Free voters (federal association)

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Free voters
Logo of the Free Voters
Hubert Aiwanger
Party leader Hubert Aiwanger
vice-chairman Manfred Petry
Gabi Schmidt
Gregor Voht
Engin Eroglu
Denise Wendt
Federal Managing Director Arnold Hansen
founding January 24, 2009
Place of foundation Wurzburg
Headquarters Mühlenstrasse 13
27777 Ganderkesee
Youth organization Young Free Voters (JFW)
Alignment Political center
values ​​conservatism
Colours) Blue, orange
Bundestag seats
Seats in state parliaments
Chief administrative officer at the district level
Government grants 1,231,707.98 euros (2019)
(as of April 3, 2020)
Number of members 4,648 (12/31/2017)
Minimum age 14 years
European party European Democratic Party (EDP)
EP Group Renew Europe (RE)

Free voters ( abbreviation : Free voters, spelling: FREIE WÄHLER) is a small party in Germany . To distinguish it from other organizations of the same name, it is also referred to as the Federal Association of Free Voters .

The party emerged from the center of the Federal Association of Free Voters , an umbrella organization of municipal voter groups, and is closely linked to this in terms of personnel.

The free voters are currently represented in the Bavarian state parliament, where they are also involved in the state government . With the accession of a member of the state parliament, it is also represented in the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt . At the European level, the Free Voters are members of the European Democratic Party (EDP). Your MEPs Ulrike Müller and Engin Eroglu belong to the Renew Europe group.

The BVB / Free Voters represented in the Brandenburg state parliament does not belong to the party, but cooperates with it. For example, BVB supported the candidacy of the federal association in the 2017 federal elections in Brandenburg and the free voter candidate, Alexander Hold, in the 2017 election of the German Federal President .

Content profile

Communal independence

The party would like u. a. the local self-government strengthening. One of the reasons given for taking part in elections at the state and federal level is that state and federal politics "undermine" the independence of the municipalities . The party, on the other hand, advocates financial sovereignty for the municipalities. At the European level, the party demands that the European Committee of the Regions should have a permanent place in Parliament.

Economic and financial policy

The party fears that the European Union will develop into a “debt union ” or “inflation union ”. The previous euro policy had failed. At the same time, free voters demand a deepening of the EU only with a fundamental democratization in the sense of citizens' interests - “not a Europe of bureaucrats, but a Europe of citizens”.

The party also calls for the promotion of regional economic cycles. A sustainable budget policy is sought. The Banking Supervision should be tightened. Renewable and environmentally friendly technologies should be promoted. The rural area is to be strengthened through so-called infrastructure measures.

Other points of view

Direct democracy, party state
The party advocated citizen participation and referendums at the federal level. The Federal President and Prime Minister are to be elected directly. FREE VOTERS are critical of the current party democracy. In the opinion of the party, the influence of the parties should be limited. The influence of lobby groups should also be curbed. FREE VOTERS reject rigid lists in elections.

The party demands that the framework competence for the education system be transferred to the federal level.

Refugee policy
The Free Voters advocate an immigration policy based on the Canadian model . You are calling for family reunification to be limited for asylum seekers and want to provide return assistance. Anchor centers and the Bavarian State Office for Asylum reject them. At the same time, the party is demanding more benefits in kind instead of cash and is in favor of cuts in benefits for refugees who do not integrate.

Domestic politics

They also call for consistent action against organized crime and “exhaustion of the criminal framework”. The police and the judiciary are to be strengthened and modernized.


In the 1950s, the first regional associations of local free voter groups emerged. In 1965 the Federal Association of Free Voters was founded. Over the years, individual state associations repeatedly ran for state elections without much success.

The Free Voters of Bavaria decided to run for the state elections in 1998 . Running in the state elections was controversial internally and was rejected by some district associations. The free voters, so the criticism, would leave their actual local field of activity. According to the party law, they would also be given the character of a party by participating in the state elections. The organized voter group Free Voters Bavaria e. V. (FW voter group) founded. At the first election, this immediately reached 3.7%. In 2003 they improved slightly to 4.0%.

