Filed under: Law
The Law on Political Parties (Party Law)
Amended version of 31 January 1994 (Federal Law Gazette I, Page 149),last amended pursuant to Article 1 of the Law dated 28 June 2002(Federal Law Gazette I, Page 2268)
Law on Political Parties (Party Law)
(1) Political parties are a component of the free democratic basic order required under the Constitution. Due to their free and continuous participation in the formation of the political will of the people, they perform a public function which is incumbent on them under the Basic Law and which they undertake to fulfill to the best of their ability.
(2) The parties shall participate in the formation of the political will of the people in all fields of public life, in particular by exerting influence on the shaping of public opinion; inspiring and furthering political education; promoting active public participation in political life; training capable people to assume public responsibilities; participating in federal, Land and local government elections by nominating candidates; exerting influence on political developments in parliament and government; incorporating their defined political aims into the national decision-making process; and ensuring continuous, vital links between the people and the instruments of state.
(3) The parties shall lay down their aims in political programs.
(4) The parties shall use their funds solely for performing the functions incumbent on them under the Basic Law and this law.
Definition of a Political Party
(1) Parties are associations of citizens which exert influence permanently or for longer periods of time on the formation of the political will at federal or Land level and participate in the representation of the people in the German Bundestag or regional parliaments (Landtag) provided that they offer sufficient guarantee of the sincerity of their aims in the general character of their circumstances and attendant conditions, particularly with regard to the size and strength of their organization, their memberships and their conduct in public. Only natural persons may be members of a party.
(2) An organization shall lose its legal status as a party if it does not participate in either a federal election or a Landtag election with nominations of its own for six years.
(3) Political organizations shall not be deemed parties if
1. the majority of their members or the members of their executive committees are aliens; or
2. the registered seat of business is located outside the purview of the present law.
Active and Passive Legitimization
A political party may institute legal proceedings in its own name and lawsuits may be brought against it. The same shall apply to its top regional branches, unless specified otherwise in the party statutes.
(1) The name of the party must be clearly distinguishable from that of any existing party; this shall also apply to acronyms. In canvassing and the electoral procedure, only the regis-tered name or acronym may be used; supplementary designations may be omitted.
(2) Regional branches shall bear the name of the party and the designation of their or-ganizational status. This supplementary designation in connection with the name of regional branches is only permissible if it is placed after the name of the party. The supplementary designation may be omitted in general advertising and canvassing.
(3) Regional branches which withdraw from a party shall lose the right to continue to use the party’s name. A newly chosen name may not merely consist of an addendum to the pre-vious name. The same shall apply to acronyms.
(1) Where a public authority provides facilities or other public services for use by one party, equal treatment must be accorded to all parties. The scale on which such facilities and services are provided may be graduated to conform with the importance of the parties to the minimum extent needed for the achievement of their aims. The importance of a party shall be judged in particular from the results of previous government elections. The scale on which such facilities and services are accorded to a party that is represented in the Bundestag by a parliamentary group must be at least half that granted to any other party.
(2) With regard to the accordance of public services in connection with an election, Paragraph 1 shall apply only for the duration of the election campaign to parties which have submitted nominations.
(3) The public services defined in Paragraph 1 may be made dependent on certain pre-conditions which all parties have to fulfill.
(4) Section IV shall remain unaffected.
Statutes and Program
(1) A party must have written statutes and a written program. The regional branches shall conduct their affairs on the basis of their own statutes, unless specified otherwise in the statutes of their immediately superior regional branch.
(2) The statutes must contain provisions on:
1. The name and any acronym used, the registered seat and the field of activities of the party.
2. The admission and resignation of members.
3. The rights and duties of members.
4. Permissible disciplinary measures against members and their exclusion from the party (Article 10 (3) – (5)).
5. Permissible disciplinary measures against regional branches.
6. The general organization of the party.
7. Composition and powers of the executive committee and other bodies.
8. Matters which may only be decided at members’ and delegates’ assemblies pursuant to Article 9.
9. The preconditions, form and time limit for convening members’ and delegates’ assemblies and the official recording of the resolutions passed.
10. Regional branches and bodies which are authorized to submit (sign) nominations for elections to parliaments insofar as there are no relevant legal provisions.
11. A ballot among members and the procedure to be adopted when the party convention passes a resolution to dissolve the party or a regional branch or to merge with another party or parties pursuant to Article 9 (3). The resolution shall be deemed confirmed, amended or rescinded according to the result of the ballot.
12. Form and content of a financial structure which shall comply with the rules laid down in Section V of this law.
(3) The executive committee must inform the Federal Returning Officer of:
1. The party’s statutes and program.
2. The names and functions of the members of the executive committee of the party and its Land branches.
3. The dissolution of the party or a Land branch.
Amendments to Sentence 1 (1) and (2) above must be notified by 31 December of the given calendar year. The relevant documents are held by the Federal Returning Officer and made available to the public for perusal and inspection. Copies of the documents must be provided free of charge on request.
