‘Younger, fewer women’: 10 things to know about the new German Bundestag

'Younger, fewer women': 10 things to know about the new German Bundestag
The Reichstag building. Photo: DPA
On Tuesday the new German parliament is sitting for the first time after being voted in on September 24th. A few things have changed since last time around.

1. Biggest ever Bundestag

The Bundestag has grown by 12 percent from 631 to 709 members. That means it's not only the biggest Bundestag ever, it is also the biggest democratic parliament in the world.

2. Double the fun

For the first time since 1957, a total of six party factions will sit in the parliament. Between 1961 and 1983 there were only three factions in the parliament – the Social Democrats (SPD), the Christian Union (CDU/CSU), and the Free Democrats (FDP). The Greens joined in 1983 and die Linke arrived after reunification. The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) is the first new entry since 1990.

3. Happy comeback

The FDP are the first party to ever successfully make it back into the Bundestag after being knocked out. In 2013 they were punished by voters after being the unpopular junior partner to Angela Merkel's CDU in the government, and never made it over the 5 percent mark necessary to make it into the Bundestag.

But under charismatic young leader Christian Lindner they have had a revival and won 10.7 percent of the vote this time around.

Die Linke never made it over the 5 percent mark in 2002, but were still represented by two candidates who were directly voted into parliament.

Wilhelm von Gottberg, the oldest member of parliament. Photo: DPA

4. Going it alone

For the first time since 2002 there are two candidates sitting in the parliament who don't belong to a faction at its very outset. Frauke Petry and Mario Mieruch were voted in with the AfD but then left the party, saying it had strayed too far to the right. The pair will be seated at the back of the plenum, separate from the six factions.

5. Getting younger

The average age of MPs has sunk very slightly from 49.7 to 49.4 years of age. The FDP is the youngest party – their MPs are on average 45.8 years old – the AfD are the oldest at 50.7 years old.

6. A tricky rule change

Of the ten oldest MPs, eight are from the AfD. 77 year old Wilhelm von Gottberg is the oldest. In the last parliament he would have been given the symbolic role of father of the house, who gives the opening speech of the new parliament. But the rules were changed at the end of the last parliament to deny the AfD this privilege. Now the father of the house will be the longest-serving MP.

7. Longest-serving

The new father of the house will be the CDU grandee Wolfgang Schäuble, who has been in the Bundestag for 45 years. He is also set to become the Bundestag President, the equivalent of the house speaker.

8. Baby of the house

Philipp Amthor with Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

The youngest MP in the parliament will be Roman Müller-Böhm from the FDP, who is 24 years old. The youngest directly elected MP is Philipp Amthor from the CDU, who is just a month older than Müller-Böhm. He won his seat in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania at the first attempt.

9. Fewer women

With 30.7 of MPs now being women, this is the least female Bundestag since 1998. The number of women had risen continually since 1972 when there were only 6 percent women. But that sequence has now been broken, as in the last parliament 36 percent of lawmakers were women.

10. Most women in the Greens

In both the Green party and Die Linke over half of the MPs are women. The Green have the most female MPs at 58 percent. The AfD on the other hand are the most male dominated party – 11 percent of their lawmakers are women.