Free Voters
Free Voters is a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 concept in which an association of persons participates in an election without having the status of a registered political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

. Usually it is a locally organized group of voters in the form of a registered association (eV)
Eingetragener Verein
Eingetragener Verein is a legal status for a registered voluntary association in Germany and Austria. While any group may be called a Verein, registration as eingetragener Verein holds many legal benefits because a registered association may legally function as a corporate body rather than just...

. In most cases, Free Voters are active only at the local government
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

 level, standing for city council
City council
A city council or town council is the legislative body that governs a city, town, municipality or local government area.-Australia & NZ:Because of the differences in legislation between the States, the exact definition of a City Council varies...

s and for mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

. Free Voters tend to be most successful in rural areas of Southern Germany, appealing the most to conservative voters who prefer local decisions to party politics. Free Voter groups are active in all German states
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...


Unlike in the other German states, the Free Voters of Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 have also contested state elections since 1998. In the 2008 Bavaria state election
Bavaria state election, 2008
The 2008 Bavarian state election was held on September 28, 2008. Voters of the German state of Bavaria elected members to the Bavarian Landtag .-Outcome:...

 FW obtained 10.2% of the vote and gained their first 20 seats in the Landtag
A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

. Some think FW did so well partly because of the presence in the list of Gabriele Pauli
Gabriele Pauli
Gabriele Pauli is a German politician, formerly with the conservative Christian Social Union party...

, a former maverick member of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria
Christian Social Union of Bavaria
The Christian Social Union in Bavaria is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It operates only in the state of Bavaria, while its sister party, the Christian Democratic Union , operates in the other 15 states of Germany...

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