(4) Parties whose organizations are confined to the territory of a Land (Land parties) shall be subject to the provisions set out in this law for parties as a whole shall apply to the Land branches.
(1) Parties shall be organized in regional branches. The size and scope of the regional branches shall be laid down in the statutes. The regional structure of the party must be developed to a sufficient degree to enable individual members to participate on an appropriate scale in the formation of the political will of the party. Any party whose organization is confined to the territory of a city-state does not need to establish regional branches; it constitutes a party within the meaning of the present law. It is permissible for several regional branches to merge for organizational purposes if this does not substantially impair the branch structure of the party organization.
(2) Where there are no Land branches in a party, the provisions set out in the present law for Land branches shall apply for the next level of regional branch below that of the party itself.
(1) The members’ assembly and executive committee constitute the essential bodies of the party and its regional branches. The statutes may state that in the supra-local branches the members’ assembly may be replaced by a delegates’ assembly whose members are elected for a maximum of two years at members’ or delegates’ assemblies of the subordi-nate branches. Land parties without any regional branches (Article 7 (1) 4) may replace the members’ assembly with a delegates’ assembly if they have more than 250 members. Dele-gates’ assemblies may also be established for local branches which have more than 250 members or which cover a large geographical area.
(2) The statutes may also provide for other institutions (bodies) which help in the formation of opinion at regional branch level. They must be explicitly designated as such in the statutes.
Members’ and Delegates’ Assemblies
(Party Convention, General Assembly)
(1) The members’ or delegates’ assembly (party convention, general assembly) is the supreme body of a regional branch. In higher-level regional branches, this assembly is called a “party convention” and, at lower levels, a “general assembly”; the provisions for the party convention set out below shall also apply to the general assembly. Party conventions shall convene at least every second calendar year.
(2) Pursuant to the statutes, members of the executive committee and members of other bodies of a regional branch as well as members of the group of people defined in Article 11 (2) may be members of a delegates’ assembly, but in this case the number of them eligible to vote must not exceed a fifth of the total number of assembly members.
(3) On the basis of the competence of a regional branch within the party, the party convention shall decide on party programs, statutes, subscriptions, arbitration procedures, the dissolution of the party and mergers with other parties.
(4) The party convention shall elect the chair of the regional branch, his deputies and the other members of the executive committee, the members of any other bodies that may be established and delegates in the bodies of higher-level regional branches unless the present law permits another procedure.
(5) The party convention shall receive a progress report from the executive committee at least every two years and shall pass a resolution on it. Prior to its presentation, the financial part of the report shall be verified by auditors elected by the party convention.
(1) Pursuant to the detailed provisions of the statutes, the competent bodies of the party shall freely decide on the admission of new members. No reasons need to be given for rejecting an application for admission. Neither general nor temporary bans admission shall be permissible. Persons who have been deprived by judicial decision of their eligibility for office or of their right to vote may not become members of a party.
(2) Party members and delegates in the party bodies shall have equal voting rights. Pur-suant to the detailed provisions of the statutes, the exercise of voting rights can be made dependent on members having paid their membership fees. A member may resign from the party at any time without notice.
(3) The statutes shall contain provisions stipulating
1. permissible disciplinary measures against members;
2. the reasons for such measures;
3. the party bodies which may initiate disciplinary measures. If a member is deprived of party offices or of the qualification to hold such offices, the reasons for such a decision must be stated.
(4) A member may only be expelled from the party if he or she deliberately infringes the statutes or the principles of discipline of the party, thereby inflicting serious damage on the party.
(5) The arbitration court defined as competent under the arbitration procedure code shall decide on expulsions from the party. The right to appeal to a higher court must be guaranteed. Decisions must be justified in writing. In urgent and serious cases calling for immediate action, the executive committee of the party or a regional branch may exclude a member from exercising his or her rights until the arbitration court has reached a decision.
(1) The executive committee shall be elected at least every two calendar years. It must comprise at least three members.
(2) By virtue of the statutes, the executive committee may include members of parliament and other high-ranking persons in the party if they hold office or mandate as the result of an election. The proportion of members not elected under the provisions of Article 9 (4) must not exceed one fifth of the total number of executive committee members. The chair-person and treasurer of a party may not exercise comparable functions in any political foundation associated with the party.
(3) The executive committee shall manage the regional branch and conducts its affairs in accordance with the law and the statutes as well as with the resolutions of the supreme bodies of the party. It shall represent the regional branch in accordance with Article 26 (2) of the Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) unless the statutes specify otherwise.
(4) An executive presiding committee may be formed from the members of the executive committee to implement the resolutions of the latter and to carry out regular and particularly urgent executive committee business. Its members may also be elected by the executive committee or stipulated in the statutes.
General Party Committees
(1) Members of general party committees and similar institutions endowed pursuant to the statutes with extensive powers for deliberating or deciding on questions of party policy and organization may also be elected by subordinate regional branches.
