Services

Complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court

There are two cases in both Bundestag and European elections where the Federal Constitutional Court is the institution with which complaints have to be lodged.

It is responsible for electoral complaints under the two-stage scrutiny procedure in Bundestag and European elections. In response to electoral complaints the Court will examine Bundestag decisions concerning the validity of an election or the violation of rights during an election or its preparation. A complaint can be lodged by deputies whose membership of the Bundestag or the European Parliament is contested and by persons entitled to vote or groups of such persons whose objection was rejected by the Bundestag. Parliamentary groups and minorities in the Bundestag that comprise at least 10 % of the statutory number of representatives can lodge such a complaint in Bundestag elections, and groups of at least eight European Parliament members from the Federal Republic of Germany may do so in European elections. When an electoral complaint has been lodged, the Federal Constitutional Court will decide whether the provisions of federal and/or European electoral legislation conform to the Constitution and whether these provisions were applied correctly.

In Bundestag elections, the Federal Constitutional Court also is the institution complaints have to be lodged with against the Federal Electoral Committee’s non-recognition of an association as a political party for the forthcoming election, which prevents that association from nominating candidates. A party which has not been recognized by the Federal Electoral Committee as a party entitled to nominate candidates for the Bundestag election may lodge a complaint within four days after the decision was made public. In that case, it must be treated by the electoral bodies like a party entitled to submit nominations until a decision has been taken by the Federal Constitutional Court, but not longer than by the end of the 59th day before the election.

In European elections, the Federal Constitutional Court also decides on complaints against Federal Electoral Committee decisions rejecting nominations for the reason that the respective association has no right to nominate candidates for election. A party or association which was denied the right to nominate candidates may lodge a complaint within four days after the decision was made public. In that case, it must be treated by the electoral bodies like a party or association entitled to submit nominations until a decision has been taken by the Federal Constitutional Court, but not longer than by the end of the 52nd day before the election.

Legal bases

Bundestag election:

Article 41 paragraph 2, 3 of the Basic Law (GG)
Section 48 of the Federal Constitutional Court Act (BVerfGG)
Section 18 (4a), Section 49 of the Federal Elections Act (BWG)

European election:

Section 14 (4a), Section 26 (3) of the European Elections Act (EuWG)

Last update: 21 November 2016