Other regional associations also ran for regional elections with varying degrees of success. The Free Voting Group Rhineland-Palatinate achieved 2.6% in 2001 , and in 2006 it achieved a worse result with 1.6%. The Free Voters of Thuringia came to 2.6% in 2004, the Free Voters of Hesse to 0.9% in 2008 and the Free Voters of Lower Saxony to 0.5% in 2008.

Entry into the Bavarian state parliament and first European elections

In the Bavarian state elections in 2008 , free voters were finally able to move into the state parliament with 10.2% and form the third largest parliamentary group there. In the state elections on September 15, 2013, FREIE VÄHLER was the first new group in a good 30 years to move into the Bavarian state parliament, where they are again the third strongest force with 9%.

After the success of the Bavarian FW in the state elections in 2008, the Federal Association of Free Voters decided to run nationwide for the European Parliament on June 7, 2009 . The decision was controversial within the federal association, the state association of Baden-Württemberg even withdrew from the federal association as a result of the resolution. The federal electoral group Free Voters was founded on January 24, 2009 in Würzburg for the candidacy . The top candidate was Gabriele Pauli . The free voters received 442 579 votes, which corresponded to 1.7% of the valid votes. This made free voters the most successful grouping of those parties that remained below the 5 percent hurdle.

This federal voter group was transferred to the federal association FREIE VÄHLER on February 20, 2010 . The federal association is closely linked to the federal association in terms of personnel. The federal chairman is Hubert Aiwanger, who is also the chairman of the federal association, the regional association of Bavaria, the Bavarian voter group and the parliamentary group of the free voters in the Bavarian state parliament. Based on the results of the European elections in Germany in 2009 , the Federal Association of Free Voters has been entitled to state party funding since 2009; for 2010 an amount of 79,850.41 euros was set.

On May 8, 2010, the first state branch of the Federal Association of Free Voters was founded in Mainz with the state association of Free Voters Rhineland-Palatinate. By April 2013, regional associations had been founded in all 16 federal states, some of which ran for state elections. The foundings were partly organized out of the corresponding regional associations, but partly they were also carried out against the resistance of the corresponding regional association. In Baden-Wuerttemberg and Saarland, the state associations even brought naming rights claims against the corresponding state associations, but were defeated in court.

Elections 2013

At the beginning of October 2011, the Free Voters of Bavaria decided to run for the 2013 federal election. Shortly afterwards, the Federal Association of Free Voters also decided to run for general elections in the future. For this purpose, the federal association finally merged with the previous Bavarian voter group, the Hessian voter group and the Free Voters Schleswig-Holstein party. As a result of the merger with the Bavarian voter group, the Federal Association of Free Voters does not have to collect any supporting signatures for election approval for federal elections, as well as for all state parliament and other elections (which may differ depending on the country), as the electoral group is represented in the state parliament and is recognized by the federal returning officer as "established" . According to its own information, the federal association has 4,648 members.

In July 2012, the party appeared for the first time in the nationwide surveys of the major polling institutes. YouGov and GMS predicted two percent of the vote for the party.

In 2012, the federal association worked with the electoral alternative founded by CDU circles in 2013 . In the state elections in Lower Saxony in 2013 , Bernd Lucke , among others, ran from the alternative on the list of free voters. The election was disappointing with a result of 1.1% for the party. As a result, the electoral alternative ended the collaboration in 2013. Three state chairmen switched to the Alternative für Deutschland party , which was founded by the electoral alternative. In addition, the Saarland state executive resigned.

The party ran for the first time in the federal election on September 22, 2013 and achieved 1%. The lawyer and financial economist Stephan Werhahn , a grandson of Konrad Adenauer , was nominated as the designated top candidate by acclamation . Werhahn, born in 1953, left the CDU after 40 years of membership due to its euro bailout policy . On March 27, 2013 Werhahn announced that he wanted to return to the CDU because he could "no longer support the current developments in the party [Free Voters] with a clear conscience".

