1969 West German presidential election

← 1964 5 March 1969 1974 →
Nominee Gustav Heinemann Gerhard Schröder
Electoral vote 514 (1st round)
511 (2nd round)
512 (3rd round)
501 (1st round)
507 (2nd round)
506 (3rd round)

President before election

Heinrich Lübke

Elected President

Gustav Heinemann

An indirect presidential election (officially the 5th Federal Convention) was held in West Germany on 5 March 1969. The incumbent president, Heinrich Lübke, had served two terms and was therefore ineligible for a third. The Christian Democratic Union nominated defense minister Gerhard Schröder. Schröder was a controversial choice, even within his own party, since he had been a member of the NSDAP and the SA under Hitler. Other potential candidates included Helmut Kohl and Richard von Weizsäcker, relatively unknown names at the time, who would go on to serve as chancellor and president, respectively. Justice Minister Gustav Heinemann was nominated by the Social Democratic Party and supported by the opposition Free Democratic Party. With neither candidate able to win an absolute majority, Heinemann won the election on the third ballot by only 6 votes.

Gustav Heinemann became the first Social Democrat to be elected German president in 50 years.

Composition of the Federal Convention

The president is elected by the Federal Convention consisting of all the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of delegates representing the states. These are divided proportionally by population to each state, and each state's delegation is divided among the political parties represented in its parliament so as to reflect the partisan proportions in the parliament.

By party By state
Party Members State Members
CDU/CSU 482 Bundestag 518
SPD 449 Baden-Württemberg 75
FDP 83 Bavaria 89
NPD 22 Berlin 18
Total 1036 Bremen 6
Hamburg 16
Hesse 46
Lower Saxony 60
North Rhine-Westphalia 145
Rhineland-Palatinate 31
Saarland 10
Schleswig-Holstein 22
Total 1036

Source: Eine Dokumentation aus Anlass der Wahl des Bundespräsidenten am 18. März 2012


Candidate Parties First round Second round Third round
Votes % Votes % Votes %
Gustav Heinemann SPD, FDP 514 49.6 511 49.3 512 49.4
Gerhard Schröder CDU/CSU, NPD 501 48.4 507 48.9 506 48.8
Abstentions 5 0.5 5 0.5 5 0.5
Invalid votes 3 0.3 0 0 0 0
Not present 13 1.3 13 1.3 13 1.3
Total 1,036 98.75 1,036 98.75 1036 98.75
Source: Bundestag