(2) The chairperson and members of the group of persons defined in Article 11 (2) may also belong to such a body by virtue of the statutes. The proportion of non-elected members must not exceed one third of the total number of members of this body; it may be augmented by the election of non-voting members with merely advisory functions, but even in this case the proportion of non-elected members must still be less than half of the total number of members.
(3) Members of the bodies specified in Paragraph 1 shall hold office for a maximum of two years.
Composition of Delegates’ Assemblies
The composition of a delegates’ assembly or of any other body wholly or partly comprising delegates from regional branches must be laid down in the statutes. The number of dele-gates from a regional branch shall primarily be calculated on the basis of the number of members represented. The statutes may stipulate that the composition of the remaining delegates, no more than half of the total number, shall be determined in accordance with the proportion of votes obtained at regional branch level in previous parliamentary elections. The exercise of this right to vote may be made dependent on the fulfillment of the regional branch’s requirement to pay its membership fees.
Party Arbitration Courts
(1) Courts of arbitration shall be set up at least at party level and at the top-level regional branches to settle and decide on disputes between the party or a regional branch and indi-vidual members as well as on disputes over the interpretation and implementation of the statutes. Joint courts of arbitration may be set up for several regional branches at district level.
(2) The members of the arbitration courts shall be elected for a maximum of four years. They must not be members of the executive committee of the party or a regional branch, be employed by the party or a regional branch, nor receive regular income from them. They shall be independent and not be subject to instructions.
(3) The statutes may provide for the arbitration courts to comprise, in general or in par-ticular cases, associate judges nominated on a parity basis by the litigants.
(4) The functions of the arbitration court shall be governed by an arbitration court code designed to guarantee litigants a legal hearing, fair proceedings and the challenge of a member of the arbitration court for bias.
Formation of Will in the Bodies
(1) The bodies shall adopt their resolutions on the basis of a simple majority vote unless a higher majority vote is prescribed by law or by the statutes.
(2) The elections of the members of the executive committee and the delegates to delegates’ assemblies as well as to bodies of higher-level regional branches shall be secret. Voting may be open at all other elections unless voters object when asked.
(3) The statutory provisions governing the filing of motions must be such as to ensure a democratic formation of will and in particular the adequate discussion of proposals also put forward by minorities. At least the delegates of the regional branches at the next two lower levels must be granted the right to file motions at the assemblies of higher-level regional branches. Any commitment to resolutions taken by other bodies shall be impermissible at elections and polls.
Measures Against Regional Branches
(1) The dissolution and expulsion of subordinate regional branches or the removal from office of whole bodies of the aforementioned shall be permissible only in cases of serious infringement of party principles or discipline. The statutes shall stipulate
1. the reasons for which the measures shall be permissible;
2. the higher-level regional branch and the body of that regional branch that may pass such measures.
(2) The executive committee of the party or a higher-level regional branch must receive confirmation of a measure provided for in Paragraph 1 from a senior body. The measure shall be repealed if it is not confirmed at the next party convention.
(3) It is permissible to appeal to an arbitration court against measures provided for in Paragraph 1.
Nomination of Candidates for Election
Nomination of Candidates
The nomination of candidates for election to all levels of government must be by secret ballot. The nomination procedure shall be as prescribed by the electoral laws and party statutes.
Principles and Volume of State Funding
(1) The parties shall receive funds as a contribution towards the funding of the duties generally incumbent upon them under the Basic Law. The allocation of state funds shall depend on the success a party achieves with the voters in European, Bundestag and Landtag elections, on the sum of its membership fees and on the amount of money it obtains from donations.
(2) The maximum total volume of state funds which may be paid to all parties each year shall be 133 million euros (absolute upper limit).
(3) Under the state partial funding program, the parties shall each year receive:
0.70 euro for each valid vote cast for its list or
0.70 euro for each valid vote cast for a party in a constituency or polling district whose list was not approved in a Land, and
0.38 euro for each euro which it has obtained as bestowals (membership fee, deputy fee or rightfully obtained donation); in this context, only bestowals up to 3,300 euros per natural person shall be taken into account.
Notwithstanding numbers 1 and 2 above, the parties shall receive 0.85 euro for every vote they obtain up to four million valid votes.
(4) Parties which, according to the final election result, have obtained at least 0.5 % of the valid votes cast for lists at the latest European or Bundestag election or 1 % in a Land election shall be entitled to state funds in accordance with Paragraph 3, nos. 1 and 3; in order to qualify for payments under Paragraph 3, sentence 1, no. 1 and sentence 2, the party must meet these requirements in the election concerned. Parties which, according to the final election result, have obtained 10 % of the valid votes cast in a constituency or polling district shall be entitled to state funds under Paragraph 3, no. 2. Sentences 1 and 2 shall not apply to parties of national minorities.
(5) The amount of state funds must not exceed the annual income gained by a party under Article 24 (4), nos. 1 to 7 (relative upper limit). The sum of the funds made available to all parties must not exceed the absolute upper limit.
