Federal Returning Officer

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Authority sign of the Federal Returning Officer and the Federal Statistical Office

The Federal Returning Officer organizes and monitors the political elections and election preparations in Germany at the federal level, namely the elections to the German Bundestag and the elections to the European Parliament in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany . He and his deputy are appointed by the Federal Minister of the Interior for an indefinite period. Traditionally, the President of the Federal Statistical Office takes over the office of Federal Returning Officer; since November 1st 2017 this is Georg Thiel . The seat of the federal authority is Wiesbaden .


The Federal Returning Officer is one of several electoral bodies that are tasked with preparing and conducting the Bundestag elections. Together with the federal electoral committee , he is responsible for the entire electoral area. The Federal Returning Officer is the chairman of the Federal Electoral Committee. Electoral bodies are institutions of social self-organization that are not bound by instructions. The Federal Returning Officer, like the other electoral bodies, is not bound by instructions when performing his duties, but by the statutory provisions. He has no right to issue instructions to the other electoral bodies. The main task of the Federal Returning Officer is to monitor the proper conduct of the election in compliance with the legally prescribed deadlines and dates - from the preparation to the publication of the final election results.

One of the tasks here is to receive and review notices of participation from political associations that have not been represented by at least five members without interruption in the German Bundestag or in a state parliament since the last election due to their own nominations. The Federal Returning Officer submits the result of his preliminary examination to the Federal Electoral Committee. This decides which political association is to be recognized as a party for the upcoming election.

The Federal Returning Officer also has the following tasks:

  • Formation of the Federal Electoral Committee and its chairmanship
  • Announcement of the decisions of the Federal Electoral Committee
  • Monitoring of the decisions of the district electoral committees on the admission or rejection of district election proposals with the right to appeal to the state election committee
  • Receiving and examining complaints against the decision of the state election committees
  • Registration and comparison of registered Germans who are eligible to vote abroad
  • Checking the election applicants for inadmissible double candidatures
  • Determination and announcement of the preliminary election result in the electoral area
  • Preparation of the final determination of the final result of the state list election by the Federal Electoral Committee
  • Announcement of the final election results in the electoral area
  • Review of the election for its correctness

In addition to the preparation and implementation of the Bundestag and European elections, the Federal Returning Officer is also responsible for collecting documents for political parties and associations. The parties are obliged to inform him of the statutes, the program and the names of the members of the board of the party and the regional associations with details of their function.

Overview of all federal returning officers

The presidents of the Federal Statistical Office are also federal returning officers.

  1. Gerhard Fürst , from 1953 to 1964
  2. Patrick Schmidt , from 1964 to 1972
  3. Hildegard Bartels , from 1972 to 1980
  4. Franz Kroppenstedt , from 1980 to 1983
  5. Egon Hölder , from 1983 to 1992
  6. Hans Günther Merk , from 1992 to 1995
  7. Johann Hahlen , from 1995 to 2007
  8. Walter Radermacher , from 2007 to 2008
  9. Roderich Egeler , from August 1, 2008 to September 30, 2015
  10. Dieter Sarreither , from October 2, 2015 to October 31, 2017
  11. Georg Thiel , since November 1, 2017

The office of Federal Returning Officer was introduced in 1953. In the 1949 Bundestag elections, it was the responsibility of the regional returning officers to carry out the election ; the official results were announced by the chairman of the conference of ministers presidents ( Christian Stock ).

Web links

Wiktionary: Federal Returning Officer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Electoral Committee. bundeswahlleiter.de, accessed on November 10, 2016.
  2. ^ The Federal Returning Officer : The Federal Returning Officer and his duties. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  3. ^ The Federal Returning Officer. Wahlrecht.de, accessed on October 8, 2015 .
  4. Thiel is President of the Federal Statistical Office and Federal Returning Officer. politik-kommunikation.de, November 1, 2017, accessed on November 1, 2017 .
  5. Dr. Dr. hc Gerhard Fürst - President and Federal Returning Officer from 1948/1953 to 1964. bundeswahlleiter.de, accessed on November 10, 2016 .
  6. ^ Election supervisor for the first election to the German Bundestag on August 14, 1949. bundeswahlleiter.de, accessed on November 10, 2016 .