5 things you need to know about the Green fraction in the 20th German Bundestag

Listicle

Following the German federal election of 26 September 2021, the German Greens achieved the biggest, most female, younger and diverse parliamentary group in their history. Let’s explore some fact and figures about the Alliance 90/The Greens fraction in the 20th Bundestag!

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Family picture of the new Alliance 90/The Greens fraction in the 20th Bundestag.

1. The Greens got their best federal result ever

Alliance 90/The Greens got 14.8% of votes. That is their highest federal result ever since the party first got representation in 1980, and also the highest share ever for a third party in the Bundestag. At state level, the highest result was achieved by the Green party in Baden-Württemberg in March 2021 (32.6%).

Interesting fact: in Germany, the general threshold for political parties to achieve representation is 5%. There is an exception if a political party does not reach this bar but has at least 3 members elected by direct mandate, as is the case of The Left (Die Linke) in the September 2021 federal election.

2. It’s the largest Green fraction ever

Alliance 90/The Greens increased their representation by 5.9%, raising their percentage from 8.9% to 14.8%. That translated into 118 Bundestag seats, making the Greens the third parliamentary force, behind SPD (206 seats) and CDU/CSU (197 seats).

Interesting fact: due to the intricate German electoral systems, some feared the Bundestag could have had more members than the Indian federal parliament! In the end, the 20th Bundestag has 736 seats. However, the plenary chamber can fit more than 1200 people for the Federal Convention (Bundesversammlung, in German), formed by MdBs and an equal number of delegates elected by the state parliaments, with the sole purpose of electing every 5 years the President of the German Federal Republic.

3. It has more direct mandates than ever

The complex German electoral system grants seats by a double system of direct mandates and regional lists. In the previous Bundestag, there was only 1 direct mandate for the Greens. The 16 Green direct mandates were elected in the 2021 Bundestag election: Jamila Schäfer (Bayern); Canan Bayram, Stefan Gelbhaar and Hanna Steinmüller (Berlin); Franziska Brantner, Chantal Kopf, Zoe Mayer and Cem Özdemir (Baden-Württemberg); Linda Heitmann and Till Steffen (Hamburg); Omid Nouripuour (Hessen); Maria Klein-Schmeink, Oliver Krischer, Sven Lehmann and Katrin Uhlig (Nordrhein-Westfalen); and Robert Habeck (Schleswig-Holstein).

Interesting fact: the Greens only got their first direct mandate in the 2002 federal election. Hans-Christian Ströbele won his direct mandate in the electoral constituency Berlin-Friedrichshain – Kreuzberg – Prenzlauer Berg Ost in the 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2013 federal elections. His successor, Canan Bayram, retained this seat in the 2017 and 2021 federal elections.

4. It is one of the youngest, most diverse and representative fractions

“More female, younger, more diverse and more direct”. That’s how the Green fraction defines itself. 58.5% of Green MdBs are female, while the general percentage of the whole 20th Bundestag is 34.7%.

22 Green MdBs are younger than 30 years old; 28 are between 30 and 40 years old. The average age of Green members is 42. The youngest MdB in the whole Bundestag is the Greens’ 23-years-old Emilia Fester (Niedersachsen).

14.4% of Green representatives have a migrant background.

Two Greens are the first transgender elected MdBs in German history. They are Tessa Ganserer (Bayern) and Nyke Slawik (Nordrhein-Westfalen).

Interesting fact: back in 2002, Green Anna Lührmann was at 19 the youngest-ever member of the German Bundestag, as well as the youngest member of parliament in the world! After a few years working outside politics, she run again and won a seat for the state of Hessen in the 2021 German federal election.

5. What’s next?

The Social-Democrats (SPD), the Greens (Alliance 90/The Greens) and the Liberals (FDP) are currently negotiating a coalition agreement to form a federal government. This coalition is nicknamed “traffic light coalition” (Ampelkoalition, in German), due to the colours that identify each political party (red-green-yellow). The coalition agreement is expected to be revealed on 24 November 2021. Stay tuned!

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Interesting fact: Every possible federal government coalition in Germany has a nickname, based on the colours that identify each political party: Jamaica coalition/Jamaika-Koalition, if formed by CDU/CSU+Greens+FDP (black+green+yellow, like Jamaica’s flag); Germany coalition/Deutschland-Koalition if formed by SPD+CDU/CSU+FDP (red+black+yellow, like Germany’s flag); or just Grand coalition/Große Koalition if formed by SPD+CSU/CSU (red+black).

Bonus: a prominently pro-European Bundestag

The German federal election results resulted in a super pro-European majority in the 20th Bundestag. SPD, CSU/CDU, Alliance 90/The Greens and FDP together have 613 out of 736 seats, or 83.3% of the total seats. The fact that the biggest EU Member State can contain and limit the share of far- and extreme-right representation, or seen the other way round, make pro-European options an overwhelming majority, sets a good example for democracy and the rule of law in Europe.