(6) Upon publication of the statements of account by the President of the German Bundestag of the parties represented in the German Bundestag, the Bundestag shall in accordance with Article 23 (2), sentence no. 3 decide on the adaptation of the amount to the absolute upper limit (Article 18 (2)). To this effect, the President of the Federal Statistical Office shall submit a report to the German Bundestag by 30 April of each year concerning the development of the price index of expenditures typical for a party with respect to the previous year. This report shall be based on a basket of the goods and services associated with the typical expenditures of the parties according to the recommendation of the committee pursuant to Paragraph 7.
(7) During the first year of his term of office, the Federal President shall appoint a independent expert commission to review the basket on which the price index of the typical expenditures of the parties is based. It shall, if necessary, redefine the composition and weighting of the basket as well as the base year for the price index. It shall submit the results of this review to the President of the German Bundestag. In case of changes to the structure of state funding, another independent expert commission shall be appointed upon request of the German Bundestag.
(8) If a party is dissolved or banned, it shall lose its eligibility for support under the state partial funding program from the date of its dissolution.
Filing of an Application for State Partial Funding
(1) The parties must apply to the President of the German Bundestag in writing by 30 September of the year of entitlement for the fixing and disbursement of the state funds for the year of entitlement as defined by the Law. Applications must be submitted by an executive committee member who under the party statutes is responsible for financial affairs and must contain the address to which mail is to be delivered and bank account particulars. It is sufficient for the federal association to submit a common application for the whole party. Partial applications are permissible. In case state funds for a party have already been fixed for the year preceding the year of entitlement, the President of the German Bundestag will fix the sum without further application. The party must notify the President of the German Bundestag of any changes concerning the fixing procedure immediately. If no such notification is given, the party be liable.
(2) Applications for installments must be submitted in writing to the President of the German Bundestag by the 15th of the month preceding the next installment. Applications may be submitted for several installments for the year at the same time. Paragraph 1, sentences 5 to 7 shall apply mutatis mutandis.
(1) The President of the German Bundestag shall fix the volume of state funds each eligible party is entitled to for the previous year (year of entitlement) by 15 February each year. He may only fix and disburse state funds for a party pursuant to Articles 18 and 19a on the basis of a statement of account that corresponds to the provisions in Section V. If the President of the German Bundestag institutes proceedings pursuant to Article 23a (2) with regard to a statement of account that has been submitted in due time, he shall only provisionally fix the state funds for this party on the basis of its statement of account and shall disburse these funds against a security deposit equivalent to the probable financial obligations of the party (Articles 31a to 31c). He will fix the volume of state funds after the conclusion of the procedure.
(2) The basis for fixing the volume of state funds is the number of valid votes obtained by the eligible parties by 31 December of the year of entitlement in the latest European, Bundestag or Landtag elections and the bestowals published in the statements of account (Article 18 (3), sentence 1, no. 3) for the previous year (account year). The President of the German Bundestag shall record the valid votes for each party qualified for consideration under Article 18 (4) in a vote account and keep it up to date.
(3) The party shall submit its statement of account to the President of the German Bundestag by 30 September of the year following the account year. The President of the German Bundestag can extend this deadline by up to three months. If a party does not submit its statement of account on time, it shall once and for all forfeit its entitlement to state funds linked to bestowals (forfeiture of bestowal share). If a party has not submitted its statement by 31 December of the year following the year of entitlement, it will once and for all forfeit its entitlement to state funds for the year of entitlement (forfeiture of the electoral vote share). The deadline will be met regardless of the correctness of the content if the statement complies with the form specified in Article 24 and the auditor’s certificate is attached pursuant to Article 30 (2). The amounts fixed and disbursed to the other parties shall remain unaffected.
(4) The calculation of the relative upper limit (Article 18 (5)) shall be based on the income published in the statements of account for the account year pursuant to Article 24 (4), nos. 1 to 7.
(5) During the fixing procedure, first the absolute limit (Article 18 (2)) must be observed and then the relative limit for each party (Article 18 (5)). If the total sum of state funds calculated exceeds the absolute limit, the parties shall only be entitled to a volume of state funds equal to their proportion of that sum.
(6) The state funds for the valid votes obtained in Land elections shall be disbursed to the party’s Land branch at the rate of 0,50 euro per vote; any reductions made under Paragraph 5 shall not be taken into consideration if they can be made within the scope of the disbursements that have to be made by the Federation (Article 21 (1), sentence 1, alternative 2). The remaining state funds shall be disbursed to the party’s national branch or, if the party is only represented at Land level, to the Land branch.
(1) Parties entitled to state funds must be granted installments on the amount established by the President of the German Bundestag. Such payments shall be calculated on the basis of the funds allocated to each party in the previous year. Installments shall be paid on 15 February, 15 May, 15 August, and 15 November; they must not exceed 25 % of the total sum fixed for the party concerned for the preceding year. If there are signs that a party might be obliged to reimburse funds, the grant may be made dependent on a security deposit.
