Participation in elections
Information about Rights & Duties
Participating in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament
Like German voters, EU citizens from other Member States of the European Union who are entitled to vote are automatically entered in the electoral roll for municipal elections if they are registered with the municipal authority on the reference date.
The preconditions for voting or standing as a candidate in municipal elections are the same as for German nationals. As, pursuant to the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany [Grundgesetz], the organisation of municipal elections falls within the competence of the federal states, these conditions may differ from one state to another.
EU citizens who are not German nationals may become mayors, municipal councillors or councillors in some states, but not in others.
Voting is not compulsory in Germany.
Participation in elections in your home country
German nationals residing abroad can also exercise their right to vote and stand as candidates in elections for the European Parliament.
German citizens living abroad also have the right to vote if they had resided in Germany for at least one uninterrupted 3-month period after reaching the age of 14, provided that period was no more than 25 years before the election.
German citizens residing abroad who do not meet these conditions may still be entitled to vote if, for other reasons, they are personally and directly familiar with political circumstances in Germany and are affected by them.
Right to vote
Voters may vote in elections for the European Parliament in Germany only if they are registered on the electoral roll in Germany. Applications to be included in the electoral roll must be made as soon as possible and submitted to the relevant municipal authorities no later than 21 days before the election.
If the voter is permanently resident outside Germany, they must register to vote in the German municipality in which they were last registered.
If the voter was not registered in Germany at any time, they will be entered on the electoral roll for the European elections in Berlin, Mitte District Office.
Right to stand as a candidate (eligibility)
German nationals who are eligible to vote and reside in Germany can obtain authorisation to stand as a candidate from their municipality of residence. If they are not permanently resident in Germany, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community is responsible for issuing the authorisation. In this case, the application should be submitted either to the diplomatic or consular mission of the Federal Republic of Germany responsible for your place of residence, or directly to the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
Otherwise, the procedures for standing as a candidate are the same as those for Germans residing in Germany.
Participation in elections for the European Parliament
EU citizens from other Member States of the EU can vote either in their country of origin, including, depending on the right to vote, by post or by ballot in their diplomatic missions or consular posts or in Germany.
EU citizens from other Member States who vote for the first time in Germany must be registered on the electoral roll for the European elections. Applications to be included in the electoral roll must be made as soon as possible and submitted to the relevant municipal authorities no later than 21 days before the election.
You will then be entered in the electoral roll for future European Parliament elections. This applies until you move to another Member State or deletion of the registration is requested.
To vote or stand as a candidate in European Parliament elections you must meet the following conditions:
- be a national of an EU Member State
- be resident in Germany
- be at least 18 years old on election day
- have been permanently resident in Germany or another Member State of the EU for at least 3 months
- not be disqualified from voting or from standing as a candidate
EU citizens from other Member States of the EU should contact their German municipality of residence to inform the authorities where they will vote in the European Parliament elections.
Voting is not compulsory in Germany.
EU citizens from other Member States of the EU standing as a candidate for elections for the European Parliament must declare that they are not standing for election in any other country and are not disqualified from standing as a candidate.
In Germany, Members of the European Parliament are elected on the basis of lists of nominations. The nominations have to be submitted to the Federal Returning Officer by political parties or other political associations. Various documents must be submitted with the lists of nominations, including a form containing the declarations described above for candidates from other Member States of the EU. The form can be obtained from the state returning officers and from the Federal Returning Officer.
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Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community
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