European union


The German parliament (Bundestag)
Chaiperson: Wolfgang Thierse
Members: 603

Parliamentary groupSocial Democratic Party of Germany
Information for the partyThe Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD – Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) is the second oldest political party of Germany still in existence and also one of the oldest and largest in the world, celebrating its 140th anniversary in 2003. Rooted in the workers' movement, it is left-of-center and subscribes to social democracy.
The SPD is a member party of the Socialist International.
The SPD emerged as the winner in the September 1998 elections with 40.9% of the votes cast. Gerhard Schröder led the party to victory in 1998 on a moderate platform emphasizing the need to reduce unemployment.
In the September 2002 elections, the SPD reached 38.5% of the national votes, narrowly winning the elections. The European elections of 2004 were a disaster for the SPD, which reached its lowest level in public support for a decade with 21.5% of the vote.
For many years the membership of the SPD has been declining. Down from a high of over 1 million in 1976, there were about 775,000 members at the time of the 1998 election victory, and by August 2003 the figure had dropped to 663,000.
SDP become the second large political party in the Bundestag after the elections 2005 with 34,2% of the popular vote and 222 MPs.

Parliamentary groupChristian Democratic Union
Information for the partyThe Christian Democratic Union (CDU - Christlich Demokratische Union) is a political party in Germany, founded after World War II by Konrad Adenauer among others. The CDU is a moderate Christian and also the biggest conservative, political party in Germany. It is also a member of the International Democrat Union.
In Bavaria, the CDU does not exist; its role is played by the Christian Social Union (CSU). The CDU cooperates with the CSU at the federal level; although each party maintains its own structure, the two form a common caucus in the Bundestag and do not run opposing campaigns.
The CDU/CSU has adherents among Catholics, Protestants, rural interests, and members of all economic classes. It is generally conservative on economic and social policy and more identified with the Roman Catholic and (to a lesser extent) the Protestant churches than are the other major parties, although its programs are pragmatic rather than ideological.
Helmut Kohl served as chairman of the CDU from 1973 until the party's electoral defeat in 1998, when he was succeeded by Wolfgang Schäuble; Schäuble resigned in early 2000 as a result of a party financing scandal and was replaced by Angela Merkel.
In the 1998 general election, the CDU polled 28.4% and the CSU 6.7% of the national vote. In 2002, CDU reached 29.5% and the CSU 9.0%.
In the European elections of 2004 the CDU/CSU got 44% of the popular vote. Signaling that the results in nationwide opinion polls during 2003 and 2004 which put the CDU/CSU at a comfortable 48% can be realized.
The CDU in coalition with CSU won the 2005 parliamentary elections with narrow victory with 35,2% of the vote.

Parliamentary groupFree Democratic Party
Information for the partyThe Free Democratic Party (FDP - Freie Demokratische Partei) is a free market liberal party in Germany. The party is a member of Liberal International and the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.
The FDP has traditionally been composed mainly of middle- and upper-class Protestants, who consider themselves "independents" and heirs to the European liberal tradition. Although the party is relatively weak, yielding between 5 and 10 % of the votes in elections, it has participated in all but three postwar federal governments in coalitions with the CDU (conservatives) and SPD (social-democratic) and has spent only eight years out of government since 1949.
The party took 6.2% of the vote and returned 43 deputies to the Bundestag in 1998. In 2001, Guido Westerwelle replaced Wolfgang Gerhardt as party chairman. In the 2002 election, they took 7.4% of the vote.
The party was involved into quite some controversy after declaring itself to be the "party of the well-to-do people". A lot of people thought this meant the party was opposed to the interests of poorer people. Still, the party tends to do especially well in areas where people are better off, and in times when the CDU is not popular among the voters.
The party received 9,8% of the popular vote or 61 seats in the Bundestag at the 2005 parliamentary elections.

Parliamentary groupParty of Democratic Socialism (Die Linke)
Information for the partyThe Party of Democratic Socialism (Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus, PDS) is a left socialist political party in Germany.
The PDS is the legal successor of the Socialist Unity Party (SED) (the ruling communist party of the former German Democratic Republic). The grassroots democracy movement that forced the dismissal of East German head of state Erich Honecker in 1989 also empowered a younger generation of reform politicians in the SED who looked to Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union as their model for political change. By early 1990, the PDS was no longer a "Marxist-Leninist" party, though Marxist and communist minority factions continue to exist.
In the 2002 election, the PDS vote sank back to 4.3% and they failed to gain a plurality in at least three single-member districts, which would have allowed it proportional representation in any case. Thus they were able to seat only the two deputies from those two districts where they had achieved a plurality.
At the 2005 federal election, the Left Party became the fourth-largest party in the Bundestag, with 54 Members of Parliament.

Parliamentary groupBündnis 90/Die Grünen
Information for the partyBündnis 90/Die Grünen (literally: Alliance '90/The Greens), the German Green Party, is a political party in Germany whose regional predecessors were founded in the late 1970s as part of the new social movements. In 1980 the party was founded as "Die Grünen" on a federal level in West Germany. It is the oldest and thus far most politically successful of the world's many green parties. In 1989 and 1990 numerous civil rights groups in East Germany combined to form "Bündnis 90", which merged with "Die Grünen" in 1993. Since 1998, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen have been part of the coalition government on the national level.
The party received 8,1% of the popular vote or 51 seats in the Bundestag at the 2005 parliamentary elections.

Parliamentary groupChristian Social Union in Bavaria
Information for the partyThe Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU – Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern e.V.) is a conservative political party in Germany. It operates exclusively in the state of Bavaria, while its sister party CDU operates in the rest of the country.
The CSU has led the Bavarian state government practically since it came into existence, and without the need for a coalition government for most of the time. This level of dominance is unique in post-war Germany. On the federal level, it forms a common faction in the Bundestag (Federal Parliament) with the CDU. Edmund Stoiber took over the CSU chairmanship early in 1999. He ran for chancellor in 2002, but lost. In 2003 the CSU was re-elected as the Bavarian government with an overall majority.
Franz Josef Strauss (1915-1988) is seen as having set the ideological basis of the party, although he was too young to be a founding leader of the party, which began as a continuation of the Weimar-era Bavarian People's Party.
The party received 7,5% of the popular vote or 46 seats in the Bundestag at the 2005 parliamentary elections. It is in the wining coalition wit CDU in this elections.

faction: 603

factionSocial Democratic Party of Germany
factionChristian Democratic Union
factionFree Democratic Party
factionParty of Democratic Socialism (Die Linke)
factionBündnis 90/Die Grünen
factionChristian Social Union in Bavaria