A party is an association of people who have the same political goals and want to participate in the political affairs of a country. Each party has a program which clarifies toward what goals it strives.
Each party must prove that it is stable, has many members and a presence in public. Upon meeting these requirements, a party can register with the Federal Election Commissioner ("Bundeswahlleiter"). If a party does not participate in a Federal Parliament or state election for six years, it loses its status as a party.
There are countless parties in Germany. We briefly present the most notable seven below. Each of these parties has an abbreviation (CDU, SPD, ..) and colour (black, red, ...). When discussing or reporting on the parties, oftentimes only the abbreviation or the colour is used. You can find a comprehensive list of political parties in Germany on wikipedia.de.