the UK 2019 general election (650 seats in the H. of Commons):
    Party…………………….Seats won……..%of all seats…….%of votes

    The FPTP system allowed the Conservatives to win seats well above the percentage of votes they received.

  4. “The concluding results of this poll trend are most impressive.”


    Indeed, the polls were very close to the actual outcome. Maybe we should get the Germans to do our polling for us from now on.

  5. “Wikipedia has the CDU/CSU winning 143 of the 299 FPTP seats, the SPD 121, the Greens 16, AfD 16 and three very important seats for the Left. The FDP won zero FPTP seats.”

    What are the % vote shares for the 1st (i.e. SEAT) votes, nationally, please?

    (great updates btw)

  6. A “what if they didn’t have top up seats” ‘analysis’ is meaningless because it assumes they would have kept the number of constituency seats at 299 and not had more but smaller ones.

    It also assumes people would have voted the same way under such a system than they did under the current one.

  7. Alpo, you’d want to split out Scotland and Wales separately to get sensible figures out of that, due to the SNP and Plaid Cymru being regionalist parties. (And completely ignore Northern Ireland.)

    If Germany had single member electorates, the FDP would’ve disappeared a long time ago. The last time they won a lot of direct seats was 1953. Since then, they’ve only won two, for one term each, both in similar circumstances: one in Saarland in 1957 after that area was returned to Germany by France, and one in the former East Germany in 1990 after reunification.

    Funny thing about Saarland, by the way: the CDU did worse on second votes than first votes, despite the absence of the Greens (their party list was disqualified). Every other party except AfD did better. I guess there must be a bit of a personal vote factor, even with MMP. (Three of the four direct seats were CDU-held before Sunday.) Saarland being a small state probably had an effect.

  8. WB, the pre-election German polls overestimated the Left and underestimated the CDU/CSU

    I don’t really get why people are saying this. The final polls were out for these parties by two points tops.

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