Before the admission deadlines, the party had founded state associations in all the missing federal states or merged with existing associations and reoccupied the board members in which gaps had been left by converting to the AfD . After Stephan Werhahn's withdrawal, a nationwide “top candidate” was dispensed with. In all 16 federal states, state lists were drawn up, all of which were approved by the federal electoral committee on August 1, 2013. Otherwise 9 (plus the Union with two parties) of the approved 39 parties succeeded, of which 30 ultimately competed with at least one state list.

Entry into the European Parliament

On February 28, 2014, the top candidate Ulrike Müller and the deputy federal chairwoman Gabi Schmidt were accepted as individual members of the European Democratic Party in Brussels . The top candidate announced the cooperation between the party and the EDP after the European elections and on October 22, 2015 the Free Voters became members of the EDP.

At the Federal Members' Assembly in Erfurt on January 12, 2014, Ulrike Müller, Member of the Bavarian State Parliament, became the party's top candidate for the European elections on May 25, 2014 and was elected to the European Parliament. There she joined the ALDE group .

In May 2017, the MP Arne Gericke , who was elected for the Family Party , announced that he was leaving his party and joining the Free Voters. In October 2018 he left the Free Voters again and joined the alliance C .

Government participation in Bavaria from 2018

In the Bavarian state elections in 2018 , the free voters were again able to gain additional votes. As a result, they formed a coalition government with the CSU for the first time. The Federal Chairman Aiwanger became Deputy Prime Minister.

In the Hessian state election two weeks later, the party achieved its best result with 3.0% in a state election outside of Bavaria. On November 13, 2018, the FW state association Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the citizens of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (BMV), a spin-off from the AfD, announced their intention to merge. Three of the four state parliament members of the BMV joined the free voters. The previous BMV parliamentary group was renamed Free Voters / BMV. At the end of September 2019, however, the members of the state parliament resigned after disputes with the state chairman, Count von Westarp, and the parliamentary group dissolved.

In the state elections in Saxony in 2019 , the free voters again achieved a new best result with 3.4% in a state election outside of Bavaria. In the state elections in Brandenburg on the same day, the befriended BVB / Free Voters entered the state parliament for the first time in parliamentary groups. In the state election in Thuringia in October 2019 , however, the party only ran with direct candidates after missing the deadline for submitting the state list. At the end of 2019, the member of the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt Jens Diederichs joined the free voters. Diederichs, who was elected for the AfD and joined the CDU parliamentary group in 2017 as a non-party, became chairman of the newly founded district association Mansfeld-Südharz .

National associations


National association Founding / joining Chair
as of November 2018
as of January 2013
Result of the last
state election
Bundestag election
European elections
Germany location of Baden-Württemberg.svg Baden-Württemberg May 21, 2010 Klaus Wirthwein 118 00.1% ( 2016 ) 0.7% 3.2%
Germany location of Bayern.svg Bavaria Foundation: 1998
Joined: December 15, 2011
Hubert Aiwanger 3300 11.6% ( 2018 ) 2.7% 5.3%
Germany location of Berlin.png Berlin December 13, 2010 Tobias Bauer 54 na ( 2016 ) 0.3% 0.5%
Germany location of Brandenburg.svg Brandenburg May 19, 2011 Detlef Klix 31 na ( 2019 ) 1.2% 2.2%
Germany location of Bremen.svg Bremen 17th October 2018 Olaf Dinné ? 01.0% ( 2019 ) 0.4% 0.6%
Germany location of Hamburg.svg Hamburg October 30, 2010 Daniel Meincke ? 00.6% ( 2020 ) 0.4% 0.4%
Germany location of Hessen.svg Hesse Foundation: November 4th, 2006
Joined: 2012
Engin Eroglu 334 03.0% ( 2018 ) 0.9% 1.7%
Germany location of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.svg Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania June 19, 2010 Gustav Graf von Westarp 80 00.6% ( 2016 ) 0.8% 1.4%
Germany location of Niedersachsen.svg Lower Saxony June 5, 2010 Arnold Hansen 267 00.4% ( 2017 ) 0.4% 0.6%
Germany location of Nordrhein-Westfalen.svg North Rhine-Westphalia September 10, 2011 Sascha Mattern 215 00.4% ( 2017 ) 0.3% 0.6%
Germany location of Rheinland-Pfalz.svg Rhineland-Palatinate May 8, 2010 Stephan Wefelscheid 189 02.2% ( 2016 ) 1.4% 2.9%
Germany location of the Saarland.svg Saarland August 26, 2011 Uwe A. Kammer 84 00.4% ( 2017 ) 0.8% 1.1%
Germany location of Sachsen.svg Saxony June 18, 2011 Steffen Große 83 03.4% ( 2019 ) 1.1% 2.9%
Germany location of Sachsen-Anhalt.svg Saxony-Anhalt June 12, 2010 Andrea Menke 130 02.2% ( 2016 ) 1.2% 1.7%
Germany location of Schleswig-Holstein.svg Schleswig-Holstein Foundation: September 21, 2008
Joined: January 1, 2012
Gregor Voht 142 00.6% ( 2017 ) 0.6% 0.9%
Germany location of Thüringen.svg Thuringia Foundation: March 6, 2004
Joined: June 30, 2013
Mario Merten ? na ( 2019 ) 1.6% 2.4%


