Bundestag
Overview
 
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany
Germany
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...

. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral
Bicameralism
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

 legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 and the Bundesrat
Bundesrat of Germany
The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level...

 the upper house
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

. Norbert Lammert
Norbert Lammert
Norbert Lammert is a German politician . He has been the President of the Bundestag, the German parliament, since 2005.-Early Life:...

 is the current President of the Bundestag
President of the Bundestag
The President of the Bundestag presides over the sessions of the Bundestag, the 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...

.
With the dissolution of the German Confederation
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

 in 1866 and the founding of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 (Deutsches Reich
Deutsches Reich
Deutsches Reich was the official name for Germany from 1871 to 1945 in the German language.As the literal English translation "German Empire" denotes a monarchy, the term is used only in reference to Germany prior to the fall of the monarchies at the end of World War I in 1918...

) in 1871, the Reichstag was established as the German parliament in Berlin.
Encyclopedia
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany
Germany
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...

. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral
Bicameralism
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

 legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 and the Bundesrat
Bundesrat of Germany
The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level...

 the upper house
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

. Norbert Lammert
Norbert Lammert
Norbert Lammert is a German politician . He has been the President of the Bundestag, the German parliament, since 2005.-Early Life:...

 is the current President of the Bundestag
President of the Bundestag
The President of the Bundestag presides over the sessions of the Bundestag, the 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...

.

History

With the dissolution of the German Confederation
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

 in 1866 and the founding of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 (Deutsches Reich
Deutsches Reich
Deutsches Reich was the official name for Germany from 1871 to 1945 in the German language.As the literal English translation "German Empire" denotes a monarchy, the term is used only in reference to Germany prior to the fall of the monarchies at the end of World War I in 1918...

) in 1871, the Reichstag was established as the German parliament in Berlin. Two decades later, the current parliament building was erected. The Reichstag delegates were elected by direct and equal male suffrage (and not the three-class electoral system prevailing in Prussia until 1918). The Reichstag did not participate in the appointment of the Chancellor until the parliamentary reforms of October 1918. After the Revolution of November 1918 and the establishment of the Weimar Constitution, women were given the right to vote for (and serve in) the Reichstag, and the parliament could use the no-confidence vote to force the chancellor or any cabinet member to resign. In March 1933, one month after the Reichstag fire
Reichstag fire
The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin on 27 February 1933. The event is seen as pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany....

, the then president, Paul von Hindenburg, a retired war hero, gave Hitler ultimate power through Enabling Act of 1933, he remained at the post of Federal Government Chancellor (though he called himself the Fǖhrer). After this the Reichstag met only rarely to unanimously rubber-stamp the decisions of the government. It last convened on 26 April 1942.

With the new constitution of 1949
Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is the constitution of Germany. It was formally approved on 8 May 1949, and, with the signature of the Allies of World War II on 12 May, came into effect on 23 May, as the constitution of those states of West Germany that were initially included...

, the Bundestag was established as the new (West) German parliament. Because West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

 was not officially under the jurisdiction of the Constitution and because of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the Bundestag met in Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

 in several different buildings, including (provisionally) a former water works facility. In addition, citizens of West Berlin were unable to vote in elections to the Bundestag, and were instead represented by 20 non-voting delegates, indirectly elected by the city's House of Representatives
Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlin
The Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin is the state parliament for the German state of Berlin, according to the state's constitution. The parliament is based at the building on Niederkirchnerstraße in Mitte which until 1934 was the seat of the lower house of the Preußischer Landtag...

.

The Bundeshaus in Bonn
Bundeshaus (Bonn)
The Bundeshaus is a building complex in Bonn, Germany, which functioned as the site of the plenary sessions of the German Bundestag between 1949 and 1999. The main building, constructed between 1930 and 1933, served as a Pedagogical Academy until the end of the Second World War...

 is the former Parliament Building of Germany. The sessions of the German Bundestag were held there from 1949 until its move to Berlin in 1999. Today it houses the International Congress Centre Bundeshaus Bonn and in the north areas the branch office of the Bundesrat
Bundesrat of Germany
The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level...

 (Upper House). The southern areas became part of German offices for the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in 2008.

