10 facts about the new German parliament you didn't know

27.10.2017 - Press release

The new members of the German Bundestag will assemble for the first time on October 31, following the general elections in September. The new parliament will differ from the last legislative period in both composition and size.

The Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, will meet for the first time on October 31 following September elections, and will differ from the last legislative period in both composition and size.

Germany has the biggest democratic parliament in the world
Germany has the biggest democratic parliament in the world© picture alliance/Ralf Hirschberger/dpa

Here are ten key facts about the new Bundestag:

1. Bigger than ever: The Bundestag has grown by 12 percent. The number of members has jumped from 631 to 709 - higher than ever before. As such, it is now the world's biggest democratic parliament.

2. Three becomes six: Political diversity has also proliferated. For the first time since 1957, six groups will sit in parliament. Between 1961-1983 only three parliamentary groups did so: the centre-right partnership of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the free market libertarian Free Democratic Party (FDP).

The environmentalist Green party came into the mix in 1983, followed by the East German socialist PDS in 1990, which later became the far-left party, Die Linke.

3. Newcomers from the Right: The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is the first newcomer since 1990. It is also the first party to the right of the CDU/CSU since 1961.

4. Fewer women: At 30.7 percent, the proportion of female Bundestag representatives has taken a dive for the first time since 1972, when it was just 6 percent. Up until now, this number had been continually on the rise.

5. Comeback Kids: The FDP's comeback is the first time a party re-entered the Bundestag after losing all their seats in the previous election. After electoral disasters, the Greens and Die Linke almost crashed out in 1990 and 2002 respectively, but each managed to retain one seat.

6. Lone Wolves: For the first time since 2002, the Bundestag will again have independents in Frauke Petry and Mario Mieruch. Both politicians turned their back on their former party, the AfD, amid an internal spat. They will sit alone on the back benches.

Roman Müller-Böhm (FDP) is the younget member of parliament
Roman Müller-Böhm (FDP) is the younget member of parliament© picture alliance/Kay Nietfeld/dpa

7. Youth Swing: The average age of a Bundestag representative has gone down just a little, from 49.7 to 49.4 years. The FDP is the youngest party, with an average of 45.8, and the AfD is the oldest, with 50.7.

The youngest parliamentarian, at 24 years of age, is Roman Mueller-Boehm of the FDP. He pipped CDU representative Philipp Amthor, three months his senior, to the post.

8. The Oldest: Of the ten oldest representatives, eight belong to the AfD. At 77, Wilhelm von Gottberg is the eldest. Last time round, as the so-called Alterspraesident (Chairman by Seniority), he would have been called upon to open parliament. The rules changed shortly before the election, however.

9. Longest serving: Now, the longest-serving member of parliament gets to make the opening speech. That title goes to CDU finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble with 45 years in service. However, he won't be making the opening speech; as incoming president of the Bundestag he's already penned in to make his inaugural statement in the same session. Two in one go would be a little excessive.

10. Chairman by Seniority: As a result, the second longest-serving member is up for the job of the opening speech. Enter Hermann-Otto Solms of the FDP. He has clocked up 33 years of service and, at 76, is also second-oldest.

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