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Younger, more diverse and more female

The Bundestag will have 736 members in future, almost 300 of them new. How the election has changed the composition of Germany’s parliament.

Carsten Hauptmeier, 05.10.2021
More seats: The new Bundestag will be bigger. © picture alliance/dpa

It is not only the majority ratios that are changing in the German Bundestag: following the Bundestag election on 26 September 2021, the new parliament will be different in many respects than in the past. One simple reason is that more than 280 of its members are new. The Bundestag will also be younger, more diverse and more female. In future, a total of 736 members from six parliamentary groups will have seats in parliament, more than ever before. The strongest parliamentary group will be the SPD with 206 members, while the CDU/CSU – previously the largest group – will have only 197 seats. The Greens will be represented by 118 parliamentarians, while the FDP will have 92, the AfD 83 and The Left 39. Thanks to a special rule, one seat in the Bundestag will go to the South Schleswig Voters’ Association (SSW).

More young members

According to calculations of the Federal Returning Officer, the average age of members of the new Bundestag will be 47.3 years, female members being on average 45.5 years old and male members 48.2. However, the proportion of young politicians in the Bundestag is on the increase: 50 members are younger than 30, while another 143 are between 30 and 39 years old. The youngest members are Emilia Fester and Niklas Wagener, both of whom are 23 and will be representing the Greens in the Bundestag in future. At 80, the oldest MP is the AfD politician Alexander Gauland. The parliamentary group with the lowest average age is the Greens at 42.4 years, while the group with the highest average age is the AfD at 51.

Growing proportion of women

Though the situation has improved slightly, more seats in parliament are still held by men than by women: a third of MPs are female. The number of women in the Bundestag has risen by 38 to 256 – yet men are still clearly in the majority at 480. The Greens have the highest proportion of women among their members, at 58.5 percent, while the AfD parliamentary group has the lowest, at 13.3 percent. Two transgender women will also have seats in the Bundestag for the first time, representing the Greens: Tessa Ganserer and Nyke Slawik.

More MPs with a migration background

More politicians of non-German origin will also have seats in the Bundestag from now on. According to an analysis conducted by Mediendienst Integration (Migration Media Service), at least 83 members of parliament have a migration background. This increases their share of the seats by around three percentage points to 11.3 percent. The ratio is highest in the Left parliamentary group at 28.2 percent and lowest in the CDU/CSU at 4.1 percent.

XXL Bundestag

The parliament is not only younger, more female and more diverse, however, but also bigger than in the previous four years. The number of MPs has risen by 27 to 736. This means that there are significantly more seats than required in the Bundestag, as the minimum number is only 598. The so-called overhang and balance seats are the reason why parliament has actually increased in size. These arise when a party receives more direct mandates via the first votes than it should on the basis of its share of the second votes. Consequently, the Bundestag is growing. Discussions have therefore been underway for years about whether to reform electoral law so as to limit the number of MPs.