The former Reichstag building housed a history exhibition (Fragen an die deutsche Geschichte) and served occasionally as a conference center. The Reichstag building was also occasionally used as a venue for sittings of the Bundestag and its committees and the Bundesversammlung
Bundesversammlung (Germany)
The Federal Convention is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convened solely for the purpose of electing the German Federal President , either every five years or within 30 days of a president's resignation, death or removal from office.The Bundesversammlung includes the entire...

, the body which elects the German Federal President. However the Soviets harshly protested against the use of the Reichstag building by institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany and tried to disturb the sittings by flying supersonic jets close to the building.

Since 1999, the German parliament has again assembled in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 in its original Reichstag building
Reichstag (building)
The Reichstag building is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. During the Nazi era, the few meetings of members of the...

, which dates from the 1890s and underwent a significant renovation under the lead of British architect Sir Norman Foster. Parliamentary committees and subcommittees, public hearings and faction meetings take place in three auxiliary buildings, which surround the Reichstag building: the Jakob-Kaiser-Haus, Paul-Löbe-Haus and Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus.

In 2005, a small aircraft crashed close to the German parliament. It was then decided to ban private air traffic over Central Berlin.

Tasks

Together with the Bundesrat, the Bundestag is the legislative branch of the German political system
Politics of Germany
The Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic, based on representative democracy. The Chancellor is the head of government, while the President of Germany is the head of state, which is a ceremonial role but with substantial reserve powers.Executive power is vested in the...

.

Although most legislation is initiated by the executive branch, the Bundestag considers the legislative function its most important responsibility, concentrating much of its energy on assessing and amending the government's legislative program. The committees (see below) play a prominent role in this process. Plenary sessions provide a forum for members to engage in public debate on legislative issues before them, but they tend to be well attended only when significant legislation is being considered.

The Bundestag members are the only federal officials directly elected by the public; the Bundestag in turn elects the Chancellor and, in addition, exercises oversight of the executive branch on issues of both substantive policy and routine administration. This check on executive power can be employed through binding legislation, public debates on government policy, investigations, and direct questioning of the chancellor or cabinet officials. For example, the Bundestag can conduct a question hour (Fragestunde), in which a government representative responds to a previously submitted written question from a member. Members can ask related questions during the question hour. The questions can concern anything from a major policy issue to a specific constituent's problem. Use of the question hour has increased markedly over the past forty years, with more than 20,000 questions being posed during the 1987-90 term. Understandably, the opposition parties are active in exercising the parliamentary right to scrutinize government actions.

One striking difference when comparing the Bundestag with the British Parliament is the lack of time spent on serving constituents in Germany. This is in part due to Germany's electoral system. A practical constraint on the expansion of constituent service is the limited personal staff of Bundestag deputies. Despite these constraints especially those deputies that are elected directly normally try to keep close contact with their constituents and to help them with their problems, particularly when they are related to federal policies or agencies.

Constituent service does also take place in the form of the Petition Committee. In 2004, the Petition Committee received over 18,000 complaints from citizens and was able to negotiate a mutually satisfactory solution to more than half of them. In 2005, as a pilot of the potential of internet petition
Internet petition
An Internet petition is a form of petition posted on a website. Visitors to the website in question can add their email addresses or names, and after enough "signatures" have been collected, the resulting letter may be delivered to the subject of the petition, usually via e-mail.-Pros and cons:The...

s, a version of e-Petitioner
E-Petitioner
e-Petitioner is an online petition system that allows citizens to raise and sign a petition, read background information on the issue, and add comments to an online forum associated with each petition...

 was produced for the Bundestag. This was a collaborative project involving The Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

, International Teledemocracy Centre
International Teledemocracy Centre
The International Teledemocracy Centre was established at Edinburgh Napier University in 1999. The centre is dedicated to researching innovative e-democracy systems that will strengthen public understanding and participation in democratic decision-making....

 and the Bundestag ‘Online Services Department’. The system was formally launched on 1 September 2005, and in 2008 the Bundestag moved to a new system based on its evaluation.

Election

Members serve four-year terms; elections are held every four years, or earlier in the relatively rare case that the Bundestag is being dissolved prematurely by the president
President of Germany
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...

. The Bundestag can be dissolved by the president on the recommendation of the chancellor if the latter has lost a vote of confidence in the Bundestag. This has happened three times as of 2005: 1972 under Chancellor Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm , was a German politician, Mayor of West Berlin 1957–1966, Chancellor of West Germany 1969–1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany 1964–1987....

