Political parties are freely established associations of persons founded on the basis of civil law in keeping with the legal provisions governing associations contained in the Civil Code (association without legal capacity). To found a political party as an association having legal capacity, it additionally has to be entered into the Register of Associations. More detailed information on the subject is provided by the Registration Courts.
In keeping with Article 21 Paragraph 1 Sentence 2 of the Basic Law, political parties may be freely established. To set up a party, a formation contract is needed which states the will of the participants to found a political party. Only natural persons may be founders as only they can be party members. At the initial meeting, the persons present first decide to establish a political party, then the founders’ meeting adopts the program and the statutes of the party. Finally, it elects the executive committee whose composition has been laid down in the party statutes. Minutes have to be kept of the proceedings of the founders’ meeting, of all decisions taken and elections held. There are no official standards for statutes, minutes of founders’ meetings or of party conventions held at a later time; the parties are largely free – also with regard to length – to prepare these documents at their discretion.
Party organs take their decisions with the simple majority of votes, provided that legal provisions or the statutes do not call for a higher majority. Members of the executive committee, representatives of representatives’ assemblies and of organs of superior regional branches are elected by secret ballot. All other elections may be by open vote, provided that there is no objection when the question is asked.
The executive committee of a political party has to inform the Federal Returning Officer of
1. the party’s statutes
2. the party’s program
3. the names and functions of the members of the executive committee of the party and its Land branches.
To legitimize the foundation of the party, the minutes of the founders’ meeting have to be handed in, too. In addition to the decision to establish a party, these minutes have to contain the decisions taken with regard to the statutes (including additional regulations) and the party’s program, and the democratic and secret election of the executive committee. The minutes should carry the handwritten signatures of the party chairperson or his/her representative and of two other members of the executive committee.
1. If you are interested please download our information entitled "Die Unterlagensammlung nach dem Parteiengesetz und damit zusammenhängende Fragen" (The collection of material according to the Act on Political Parties and related questions - available in german language only) and the following material:
2. Very brief minutes may suffice to legitimize the major decisions with the Federal Returning Officer but all decisions taken should be transparent and comprehensible also for the party members. Keeping the minutes as detailed as possible is therefore in the interest of good relations within the party.
3. The statutes (including additional regulations) should be sent to the Federal Returning Officer electronically as accessible unprotected MS Word or PDF files. The accessibility of PDF documents is largely guaranteed if they are created with the PDF Maker of Adobe Professional. Minutes of any kind have to carry signatures and should therefore be submitted to the Federal Returning Officer either by mail in the original or electronically as a SCAN.