Thuringia’s Landtag as a rule consists of 88 parliament members who are elected by general, equal, direct, secret and free elections. These 5 principles governing the law of elections are inalienable requirements of a democratic electoral law (Article 46 of the Landesverfassung). They not only relate to voting, but also the entire electoral procedure, from the nomination of candidates through to determining the results of the elections.
In general, all Germans who are at least 18 years old on the day of elections and who have resided in Thuringia for the past 3 months at least or usually stay there are entitled to vote (Article 46 and 104 of the Landesverfassung). Even people whose main place of residence is not in Thuringia are entitled to vote upon submitting an application, provided that they maintain their centre of vital interests at the place of secondary residence. This ensures that the parliament members are elected in general elections.
Every qualified voter has 2 votes. The principle of election equality is satisfied by the fact that every vote has the same success factor. Should a party or an association of voters receive less than 5% of the votes cast, these votes will not be taken into account when distributing the seats. This minimum percentage clause affects the principle of election equality, but since its purpose is to ensure the functionality of the Landtag by preventing excessive fragmentation of parliament seats, the Bundesverfassungsgericht deems it as admissible.
Parliament members, 88 in this case, are elected based on the principles of personalized proportional representation. 44 district representatives are elected directly in 44 electoral districts; the other half of the parliament members are elected by means of the party lists of candidates for state elections. Parliament members elected in this way are representatives of the entire people, subject only to his or her conscience and not bound by mandates.