The State Association of Free Voters Baden-Württemberg was founded on May 21, 2010 in Rottweil . She originally wanted to run for the state elections in Baden-Württemberg in 2011 , but this project was rejected by a majority at a general meeting. In its statute it is anchored that it will not create any municipal subdivisions in order not to compete with the previous organization of the Land Association of Free Voters , which rejects the party structure of federal and regional associations. Therefore he defends himself against the state association under trademark law . This was decided negatively on November 10, 2010, because the state association, as a division of the Federal Association of Free Voters , is obliged under the party law to use the name components Free Voters and Baden-Württemberg . According to the presiding judge's argument, both associations must accept the likelihood of confusion.


The Citizens' Alliance of Free Voters e. V. was founded in 1993 by members of the civil rights movements of the turning point , including the New Forum , established that not the merger of Alliance 90 / The Greens had joined; prominent founding member was u. a. the later Prime Minister of Brandenburg Matthias Platzeck . In 2009 the name was changed to the Brandenburg Free Voters Association. V. Following a lawsuit by the Land Association of Free Voters , the association was legally prohibited from using this name. On May 19, 2011, the Free Voters State Association of Brandenburg was founded in Potsdam from the Citizens' Alliance of Free Voters .

In the case of state elections, the state association waives the candidacy in favor of the independent Brandenburg United Citizens' Movements / Free Voters .


The regional association in Hamburg was founded on October 30, 2010 and took part in the 2011 mayor and district assembly elections as well as in the 2013 federal election. With the dissolution of FW Free Voters Hamburg e. V. passed its assets to the regional association.


On August 26, 2011, the Free Voters Regional Association Saarland was founded as a regional association of the Federal Association of Free Voters. There was resistance from the local associations of Free Voters, as local successes had been achieved “without any party membership”.

On August 18, 2011, the Free Voters Saarland party was founded out of the Free Voters Sulzbach . The party and the regional association subsequently fought a legal battle over the brand name "Free Voters". In the run-up to the state elections in Saarland in 2012 , there were tensions between the state association and the state association. In the meantime, the board members of the regional association and the regional association are made up of identical people.

In the state elections in 2017 , the free voters ran nationwide and received 0.4% of the second votes and thus less than half as many as five years earlier.

