This page can help to give you an overview of the prominent political parties in Germany. We have included only parties that have passed the five percent threshold in the Bundestag and are, with exception, the oldest and most prominent parties in Germany.
CDU/CSU: The Christian Democratic Party is currently the strongest represented party in the Bundestag, holding 246 seats. As the name implies, it bases its politics on traditional and christian values- the CDU predominantly has conservative voters. Its sister party, the CSU (Christian Social Union) in Bavaria, which is considered even more conservative in social matters, is only eligible to stand for election in the state of Bavaria, whereas people can only vote for the CDU and its members in all other states. In the Bundestag, both parties form a common faction.
SPD: The Social Democratic Party holds 152 seats and is thus the second strongest represented party in the Bundestag. Traditionally, the SPD has always been the party of the working class and the trade unions. It is mainly concerned with freedom, justice, and social solidarity based on social democracy and on strenghtening the social market economy.
AFD: The third strongest party in the Bundestag is currently the populist right-wing party Alternative for Germany. Starting out as a Euro-critical party in 2013, the AFD quickly became associated with racist, anti-islamic and anti-immigrant ideology under the influence of chairperson Frauke Petry, which scored success during the refugee crisis in 2015. In July 2015, part of the party -under co-founder Bernd Lucke– separated itself from the rest, founding a new party; the Alliance for Progress and Reformers, today known as the Liberal Conservative Reformers. From there on, the AFD drifted off far more to the right under Frauke Petry and AFD-spokesman Jörg Meuthen. Petry left the party just after the Bundestag election in 2017 and joined the Blue Party. Ever since then, the party has developed into a hardliner right wing party, insisting on “traditional” German culture and gender roles, and has been known to question climate change as man-made. Another factor that makes the AFD potentially dangerous is its links to the right-extreme and Neo-Nazi scene.
FDP: The Free Democratic Party has been in the Bundestag from the beginning, and has formed several coalition governments with both the SPD and the CDU/CSU. Today, it holds 80 seats in the Bundestag. The FDP, today led by Christian Lindner, supports less government spending and lower taxes, but takes a progressive stance on social issues such as gay marriage or religion.
Die Linke: The democratic socialist party The Left Party currently has 69 seats and is the most left-wing in the Bundestag. It supports major redistribution of wealth at home and a pacifist stance abroad, including withdrawing Germany from NATO. It emerged from the successor party to the Socialist Unity Party (SED) that ruled communist East Germany until 1989. Today, it still enjoys most of its support in eastern Germany.
Alliance 90/Die Grünen: The Greens, led today by Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, emerged from the environmental movement in the 1980s. Unsuprisingly, it supports efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment. It is also progressive on social issues. But strong divisions have occasionally emerged on other topics.