(2) Installments must be reimbursed by the parties immediately if they exceed the amount fixed or if a party has no entitlement to them. If the amount fixed shows that there was an over-payment, the President of the German Bundestag shall assess the amount that that has to be reimbursed as part of the administrative act comprising the fixing and shall take this amount into account directly.
(3) Paragraph 19a (6) shall apply mutatis mutandis.
Provision of Federal Government Funds and Payment Procedure
(1) The funds provided for in Articles 18 and 20 shall in the case of Article 19a (6), sentence 1, be disbursed to the parties by the Laender, in other cases by the Federal Government through the President of the German Bundestag. The President of the German Bundestag shall bindingly inform the Laender of the amounts accruing to the Land branches of the parties.
(2) The Federal Audit Office shall examine whether the President of the German Bundestag as the agency administering the funds has fixed the volume of the state funds and disbursed them in accordance with the provisions of this Section.
Internal Financial Compensation The parties’ national branches shall make adequate arrangements for the adequate financial compensation of their Land branches.
Rendering of Account
Obligation to Render A Public Statement of Account
(1) The executive committee of the party shall render public account of the origin and appropriation of funds received by the party within a calendar year (accounting year) as well as of its assets in a statement of account.
(2) The statement of account must be scrutinized by a certified auditor or auditing company in accordance with Articles 29 to 31. In the case of parties which do not meet the requirements of Article 18 (4), sentence 1, the statement of account may be scrutinized by a sworn public accountant. It must be submitted to the President of the German Bundestag by 30 September of the year following the accounting year and circulated by him or her as a Bundestag printed paper. The President of the German Bundestag may extend the limit up to a maximum of three months in extenuating circumstances. The party statement of account shall be submitted for discussion to the next national party convention following its publication.
(3) The President of the German Bundestag shall examine whether the statement of account has been prepared in accordance with the regulations of Section V. The result of the scrutiny shall be recorded in the report specified in Paragraph 5.
(4) The President of the German Bundestag shall not fix the volume of state funds to be allocated to a party under Articles 18 and 19 until a statement of account complying with the provisions of Section V has been submitted. The decisive basis for payments as defined in Article 18 shall be the statement of account for the preceding year, for payments as defined in Article 20 the statement of account submitted the preceding year. A party that fails to submit the report by 31 December of the following year shall forfeit its entitlement to state funds; the amounts fixed and disbursed to the other parties shall remain unaffected.
(5) The President of the German Bundestag shall report to the German Bundestag each year on the trend in the financial situation of the parties and the party statements of account. The report shall be circulated as a Bundestag printed paper.
Illegally Obtained Donations
(1) A party which obtains donations illegally or fail to publicize them in the statement of account in accordance with the regulations of this Law (Article 25 (2)) shall forfeit its entitlement to state funds equivalent to twice the amount of money illegally obtained or not publicized in accordance with the provisions of this Law. Donations obtained illegally must be surrendered to the Office of the President of the German Bundestag.
(2) Donations as defined in Article 25 (1), sentence 2, shall be regarded as illegally obtained if they have not been immediately transferred to the Office of the President of the German Bundestag, in contravention of Article 25 (3).
(3) The Office of the President of the German Bundestag shall, at the beginning of each calendar year, transfer the funds received within a calendar year to institutions serving charitable, church, religious or scientific purposes.
(4) The political parties shall incorporate in their statutes regulations to cover the event of measures as defined in Paragraph 1 being caused by Land branches or their subordinate regional branches.
Obligation to Report Inaccuracies in the Statement of Account
(1) If a party obtains knowledge of inaccuracies in the statement of account that it has submitted to the President of the German Bundestag in due time and form, the party shall immediately report this fact to the President of the German Bundestag.
(2) If a party reports an inaccuracy, it will not be subject to the legal consequences specified in Article 31b or 31c if at the date of receipt of the report there was no firm evidence that these inaccuracies were known publicly or were neither known to the President of the German Bundestag nor had been discovered in an official proceedure and the party fully discloses and corrects the facts and figures. The unlawfully received financial benefits shall be returned to the President of the German Bundestag within a time limit he or she sets.
(3) Paragraph 23a (5 and 6) shall apply mutatis mutandis.
Statement of Account
(1) The statement of account shall comprise a bill of receipts and expenditure and an account of assets. It shall be drawn up in accordance with the principles of proper bookkeeping and with due regard to the purposes of this Law. The statement of account of the whole party shall incorporate separate accounts for the party’s national branch and the Land branches as well as statements of account of the subordinate regional branches of each Land branch. Land branches and their subordinate regional branches shall attach to their statements of account a complete list of all donations received, together with the names and addresses of the donors. The Land branches shall keep the statements of account of their subordinate regional branches together with their own accounting documents.
