Some 7.8 million adult foreign residents in Germany will see themselves sidelined when federal election polls open on September 24, according to 2016 microcensus data sifted for DW by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). On average, these resident foreigners have lived in Germany for 15 years while paying tax and obligatory levies into health and pension funds, often acquiring intimate knowledge of German politics and culture. But they cannot vote, nor stand as political party candidates – unlike 61.5 million Germans, including 3 million first-timers, who can vote in the federal election.
The exclusion is spelled out in Germany’s post-war Federal Elections Act: A voter for Germany’s Bundestag must be solely German and 18 years or older – precepts also anchored rigidly in Germany’s post-war Constitution or Basic Law.
Long-stay foreigners can apply to become German citizens but normally have to surrender their original statehood. Proportionally few do so, at a sluggish rate of 110,000 per year. Some Germans are allowed dual nationality but only as an exemption.