Press release no. 16/21 of July 16, 2021

Background information for the 2021 Bundestag Election: parties representing national minorities

WIESBADEN – There are only four officially recognised national or ethnic minorities in Germany: Sorbs, Danes, Frisians, and German Sinti and Roma. They all are German citizens but differ from the German people in ethnic terms as they have their own language, culture and history, that is their own national identity. Two of these minorities have all or most of their original settlement areas in Schleswig-Holstein and are politically represented by the “Südschleswigscher Wählerverband” (SSW): the Danes and the Frisians. This means that the SSW is not only focused on representing the political interests of very specific voter groups but is also regionally restricted to that Land (Source: Federal Agency for Civic Education).

The Federal Returning Officer reports that the SSW has been recognised by the Federal Electoral Committee as a party representing national minorities within the meaning of the Federal Elections Act for the election to the 20th German Bundestag. The minority privilege serves to integrate national minorities in the development of an informed political opinion through elections.

Special regulations have been included in the Federal Elections Act regarding the requirement to provide supporting signatures for constituency nominations and Land lists of political parties representing national minorities (Section 20 (2), third sentence, Section 27 (1), fourth sentence, of the Federal Elections Act). Also, the five per cent clause does not apply to Land lists submitted by parties representing national minorities (Section 6 (3), second sentence, of the Federal Elections Act). 

This decision by the Federal Electoral Committee was primarily based on the fact that the SSW emerged and currently recruits itself from the Danish and Frisian minorities and that its programme is focused on these minorities. This means that the SSW does not have to submit supporting signatures and that the five percent clause does not apply. All other non-established parties which have been recognised by the Federal Electoral Committee for the purpose of the 2021 Bundestag Election have to collect supporting signatures for their candidates, and the five percent clause applies to them.


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