(2) The bill of income shall include:
1. Membership fees and similar regular contributions
2. Donations from natural persons
3. Donations from legal entities
4. Income from assets
5. Income from organized events, distribution of printed material and publications and other activities associated with income
6. State funds
7. Other income
8. Grants from party branches
9. Gross receipts from items 1 to 8.
(3) The bill of expenditures shall include:
1. Personnel expenditure
2. Business expenditure
3. Expenditure for general political work
4. Expenditure for election campaigns
6. Other expenditure
7. Grants to party branches
8. Gross expenditure from items 1 to 7.
(4) The statement of assets shall comprise:
1. Property assets
I. Capital assets:
1. Property in the form of houses and real estate
2. Office equipment
3. Financial investments
II. Working capital:
1. Claims on party branches
2. Claims on state funds
3. Monetary assets
4. Other assets
III. All property
I. Reserve funds:
1. Pension obligations
2. other reserve funds
1. Liabilities towards party branches
2. Liabilities towards banking institutions
3. Other liabilities III.
3. Net assets (positive or negative)
(5) The statement of account must show the total amount of bestowals made by natural persons up to 6,000 German marks per person as well as the total amount of bestowals made by natural persons which exceed the amount of 6,000 German marks separately.
(6) The statement of account shall be preceded by a summary covering the following items:
1. Income of the whole party in accordance with Paragraph 2, nos. 1 to 7, and their total
2. Expenditure of the whole party in accordance with Paragraph 3, nos. 1 to 6, and their total
3. Surplus or deficit
4. Items of possession of the whole party in accordance with Paragraph 4, nos. 1 I and II 2 to 4 and their total
5. Debit items of the whole party in accordance with Paragraph 4 nos. 2 I and II 2 and 3 and their total
6. Net assets of the whole party (positive or negative)
7. Gross receipts, gross expenditures, surpluses or deficits as well as net assets of the three organizational levels – national branch, Land branches and their subordinate regional branches.
In addition to the absolute figures for nos. 1 and 2, the percentage rate of the income sum pursuant to no. 1 and of the expenditure sum pursuant to no. 2 respectively must be indicated.
(7) The number of members at the end of the year must be indicated.
(8) The party may attach brief explanations to the statement of account, especially to specific items.
(9) Public grants appropriated for political youth organizations shall not count towards the absolute and relative upper limits. They must be indicated in a party’s statement of account for information purposes but shall not be included in its bill of income and expenditure.
(1) Parties are entitled to accept donations. Donations can be given in cash up to the amount of 1,000 euros. Party members who receive donations for a party shall immediately forward them to an executive committee member who in accordance with the statutes is responsible for financial affairs. Donations to a party shall be considered obtained when they reach the area of disposal of an executive committee member responsible for financial affairs or of a full-time member of the party; donations that are forwarded back to the donor immediately after receipt shall not be deemed as having reached the party.
(2) Parties are not allowed to accept the following donations:
1. Donations from public corporations, parliamentary factions and groups as well as fractions and groups of municipal agencies;
2. Donations from political foundations, incorporated bodies, associations of individuals and funds which, under the statutes, the foundation charter or other rules and regulations and by virtue of the actual business, are intended exclusively and directly for non-profit-making, charitable or church purposes (Paragraphs 51 to 68 of the tax law)
3. Donations from outside the area of application of this Law unless
a. these donations accrue to a party directly from the assets of a German citizen as defined by the Basic Law, a citizen of the European Union or a business enterprise more than 50 per cent of whose shares are owned by Germans as defined by the Basic Law or by a citizen of the European Union or whose principal residence is located in a member state of the European Union;
b. they are donations to parties of national minorities in their ancestral country which are granted to them from states bordering on the Federal Republic of Germany and in which members of their ethnic community live, or
c. they are donations of no more than 1,000 euros from an alien.
4. Donations from professional associations which were bestowed on them with the proviso that they be forwarded to a political party.
5. Donations from enterprises that are fully or partly under state ownership or are administrated or managed publicly if the state has more than a 25 per cent holding.
6. Donations which exceed 500 euros and whose donors cannot be determined, or donations from an anonymous third party which have evidently been forwarded.
7. Donations that are clearly made to the party in the expectation of or in return for a specific economic or political advantage.
8. Donations solicited by a third party against a payment from the party if the payment exceeds 25 per cent of the value of the solicited donation.
(3) Donations and deputy fees in excess of a total of 10,000 euros given to a party or to one or more of its regional branches in a calendar year (accounting year) must be recorded in the statement of account, together with the names and addresses of the donors and the total amount of the donations. Single donations in excess of 50,000 euros shall be reported to the President of the German Bundestag immediately. He or she shall publish the donation as a Bundestag printed paper as soon as possible, stating the name of the donor.
(4) The party shall forward inadmissible donations as defined in Paragraph 2 to the Office of the President of the German Bundestag at the latest together with the submission of the statement of account for the respective year (Article 19a (3).
Definition of Income
(1) Income is any monetary payment made to the political party unless special stipulations apply to specific types of income (Article 24 (2)). Exemption from customary obligations and from the assumption of responsibility by others for events and measures with which explicit canvassing is done for a political party shall likewise be considered income.