, 1982 under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
Helmut Schmidt
Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt is a German Social Democratic politician who served as Chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982. Prior to becoming chancellor, he had served as Minister of Defence and Minister of Finance. He had also served briefly as Minister of Economics and as acting...

 and 2005 under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician, and was Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany , he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens. Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor...

.

All candidates must be at least eighteen years old; there are no term limits. The election uses the MMP electoral system
Mixed member proportional representation
Mixed-member proportional representation, also termed mixed-member proportional voting and commonly abbreviated to MMP, is a voting system originally used to elect representatives to the German Bundestag, and nowadays adopted by numerous legislatures around the world...

, a hybrid of the first-past-the-post election system and party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems emphasizing proportional representation in elections in which multiple candidates are elected...

. In addition, the Bundestag has a minimum threshold of either 5% of the national party vote or three (directly elected) constituency representatives for a 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...

 to gain additional representation through the system of proportional representation.

Thus, small minority parties cannot easily enter the Bundestag and prevent the formation of stable majority governments as they could under the Weimar constitution. Since 1961, only two new parties (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and PDS/Die Linke) have entered the Bundestag.

The most recent election, the German federal election, 2009, was held on September 27, 2009.

Distribution of seats in the Bundestag

Half of the Members of the Bundestag are elected directly from 299 constituencies (first-past-the-post system), the other half are elected from the parties’ Land lists in such a way as to achieve proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 for the total Bundestag (if possible).

Accordingly, each voter has two votes in the elections to the Bundestag. The first vote, allowing voters to elect their local representatives to the Bundestag, decides which candidates are sent to Parliament from the constituencies.
The second vote is cast for a party list; it determines the relative strengths of the parties represented in the Bundestag.

At least 598 Members of the Bundestag are elected in this way. In addition to this, there are certain circumstances in which some candidates win what are known as overhang seat
Overhang seat
Overhang seats can arise in elections under the traditional mixed member proportional system, when a party is entitled to fewer seats as a result of party votes than it has won constituencies.-How overhang seats arise:...

s when the seats are being distributed.

The 598 seats are distributed among the parties that have gained more than 5% of the second votes or at least 3 direct mandates. Each of these parties is allocated seats in the Bundestag in proportion to the number of votes it has received (d'Hondt method
D'Hondt method
The d'Hondt method is a highest averages method for allocating seats in party-list proportional representation. The method described is named after Belgian mathematician Victor D'Hondt who described it in 1878...

 until 1987, largest remainder method
Largest remainder method
The largest remainder method is one way of allocating seats proportionally for representative assemblies with party list voting systems...

 until the 2005 election, now Sainte-Laguë method
Sainte-Laguë method
The Sainte-Laguë method is one way of allocating seats approximately proportional to the number of votes of a party to a party list used in many voting systems. It is named after the French mathematician André Sainte-Laguë. The Sainte-Laguë method is quite similar to the D'Hondt method, but uses...

).

When the total number of mandates gained by a party has been determined, they are distributed between the Land lists. The distribution of the seats of that party to the 16 Lands is proportional to that party's second vote results in the Lands.
The first of the mandates allocated to each Land go to the candidates who have won direct mandates in that Land.
The rest are assigned in order to the candidates on the Land list put forward before the election.

Overhang seat
Overhang seat
Overhang seats can arise in elections under the traditional mixed member proportional system, when a party is entitled to fewer seats as a result of party votes than it has won constituencies.-How overhang seats arise:...

:
If a party has gained more direct mandates in a Land than it is entitled to according to the results of the second vote, it does not forfeit these mandates because all directly elected candidates are guaranteed a seat in the Bundestag.

Detail of the Land list seats won by each party in 2009

Distribution of seats by party in the 17th Bundestag

Current distribution of seats in the Bundestag:
+ CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

 and CSU
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...

:
237 (38.1%) including 22 overhang seat
Overhang seat
Overhang seats can arise in elections under the traditional mixed member proportional system, when a party is entitled to fewer seats as a result of party votes than it has won constituencies.-How overhang seats arise:...

s
+ SPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

:
146 (23.5%)
+ FDP
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party , abbreviated to FDP, is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Germany. It is led by Philipp Rösler and currently serves as the junior coalition partner to the Union in the German federal government...

