President of the Bundestag

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President of the Bundestag
Deutscher Bundestag logo.svg
WSchaeuble.jpg
Incumbent
Wolfgang Schäuble

since 24 October 2017
Presidium of the Bundestag
StyleMr. President
(when addressed in the Bundestag)
StatusPresiding officer
SeatReichstag building, Berlin
NominatorPolitical parties
AppointerBundestag
traditionally appointing nominee of the largest party
Term lengthContemporaneous to legislative period
Constituting instrumentGerman Basic Law
Formation7 September 1949
First holderErich Köhler
DeputyVice Presidents of the Bundestag
Websitewww.bundestag.de
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The President of the Bundestag (German: Präsident des Deutschen Bundestages or Bundestagspräsident) presides over the sessions of the Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany, with functions similar to that of a speaker in other countries. In the German order of precedence, his office is ranked second after the President and before the Chancellor. The 13th and current President of the Bundestag is Wolfgang Schäuble, since October 24, 2017.

Election and customs[edit]

The President of the Bundestag is elected during the constituent session of each election period after the Federal elections or in a later session, if the office has fallen vacant, by all members of the Bundestag. The president has to be a member of the Bundestag. Until the election of the president, the session is chaired by the Father of the House, the so-called Alterspräsident, the longest serving member of the Bundestag (since 2017, 1949-2017 the oldest member of the Bundestag by age).[1]

Usually, the President of the Bundestag is a member of the largest parliamentary group. This custom had emerged already in times of the Weimar Republic, but this is not required by law. The term ends with the election period, and there is no provision for an early removal. The term of the President can only end prematurely if he or she resigns the position, leaves the Bundestag or dies. He can be reelected in the next election period provided he becomes a member of the Bundestag again.

Traditionally, the President of the Bundestag is elected uncontested. The only exception so far has been in 1954 after the unexpected death of Hermann Ehlers. Ernst Lemmer competed with the "official" CDU/CSU candidate, Eugen Gerstenmaier, and lost after three ballots with a difference of 14 votes (204 for Gerstenmaier, 190 for Lemmer, 15 abstentions).

Vice Presidents[edit]

The President of the Bundestag has several deputies, the Vice Presidents of the Bundestag (German: Vizepräsident des Deutschen Bundestages or Bundestagsvizepräsident), who are supplied by the other parliamentary groups. The number of vice presidents was not fixed in the Bundestag's Geschäftsordnung (rules of order) until 1994, when it was decided that each parliamentary group should be represented by at least one vice president.[1]

As of June 2018, the current Vice Presidents of the Bundestag are:[2]

Legal background[edit]

The legal foundation for the office is Article 40 of the Basic Law which states that the Bundestag elects a president and his vice presidents and is to give itself rules of order. Due to a 1952 Federal Constitutional Court decision, the Geschäftsordnung has to be enacted afresh in every election period, but usually the old rules are reenacted without change.[3] The Geschäftsordnung regulates the duties of the President of the Bundestag and his vice presidents as well as their number.

Duties[edit]

The president's most important duty is to chair the sessions of the Bundestag. He determines the order of speakers and opens and closes the debates, and ensures that debates take place in an orderly fashion.[4] In the case of grave disruption, he may exclude a member of parliament for up to 30 session days.[5] All draft legislation initiated by the Federal Government, the Bundestag or the Bundesrat is addressed to him as well as all submissions and petitions from within or addressed to the Bundestag. The President of the Bundestag also chairs the Council of Elders, which manages the internal affairs of the Bundestag.[6] For the election of a new Federal President, the President of the Bundestag convenes and chairs the Bundesversammlung.[7]

Additionally, he receives the statements of account of the political parties, monitors party financing and regulates campaign cost reimbursement. The president also has police power over the premises of the parliament and oversees its police force, can veto any search and seizure there to protect the independence of the parliament,[8] and acts as the employer of the Bundestag's public servants.

List of presidents[edit]

President Took office Left office Time in office Party
1
Erich Köhler
Köhler, ErichErich Köhler
(1892–1958)
7 September 194918 October 19501 year, 41 daysCDU
2
Hermann Ehlers
Ehlers, HermannHermann Ehlers
(1904–1954)
19 October 195029 October 19544 years, 10 daysCDU
3
Eugen Gerstenmaier
Gerstenmaier, EugenEugen Gerstenmaier
(1906–1986)
16 November 195431 January 196914 years, 76 daysCDU
4
Kai-Uwe von Hassel
Hassel, KaiKai-Uwe von Hassel
(1913–1997)
5 February 196913 December 19723 years, 312 daysCDU
5
Annemarie Renger
Renger, AnnemarieAnnemarie Renger
(1919–2008)
13 December 197214 December 19764 years, 1 daySPD
6
Karl Carstens
Carstens, KarlKarl Carstens
(1914–1992)
14 December 197631 May 19792 years, 168 daysCDU
7
Richard Stücklen
Stücklen, RichardRichard Stücklen
(1916–2002)
31 May 197929 March 19833 years, 302 daysCSU
8
Rainer Barzel
Barzel, RainerRainer Barzel
(1924–2006)
29 March 198325 October 19841 year, 210 daysCDU
9
Philipp Jenninger
Jenninger, PhilippPhilipp Jenninger
(1932–2018)
5 November 198411 November 19884 years, 17 daysCDU
10
Rita Süssmuth
Süssmuth, RitaRita Süssmuth
(born 1937)
25 November 198826 October 19989 years, 335 daysCDU
11
Wolfgang Thierse
Thierse, WolfgangWolfgang Thierse
(born 1943)
26 October 199818 October 20056 years, 357 daysSPD
12
Norbert Lammert
Lammert, NorbertNorbert Lammert
(born 1948)
18 October 200524 October 201712 years, 6 daysCDU
13
Wolfgang Schäuble
Schäuble, WolfgangWolfgang Schäuble
(born 1942)
24 October 2017Incumbent1 year, 200 daysCDU

Presidium of the Bundestag[edit]

The Presidium of the German Bundestag consists of the President of the Bundestag and a variable number (currently 6) of Vice-Presidents of the Bundestag.

The president is elected by all members of the Bundestag during its first meeting; he almost always comes from the largest Fraktion in the Bundestag (tradition has made this a sort of unwritten law). His administration ends with the end of a legislature; he can, however, be re-elected, as long as he is also re-elected to the Bundestag.

In 1994 it was decided that every Fraktion in the Bundestag should be represented by a Vice President.

The most important role of the president is the direction of the Bundestag sittings. To demonstrate the importance of the parliament in Germany's democracy, the parliament's president receives a higher salary than the Chancellor and the Federal President.

Books[edit]

Michael F. Feldkamp (ed.), Der Bundestagspräsident. Amt - Funktion - Person. 16. Wahlperiode, München 2007, ISBN 978-3-7892-8201-0

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Deutscher Bundestag, The Bundestag's constituent sitting Archived 2006-12-06 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "German Bundestag: The Presidium". German Bundestag. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  3. ^ (in German) Deutscher Bundestag, Erläuterungen zur Geschäftsordnung Archived 2007-05-27 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Deutscher Bundestag, Debates Archived 2006-12-06 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Deutscher Bundestag, President and Vice-Presidents Archived 2006-10-03 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Deutscher Bundestag, Council of Elders Archived 2005-05-05 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Deutscher Bundestag, The Federal Convention Archived 2006-08-27 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ (in German) Deutscher Bundestag, Gesetzliche Grundlage Archived 2007-05-27 at the Wayback Machine für die Polizei beim Bundestag