(2) All income shall be entered to their full in their appropriate places. Article 27 (2) shall remain unaffected.
(3) Non-monetary assets shall be assessed at the prices normally paid in the ordinary course of business for identical or comparable services.
(4) Party work done by citizens shall as a matter of principle be unpaid work. Payments in kind and services provided by party members on a non-commercial basis and usually free of charge shall not be counted as income. The reimbursement of costs and expenses shall remain unaffected.
(5) Transitory items of money and services as well as membership fees and other income appropriated from the outset for quota allocation among several regional branches shall be booked at the branch which will ultimately receive them.
Individual Types of Income
(1) Membership fees shall only be regular payments a member pays by virtue of statutory provisions. Donations shall be payments exceeding the aforementioned contributions, in particular admission fees, special assessments and collections as well as monetary bestow-als of all kinds unless they are usually made free of charge on a non-commercial basis.
(2) The net profit must be entered for the sources of income specified in Article 24 (2), nos. 4 and 5. The requirement to disclose income in the accounts pursuant to Article 24 (2), nos. 2 and 3 and Paragraph (5) shall remain unaffected. Other income as defined in Article 24 (2), no. 7 must be broken down and provided with explanatory notes whenever it exceeds 5 per cent of the total income from nos. 1 to 6 in one of the breakdowns shown under Article 24 (1).
(3) The bill of income may disregard payments in kind and services which the party members usually provide free of charge on a non-commercial basis which do not exceed a value of 1,000 German marks in each individual case. Sentence 1 shall apply as appropriate to the organization of canvassing events and measures.
Political parties must keep accounts of income and expenditure which are liable to account as well as of their assets. The accounts shall be drawn up in accordance with the principles of proper bookkeeping and with regard to the purposes of this Law. The accounting documents must be stored for six years; account books, balance sheets and statements of account for ten years. The period of storage shall commence at the end of the accounting year.
Audit of the Statement of Account
(1) The audit specified Article 23 (2), sentence 1 and Paragraph 3 shall apply to the party’s national branch, its Land branches and to at least four subordinate regional branches chosen by the auditor.
(2) The auditor may require the executive committee and the persons authorized by them to furnish any information and evidence he may need to perform his auditing duty with due care. He must therefore also be allowed to examine the documents used to compile the statement of account, the books and written documents as well as the cash balance and existing assets.
(3) The executive committee of the regional branch to be audited shall provide the audi-tor written assurance that all the receipts which are liable to account, expenditure and assets are included in the statement of account. Reference may be made to the assurance provided by the executive committees of subordinate regional branches. It is sufficient for the executive committee member responsible for financial affairs to provide this assurance.
Audit Report and Auditor’s Certificate
(1) The result of the audit must be set out in writing in an audit report which must be de-livered to the executive committee of the party and to the executive committee of the audited regional branch.
(2) If no objections are to be lodged after the final result of the audit, the auditor must confirm by means of a certificate that, after a dutiful audit and on the basis of the party’s account books and documents as well as the information and evidence furnished by the executive committees, the statement of account as audited (Article 29 (1)) complies with the provisions of this Law. If objections are to be lodged, the auditor must refuse to provide this confirmation in its auditor’s certificate or modify it accordingly. The names of the regional branches audited must be stated in the auditor’s certificate.
(3) The auditor’s certificate must be attached to the statement of account to be submitted and published verbatim in accordance with Article 23 (2), sentence 2.
(1) A certified auditor or a certified accountant may not be an auditor if he:
1. holds an office or a function in the party or for the party or has held one during the last three years;
2. in the course of keeping the accounts or preparing the statement of account required to be audited, he has participated in more than just auditing work;
3. is the legal representative, employee, member of the supervisory board or partner of a legal or natural person or of a partnership or the owner of an enterprise if the legal or natural person, the partnership or one of its partners or the specific enterprise may not be the party auditor pursuant to no. 2;
4. in the auditing, employs a person who may not be an auditor pursuant to nos. 1 to 3.
(2) An auditing company or a certified auditing company may not be an auditor if:
1. pursuant to Paragraph (1), no. 3 as the partner of a legal person or a partnership or pursuant to Paragraph (1), no. 2 or 4 it may not be an auditor;
2. pursuant to Paragraph (1), no. 2 or 3, one of its legal representatives or partners may not be an auditor.
(3) The auditors, their assistants and the legal representatives of an auditing company who assist in the audit are obliged to discharge their duties conscientiously and impartially and to exercise discretion
Procedures for Unlawful Statements of Account and Penal Provisions
(1) If bestowals were unlawfully indicated in the statement of accounts (Article 18 (3), no. 3, sentence 1) and the state funds that the party was entitled to were therefore wrongly fixed, the President of the German Bundestag shall revoke the fixing of the state funds pursuant to Article 19a (1). This shall not apply if the correction is made in the statement of accounts for the following year (Article 23a (5), sentence 3. Article 48 (2) of the Administrative Procedure Act shall not apply.
