Deputies are persons elected to parliament by those entitled to vote. They shall be representatives of the whole people, not bound by orders and instructions, only by their conscience. They shall be elected in general, direct, free, equal and secret elections. Anyone who on election day is a German (or a Union citizen for European elections) and has reached the age of eighteen (right to stand for election) may be elected deputy.

The concepts of indemnity and immunity strengthen the deputies’ position of independence towards other public authorities. Deputies may resign their seat at any time. If a member withdraws from the German Bundestag, the seat is generally filled by the next candidate on the Land list of the party for which the former member stood at the latest election.

At European elections, the successor from the list as a rule is the substitute candidate or, if there is no substitute candidate, the next candidate on the list.

Legal bases

Bundestag election:

Article 38 of the Basic Law (GG)
Section 1 of the Federal Elections Act (BWG)

European election:

Article 1 (3), Article 6 (1) of the Direct Elections Act
Section 1 of the European Elections Act (EuWG)

Last update: 1 May 2014