Election results

Election results since 2008:

year federal
State parliaments European
















2008 10.2 n / A 0.9 0.5
2009 n / A n / A 1.6 0.8 n / A 1.0 3.9 1.7
2010 n / A
2011 n / A n / A n / A 0.7 1.1 2.3 2.8
2012 0.2 0.9 0.6
2013 1.0 9.0 1.2 1.1
2014 n / A 1.6 1.7 1.5
2015 n / A n / A
2016 0.1 n / A 0.6 2.2 2.2
2017 1.0 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5
2018 11.6 3.0
2019 n / A 1.0 3.4 n / A 2.2
2020 0.6
Legend: n / a. - not started; italic font - predecessor organizations; Bold - best election result; orange - entry into parliament; Election results in percent

Web links

Commons : Free Voters  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Annual report, as of December 31, 2017 (PDF)
  2. ^ Lisa Peyer: Free voters. In: Parties in Germany. Federal Agency for Civic Education , accessed on April 6, 2019 .
  3. Determination of state funds for 2019 (PDF; 293 kB) Retrieved on May 28, 2019 .
  7. a b c d Basic program of the free voters. (PDF; 323 kB) (No longer available online.) P. 1 , archived from the original on September 29, 2018 ; accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  8. ↑ Lone warrior in the EU Parliament: Ulrike Müller (Free Voters)., November 28, 2015, accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  9. ^ Lisa Peyer: Free voters. In: Parties in Germany. Federal Agency for Civic Education , June 5, 2017, accessed on April 1, 2019 .
  10. Aiwanger: "Immigration following the Canadian model desired" . Bavarian radio. October 3, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  11. He annoys Söder - and can save him . Spiegel Online . October 12, 2018. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  12. How will the Free Voters govern Bavaria? . Time online . October 15, 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  13. ^ Federal boards since 1965. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on January 27, 2012 ; accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  14. Results of the 2009 European elections. Federal Returning Officer, accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  15. Determination of party funding for 2010. (PDF; 190 kB) Retrieved on September 4, 2018 .
  16. Free voters: circular. (PDF) Retrieved April 30, 2013 .
  17. Free voters against the market power of the banks. (No longer available online.), October 18, 2011, archived from the original on November 1, 2013 ; accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  18. Sunday question in the Bundestag election., accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  19. ^ Jacqueline Goebel: Free voters in free fall. In: . April 12, 2013, accessed February 11, 2015 .
  20. Adenauer grandson returns to the CDU., March 27, 2013, accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  21. Bundestag election 2013 - approval of the state lists., accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  22. ^ Free voters Germany. In: EDP ​​website. Accessed September 4, 2018 .
  23. FREE VOTERS go into the European election campaign with Ulrike Müller, MdL. (No longer available online.) January 13, 2014, archived from the original on March 3, 2014 ; accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  27. Results of the 2017 Bundestag election. Federal Returning Officer, accessed on September 3, 2018 .
  28. Results of the 2019 European elections. Federal Returning Officer, accessed on May 30, 2019 .
  29. FREE VOTERS Establish state association in Bremen. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on November 1, 2018 ; accessed on October 31, 2018 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  30. FREE VOTERS Hessen strive for nationwide organization. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on February 12, 2012 ; accessed on September 4, 2018 .
  31. ^ Hergen Schelling: Hansen leads free voters in the country. NWZ Online, October 1, 2019, accessed October 3, 2019 .
  32. Süddeutsche Zeitung: Free voters choose Andrea Menke as the new country manager. Retrieved March 7, 2020 .
  33. Elmar Otto: Free voters strive for entry into the Thuringian state parliament. February 22, 2020, accessed on February 23, 2020 (German).
  34. ^ State elections without free voters.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. 2Template: Dead Link /  
  35. Statutes of the State Association of Free Voters Baden-Württemberg (PDF)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Website of the regional association, see § 4 of the statutes@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  36. ^ Badische Zeitung . Website of the Badische Zeitung; Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  37. Circular of the FW Landesverband Baden-Württemberg (PDF; 142 kB) Retrieved on December 14, 2010.
  38. Free voters found a Saarland state association today . Saarbrücker Zeitung
  39. Two organizations are fighting over the naming rights for free voters . Saarbrücker Zeitung  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  40. Board of the Saarland Regional Association. Free voters, accessed on April 7, 2019 (German).