(2) No revocation shall be possible after the end of the time period fixed in Article 24 (2).
(3) With the revocation, the President of the German Bundestag fixes the amount that has to be reimbursed by the party in an administrative act. If a settlement emerges in the further course of the state funding procedure, the difference shall be taken into account in the next installment paid to the party.
(4) The amounts fixed and disbursed to the other parties shall remain unaffected.
(5) The parties shall include provisions in their statutes in case action pursuant to paragraph 1 is caused by Land branches or subordinate regional branches.
(1) Anyone intent on concealing the origin or the use of party means or assets or on evading the obligation render public account who
1. causes false data concerning the income or the assets of the party to be recorded in a statement of account submitted to the President of the German Bundestag or submits a false statement of account to the President of the German Bundestag or
2. as a recipient divides a donation into installments and credits them or has someone credit them or
3. does not forward a donation notwithstanding Article 25 (1), sentence 3
shall be sentenced to up to three years imprisonment or fined. In accordance with sentence 1, no one shall be punished if under the conditions set forth in Article 23b (2) they report the fact for the party pursuant to Article 23b (1) or help to report the fact.
(2) Anyone who as an auditor or an auditor’s assistant gives a false report on the result of the audit of a statement of account, fails to disclose relevant facts in the audit report or grants a confirmation certificate whose content is false shall be sentenced to up to three years imprisonment or fined. Offenders acting against payment or with the intent of enriching themselves or someone else or damaging someone else shall be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment or fined.
Implementation of the Ban on Unconstitutional Parties
(1) Where a party or a branch of a party has been declared unconstitutional pursuant to Article 21 (2) of the Basic Law, the appropriate authorities appointed by the Land governments shall adopt within the law any measures needed to enforce the judgment as well as any additional enforcement procedures ordered by the Federal Constitutional Court. To this end, the supreme Land authorities shall have the unrestricted right to give instructions to the Land authorities and agencies which are responsible for public safety or order.
(2) Where the organization or activities of the party or of the party branch declared to be unconstitutional extend beyond the territory of a Land, the Federal Minister of the Interior shall issue the orders necessary to ensure uniform enforcement.
(3) The Federal Constitutional Court may order the enforcement to be carried out in accordance with Article 35 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court, notwithstanding Paragraphs (1) and (2).
(4) Objections to and action to set aside enforcement measures shall have no suspensive effect on the enforcement. Where the proceedings of an administrative court pertain to a matter which is of fundamental importance for the enforcement of a judgment, the proceedings shall be discontinued and a Federal Constitutional Court decision obtained. The Federal Constitutional Court shall also decide upon objections raised against the manner in which special enforcement measures ordered by the Court are to be carried out.
(5) In the event of a confiscation of assets, Articles 10 to 13 of the Law on Associations of 5 August 1964 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 593) shall apply as appropriate. The authority imposing the ban shall be the supreme Land authority or, if Paragraph (2) applies, the Federal Minister of the Interior.
Ban on Substitute Organizations
(1) There shall be a ban on the establishment of organizations which continue to pursue the unconstitutional aims of a party banned under Article 21 (2) of the Basic Law in connection with Article 46 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court in lieu of the said banned party (substitute organization) or to continue existing organizations as substitute organizations.
(2) Where the substitute organization is a party which already existed prior to the ban on the original party or where it is represented in the Bundestag or a Landtag, the Federal Constitutional Court shall declare by judgment that it is a substitute organization; Articles 38, 41, 43, 44 and 46 (3) of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court and Article 32 of the present Law shall apply as appropriate.
(3) Article 8 (2) of the Law on Associations shall be applied as appropriate to other parties and organizations which, within the meaning of Article 2 of the Law on Associations, constitute substitute organizations of a banned party.
(Amendment to Income Tax Law)
(Amendment to Corporate Tax Law)
(Application of Tax Regulations)
Non-Applicability of a Provision of the Civil Code
Article 54, sentence 2 of the Civil Code shall not apply to political parties.
Means of Coercion Available to the Federal Returning Officer
The Federal Returning Officer may prompt the executive committee of the party to take the action specified in Article 6 (3) by means of a compulsory payment. The provisions of the Administration Enforcement Law shall apply as appropriate; the Federal Returning Officer therefore acts as an enforcement authority. The compulsory payment shall be no less than 250 euros and no more than 1,500 euros.
Provisions Concerning Final Payments and Transitional Arrangements
(1) Land legislation based on Article 22, sentence 2 of this Law applicable until 1 January 1994 shall no longer apply.
(2) The calculation of state funds pursuant to Article 18 (3), no. 3 and of the relative upper limit shall be based on the bestowals indicated in the statements of accounts pursuant to Article 24 (2), nos. 1 and 2 of this Law in the version applicable until 31 December 2002 for the fixing of the amounts for the years 2003 and 2004. This shall apply likewise to the preparation of the statements of account for 2002.
(3) Article 23a (3) shall apply to the audit of statements of accounts issued from the account year 2002.
(Entry into Force)
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