(1) All Germans shall have the right to form corporations and other associations.
(2) Associations whose aims or activities contravene the criminal laws, or that are directed against the constitutional order or the concept of international understanding, shall be prohibited.
(1) Political parties shall participate in the formation of the political will of the people. They may be freely established. Their internal organization must conform to democratic principles. They must publicly account for their assets and for the sources and use of their funds.
(2) Parties that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their adherents, seek to undermine or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional. The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule on the question of unconstitutionality.
The Act on Political Parties contains specific provisions by federal Law concerning party legislation, especially with regard to the constitutional status and functions of political parties as well as the concept of a “political party”. Furthermore, it regulates several sectors of the party system, for instance designation and internal organization, equal treatment, principles and the extent of state funding, rendering of accounts and the implementation of the ban on unconstitutional parties.
The spread of the novel SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 pandemic) has led to serious restrictions in all spheres of private and business life in the Federal Republic of Germany which were unthinkable before. They have also made the work of political parties more difficult.
To enable political parties and other bodies to take the necessary decisions and maintain their ability to act while the restrictions on meetings persist, the Act temporarily (until 31 December 2021) facilitates, among others, the holding of members’ and delegates’ assemblies.
The organization of parties as an association ist regulated by the rules on associations contained in Sections 21 to 79a of the Civil Code. German political parties are generally organized as unregistered associations, i.e. associations without legal personality. However, according to Section 3 of the Act on Political Parties and court rulings, political parties organized as unregistered associations have restricted legal capacity. Some German political parties are also organized as registered associations (eingetragener Verein, e. V.).