1946 German provisional elections (In Flensburg)

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1946 German provisional parliamentary elections

← 1938 1 March 1946 1949 →

524 seats in the Reichstag
263 seats needed for a majority
Registered 44,740,691

  Majority party Minority party Third party
 
Leader Karl Dönitz Wilhelm Pieck Konrad Adenauer
Party National Alliance KPD / SED Centre
Seats after 289 120
Popular vote 19,342,641
Percentage 50.9%

  Fourth party
 
Leader Kurt Schumacher
Party SPD

Chancellor before election

Lutz von Krosigk
National Alliance

Elected Chancellor

Lutz von Krosigk
National Alliance

The 1946 German provisional elections took place on 1 March 1946, held alongside the presidential election. This was the first election held in Germany since 1938 and the first free election held since 1933. The ruling Party for National Unity (PdNE), led by President Karl Dönitz, secured a majority and convened in Flensburg the following day.

Unlike in neighboring Austria, voters who were registered with the Nazi Party were not banned from voting, given the size of the party in Germany. However, members of the Schutzstaffel, the Sturmabteilung, and other Nazi-affiliated paramilitary groups were banned from voting. This was opposed by the Soviet Union, who had favored banning all registered members of the Nazi Party from voting, and was against the Dönitz government from its founding. Elections were conducted via secret ballot and under supervision of the four powers.

The ruling Party for National Unity won a large majority of 349 seats out of 524 seats up for election. Finishing second was the alliance of the original German Communist Party (KPD) and the Soviet-established Socialist Unity Party (SED), with the SED running candidates in Soviet occupation zones and the KPD running in western zones.

The results of the election, however, had little effect on the current governing of Germany as all decisions rested on the "four powers." Despite this, the election did mark Germany's transition from dictatorship to democracy.