2002 German federal election

The 2002 German federal election was held on 22 September 2002 to elect the members of the 15th Bundestag. Incumbent Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's centre-left "red-green" governing coalition retained a narrow majority, although the SPD retained their status as the largest party in the Bundestag.

Issues and campaign

Several issues dominated the campaign, with the opposition CDU/CSU attacking the government's performance on the economy which fell back into recession due to the Telecoms crash and the introduction of the euro, as well as campaigning on family values and against taxes. The SPD and Greens, on the other hand, were helped by broad support for its opposition to the Iraq War, continued media attention on the CDU funding scandal and by Gerhard Schröder's personal popularity relative to the opposition's candidate for Chancellor, CSU leader Edmund Stoiber.
Early in the campaign, Guido Westerwelle, leader of the Free Democrats, declared himself a "Chancellor Candidate," usually a title reserved for the main election leaders of the SPD and CDU/CSU. This was met with general derision.


Although most opposition parties gained seats, and the result was in doubt for most of the election night, the governing coalition retained a narrow majority. In particular, the SPD was able to partially offset declines in their vote share in the West with an increase in the East, with the PDS falling below both the 5% threshold and the 3-seat threshold, either of which is required to qualify a party for top-up seats. Consequently, the PDS held only two directly-elected seats.


The coalition between the SPD and the Greens continued in government with Gerhard Schröder as chancellor. However, due to the slim majority in the Bundestag, the governing coalition was not stable.