Basic mandate clause

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A basic mandate clause can determine in the proportional representation associated with the election of persons that a party is only taken into account in the distribution of the seats according to its share of the vote if it wins a specified number of direct mandates . The direct mandates required are the basic mandates.


In Germany there are basic mandate clauses in the Bundestag election and some state parliament elections. In Germany, basic mandate clauses are always linked to a threshold clause . Parties are taken into account in the allocation of seats according to their share of the vote if they meet the threshold clause or the basic mandate clause. Accordingly, obtaining a certain number of basic mandates is an alternative way of overcoming the threshold clause.

For federal elections, the five percent threshold clause and the basic mandate clause in the Federal Election Act (BWahlG) are set out in Section 6 (3) sentence 1 BWahlG.

The basic mandate clause is the second condition from Section 6, Paragraph 3, Clause 1 of the BWahlG, i.e. the acquisition of three basic mandates. A party that receives a relative majority of the first votes in three constituencies is therefore taken into account in the distribution of the seats according to the ratio of the second votes.

In the past, the basic mandate clause came into effect in the 1953 Bundestag election (in favor of the DP and the Center), the 1957 Bundestag election (DP) and the 1994 Bundestag election (PDS).

In the case of state elections, basic mandate clauses apply in Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. In Saxony it is necessary to win two constituencies, in the other states a basic mandate is sufficient.

Case studies

In the 1994 federal election , the PDS received 4.4% of the second vote. Due to four direct mandates won in four Berlin electoral districts, she was able to move into the Bundestag with 30 members according to her share of the vote of 4.4%.

If a party only receives one or two direct mandates and at the same time remains below the five percent hurdle, then only these one or two directly elected candidates will enter the Bundestag, as was the case with the PDS after the 2002 Bundestag election .

In the state elections in Brandenburg in 2014 , Christoph Schulze again won the direct mandate in the constituency of Teltow-Fläming III with 27% of the votes , but this time no longer for the SPD as in the 2009 election, but for the political association Brandenburg United Citizens' Movements / Free Voters , their He was also the top candidate in this election. Thanks to the basic mandate clause, the BVB / Free Voters therefore moved into the state parliament with three MPs in accordance with their share of 2.7% of the second votes.


The National Council Election Regulations (NRWO) provide for a three-stage investigation procedure for the award of mandates, the first level of which is the 39 regional constituencies. In order to be able to take part in the two following investigative procedures (state and federal level), an electoral party has to collect 4% of the valid votes nationwide or at least achieve a basic mandate in the first procedure . Since the introduction of this regulation with the NRWO in 1992, no party that has not been able to overcome the four percent hurdle has made it into the National Council through a basic mandate. Conversely, parties have already managed to move in by overcoming the hurdle without obtaining a basic mandate.

Before the amendment to the NRWO in 1992, the basic mandate hurdle itself was the relevant threshold clause. In the 1971 to 1990 elections, the lowest level was that of the state electoral districts (above that were the constituency associations), which is why basic mandates were much easier to obtain. In the first republic and from 1945 to 1970, the lowest level consisted of constituencies that were larger than today's regional constituencies, which also made it easier to obtain basic mandates than it is today.

In the case of state parliament elections, too, obtaining a basic mandate was initially the only decisive requirement for entry into the state parliament. It was only in the second republic that percentage threshold clauses (4% or 5%, depending on the federal state) were gradually introduced, the exceeding of which enables the company to move in without a basic mandate. Only in Styria is the basic mandate still a necessary condition for entry into the state parliament.

Web links


  • Wolfgang Schreiber: Lemma basic mandate clause . in: Sommer & von Westphalen: Citizenship Lexicon. Oldenbourg Verlag Munich Vienna 2000, 423
  • Hans-Hugo Klein: Overhang mandates and basic mandate clause in the federal election law in: Eckhard Jesse and Eckart Klein: The spectrum of parties in reunified Germany. Duncker & Humblot Berlin 2007

Individual evidence

  1. Basic mandate clause ( memento of February 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) on the Federal Returning Officer.
  2. § 18 Berlin State Election Act.
  3. § 3 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 Brandenburg State Election Act.
  4. Section 6 (1) SächsWahlG
  5. Section 3 (1) of the Schleswig-Holstein State Election Act.
  6. Free voters running for state elections
  7. State election 2014 Brandenburg
  8. List of mandates , state elections 2014, Brandenburg
  9. ↑ Changes to the electoral law at state level and their effect on voter turnout. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017 ; accessed on August 27, 2017 .