State financing of parties

Parties, other political associations and individual candidates are generally entitled to public funds to finance their activities (partial financing) on account of their prominent role in our democratic state governed by the rule of law. Partial financing is the responsibility of the German Bundestag.


1. Political parties

Only such parties are entitled to state funding as have won at least 0.5 % of the valid second votes cast in the latest European or Bundestag election or 1 % of the valid second votes cast in the latest election to a Land parliament. If no Land list of the party was admitted to a Bundestag or Land parliament election, the party must have obtained a minimum of 10 % of the valid first votes cast in at least one constituency.

If a party is entitled to state financing on the basis of these criteria, the funds paid depend, on the one hand, on the party’s success in the latest European election, Bundestag election and in the latest elections to the Länder parliaments. On the other hand, they depend on all membership fees, contributions paid by holders of elected public office, and donations the party has received. An amount set by law will be paid to the party for each vote obtained and for each euro received.

However, there is an upper limit to public funding: the total public funds paid to a party must not exceed the financial means it has obtained itself (relative upper limit). In addition, the total public funds paid to all parties in a given year must not exceed the absolute upper limit set by law. If that total is exceeded, the funds to be paid to all parties will be reduced proportionally so as to adhere to the absolute upper limit.

The amount to be paid for each vote and the absolute upper limit are adjusted annually by the President of the German Bundestag by means of the price index development.


2. Individual candidates

Individual candidates who, in a Bundestag election, have won at least 10 % of the valid first votes cast in a constituency will also receive an amount set by law per valid vote won which is adjusted each year using the price index development. There is no upper limit in this case.


3. Other political associations

In European elections, other political associations with nominations of their own in the electoral area which have obtained at least 0.5 % of the valid votes cast are also entitled to state funding. For every valid vote they are paid the same amount as the political parties.

Other political associations’ claims to partial state financing are limited to the amounts they have secured themselves (relative upper limit).

There is no absolute upper limit as in the partial financing of parties.

Legal bases

Bundestag election:

Sections 18, 19 of the Act on Political Parties (PartG)
Section 49b of the Federal Elections Act (BWG)

European election:

Sections 18, 19 of the Act on Political Parties (PartG)
Section 28 of the European Elections Act (EuWG)

Last update: 13 December 2019