What happens after the election

Find out here what happens after the federal election: How is the government formed and which time limits are specified by law?

A view of the empty plenary chamber of the Bundestag
A view of the empty plenary chamber of the Bundestag picture alliance/dpa

What happens after the polling stations close at 6 pm on Election Day?
At exactly 6 pm the first election result projections are published. These are based on surveys of voters as they leave the polling stations. Soon after this, the first far more precise projections are made. These are based on the votes counted at relatively few (but more representative) polling stations. No forecasts or projections are permitted before 6 pm.

When is the final result available?
The preliminary official results are usually published on the night of the election. The results are based on the results communicated either by phone or electronically from every single polling station. The official final result is published as soon as all of the ballot boxes and documents are in the safekeeping of the Federal Election Commissioner.

When does the constituent assembly of the Bundestag take place?
According to the Basic Law the new Bundestag must convene for its first session by 30 days after the election at the latest. The members of parliament elect the President of the Bundestag and her or his vice presidents. Up until this first session, the previous members remain in parliament and then give up their mandates. Similarly, the chancellor’s term of office also ends with this first session of parliament.

When does the new government take officewird gewählt?
As soon as a party or a coalition of several parties has a majority in the Bundestag for the election of the chancellor.  Minority governments are also possible in theory, but so far they have always been avoided in the interest of stability.

Who governs in the meantime?
The law specifies that the chancellorship ends with the assembly of the new parliament. At the request of the Federal President the chancellor is obliged to continue carrying out government affairs until the election of her or his successor has been completed. The outgoing government also remains in office up to that point. But traditionally no far-reaching decisions are made during these transition phases.

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