State parliamentary elections (House of Representatives) and borough parliamentary elections (borough assemblies) are held every five years on the same day. The members of parliament and the parties are elected in general, direct, free, equal, and secret elections.
Every German citizen who is registered in Berlin and is at least 18 years old is eligible to vote in the elections for the House of Representatives. Every person who is eligible to vote can run for office.
All voters have two votes. With the first vote, a candidate from one of Berlin’s 78 constituencies is elected to parliament. If a candidate gets sufficient votes, they win a direct mandate.
Voters cast their second vote to choose a party. The second vote is key when it comes to the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives. The more second votes a party gets, the more seats it wins in the House of Representatives. If a party receives less than five percent of the second votes (electoral clause), it does not win any seats in the House of Representatives. In that case, it will only be represented in the House of Representatives if at least one of the party’s candidates wins a direct mandate.
Borough assemblies (BVV)
All Germans and all EU (European Union) citizens who are registered in Berlin and are at least 16 years old are eligible to vote in the borough assembly elections. Borough assembly elections are based on proportional representation, and each voter can only cast one vote. It is not possible to vote for an individual; only parties or voters’ associations can be voted for. If a party or a voters’ association does not receive at least three percent of the votes, it will not be represented in the borough assembly.