1980 West German federal election

← 1976 5 October 1980 (1980-10-05) 1983 →

All 497 seats in the Bundestag[a]
249 seats needed for a majority
Registered43,231,741 Increase 2.8%
Turnout38,292,176 (88.6%) Decrease 2.1pp
  First party Second party Third party
Franz Josef Strauß 1982 (cropped).jpg
Helmut Schmidt at Andrews AFB 1981 (cropped).JPEG
Bundesarchiv FDP-Bundesparteitag, Genscher.jpg
Candidate Franz-Josef Strauss Helmut Schmidt Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Last election 48.6%, 243 seats 42.6%, 214 seats 7.9%, 39 seats
Seats won 226[b] 218[c] 53[d]
Seat change Decrease 17 Increase 4 Increase 14
Popular vote 16,897,659 16,260,677 4,030,999
Percentage 44.5% 42.9% 10.6%
Swing Decrease 4.1pp Increase 0.3pp Increase 2.7pp

The left side shows the winning party vote in the constituencies, the right side shows the seats won by parties in each of the states. The pie chart over West Berlin shows the partisan composition of its legislature.

Government before election

Second Schmidt cabinet

Government after election

Third Schmidt cabinet

Federal elections were held in West Germany on 5 October 1980 to elect the members of the 9th Bundestag. Although the CDU/CSU remained the largest faction in parliament, Helmut Schmidt of the Social Democratic Party remained Chancellor.

Issues and campaign

Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of the SPD-FDP coalition wanted to be re-elected. The CDU/CSU tried to make their candidate the elected Chancellor, CSU leader Franz Josef Strauß. It was the first time that their candidate was from the CSU. Strauß, immensely popular in Bavaria, found it difficult to appeal to people in other parts of Germany. One important reason for Strauss's unpopularity compared to Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, was his tendency to talk sharply and militantly about his political opponents. Schmidt, by contrast, was still seen by many West German voters as a moderate and practical manager and doer, who focused on getting concrete political and economic results more than on political rhetoric.[1][2][3]


Votes%SeatsVotes%SeatsElectedWest BerlinTotal+/–
Social Democratic Party16,260,67742.869116,808,86144.4612721810228+4
Christian Democratic Union12,989,20034.249313,467,20735.628117411185–16
Free Democratic Party4,030,99910.62532,720,4807.20053154+14
Christian Social Union3,908,45910.30123,941,36510.434052052–1
The Greens569,5891.500732,6191.940000New
German Communist Party71,6000.190107,1580.2800000
National Democratic Party68,0960.1800000
Citizens' Party11,2560.0305070.000000New
People's Front Against Reaction, Fascism and War9,3190.0207,1600.020000New
Communist League of West Germany8,1740.02012,0080.0300000
European Workers' Party7,6660.0204,9920.0100000
Christian Bavarian People's Party3,9460.0100000
German Union4210.000000New
Independent Workers' Party1590.0000000
German Freedom Party960.000000New
Independents and voter groups3,4980.0100000
Valid votes37,938,98199.0837,806,53198.73
Invalid/blank votes353,1150.92485,6451.27
Total votes38,292,096100.0038,292,176100.00
Registered voters/turnout43,231,74188.5743,231,74188.57
Source: Bundeswahlleiter
Seat results – SPD in red, FDP in yellow, CDU/CSU in black

Results by state

Constituency seats

State Total
Seats won
Baden-Württemberg 37 6 31
Bavaria 45 5 40
Bremen 3 3
Hamburg 7 7
Hesse 22 19 3
Lower Saxony 31 23 8
North Rhine-Westphalia 71 44 27
Rhineland-Palatinate 16 6 10
Saarland 5 3 2
Schleswig-Holstein 11 11
Total 248 127 81 40

List seats

State Total
Seats won
Baden-Württemberg 35 5 21 9
Bavaria 44 25 7 12
Bremen 1 1
Hamburg 6 4 2
Hesse 24 16 3 5
Lower Saxony 32 18 7 7
North Rhine-Westphalia 76 33 26 17
Rhineland-Palatinate 16 5 8 3
Saarland 3 2 1
Schleswig-Holstein 12 9 3
Total 249 93 91 53 12


The coalition between the SPD and the FDP returned to government, with Helmut Schmidt as Chancellor. In 1982, the FDP quit the government, which led to the government's collapse and replacement with a new CDU/CSU – FDP coalition under Helmut Kohl.


  1. ^ As well as the 22 non-voting delegates for West Berlin, elected by the West Berlin Legislature.
  2. ^ As well as 11 non-voting delegates for West Berlin.
  3. ^ As well as 10 non-voting delegates for West Berlin.
  4. ^ As well as 1 non-voting delegate for West Berlin.


  1. ^ Bjøl, Erling (1984). Grimberg, Carl (ed.). History of the Nations. Vol. 22: From Peace to the Cold War. Helsinki: WSOY. pp. 495, 497–499.
  2. ^ Bjøl, Erling (1984). Grimberg, Carl (ed.). History of the Nations. Vol. 23: The Rich West. Helsinki: WSOY. pp. 353–356.
  3. ^ Bark, Dennis L.; Gress, David (1989). ""The Era of Macher [Doer]"". A history of West Germany. Vol. 2: Democracy and Its Discontents, 1963–1988. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-16787-0. OCLC 18907067.