Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany

23 May 1949, (Federal Law Gazette, p. 1)

(BGBl III 100-1)

most recently amended by the amending law dated 26 July 2002 (BGBl I, p. 2863)



Article 38 [Elections]

(1) Members of the German Bundestag shall be elected in general, direct, free, equal, and secret elections. They shall be representatives of the whole people, not bound by orders or instructions, and responsible only to their conscience.

(2) Any person who has attained the age of eighteen shall be entitled to vote; any person who has attained the age of majority may be elected.

(3) Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 39 [Convening and legislative term]

(1) Save the following provisions, the Bundestag shall be elected for four years. Its term shall end when a new Bundestag convenes. New elections shall be held no sooner than forty-six months and no later than forty-eight months after the legislative term begins. If the Bundestag is dissolved, new elections shall be held within sixty days.

(2) The Bundestag shall convene no later than the thirtieth day after the elections are held.

(3) The Bundestag shall determine when its sessions shall be adjourned and resumed. The President of the Bundestag may convene it at an earlier date. He shall be obliged to do so if one third of the Members, the Federal President or the Federal Chancellor so demand.


Article 41 [Scrutiny of elections]

(1) Scrutiny of elections shall be the responsibility of the Bundestag. It shall also decide whether a Member has lost his seat.

(2) Complaints against such decisions of the Bundestag may be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court.

(3) Details shall be regulated by a federal law.