:
93 (15%)
+ The Left
The Left (Germany)
The Left , also commonly referred to as the Left Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Germany. The Left is the most left-wing party of the five represented in the Bundestag....

:
76 (12.2%)
+ Alliance '90/Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens is a green political party in Germany, formed from the merger of the German Green Party and Alliance 90 in 1993. Its leaders are Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir...

:
68 (10.9%)


See the List of Bundestag Members for lists of changes and current members.

List of Bundestag by session

{ border=0 cellpadding="2" cellspacing="1" Historic seat distribution in the German Bundestag (at the beginning of each session) Bundestag Session Seats CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

/CSU SPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

FDP
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party , abbreviated to FDP, is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Germany. It is led by Philipp Rösler and currently serves as the junior coalition partner to the Union in the German federal government...

Alliance '90 /
The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens is a green political party in Germany, formed from the merger of the German Green Party and Alliance 90 in 1993. Its leaders are Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir...

1 The Left
The Left (Germany)
The Left , also commonly referred to as the Left Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Germany. The Left is the most left-wing party of the five represented in the Bundestag....

2 German Party
German Party
The German Party is a name used by a number of German political parties in the country's history. The current incarnation is represented only at the local level in Germany. However, from 1949 to 1961, a German Party was part of the ruling coalition in the Bundestag...

Others
Sonstige 1st Bundestag
First German Bundestag
-Dates of Session:1949-1953*Election for the first Bundestag occurred on 14 August 1949.*The Bundestag convened for the first time in Bonn on 7 September 1949.*The session ended on September 7, 1953.-Coalitions:...

1949–1953 402 139 131 52 –   – 17 633 2nd Bundestag
Second German Bundestag
-Dates of Session:1953-1957*The 2nd Bundestag convened in Bonn on 6 October 1953.*The session ended on 6 October 1957.-Coalitions:*CDU/CSU and FDP form coalition to reelect Konrad Adenauer as Chancellor of Germany...

1953–1957 487 243 151 48 –   – 15 304 3rd Bundestag 1957–1961 497 270 169 41 – – 17 – 4th Bundestag 1961–1965 499 242 190 67 – – – – 5th Bundestag 1965–1969 496 245 202 49 – – – – 6th Bundestag 1969–1972 496 242 224 30 – – – – 7th Bundestag 1972–1976 496 225 230 41 – – – – 8th Bundestag 1976–1980 496 243 214 39 – – – – 9th Bundestag 1980–1983 497 226 218 53 – – – – 10th Bundestag 1983–1987 498 244 193 34 27 – – – 11th Bundestag 1987–1990 497 223 186 46 42 – – – 12th Bundestag 1990
German federal election, 1990
The 12th German federal election, 1990 was conducted on December 2, 1990, to elect members to the Bundestag of the Federal Republic of Germany...

–1994
662 319 239 79 8 17 – – 13th Bundestag 1994
German federal election, 1994
The 13th German federal election, 1994 was conducted on October 16, 1994, to elect members to the Bundestag of the Federal Republic of Germany.-Issues and Campaign:The SPD let its members elect a candidate for Chancellor against Helmut Kohl...

–1998
672 294 252 47 49 30 – – 14th Bundestag 1998
German federal election, 1998
A German federal election was conducted on September 27, 1998, to elect members to the 14th Bundestag, the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany.- Issues and campaign :...

–2002
669 245 298 43 47 36 – – 15th Bundestag 2002
German federal election, 2002
The 15th German federal election, 2002 was conducted on 22 September 2002, to elect members to the Bundestag of Germany.-Issues and campaign:...

–2005
603 248 251 47 55 2 – – 16th Bundestag 2005
German federal election, 2005
German federal elections took place on 18 September 2005 to elect the members of the 16th German Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany. They became necessary after a motion of confidence in Chancellor Gerhard Schröder failed on 1 July...

–2009
614 226 222 61 51 54 – – 17th Bundestag 2009– 622 239 146 93 68 76 – –

1 1983 to 1990 The Greens, 1990 to 1994 Alliance 90
Alliance 90
Alliance 90 was an alliance of three non-Communist political groups in East Germany. It merged with the German Green Party in 1993 to form Alliance '90/The Greens....

, since 1994 Alliance 90/The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens is a green political party in Germany, formed from the merger of the German Green Party and Alliance 90 in 1993. Its leaders are Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir...



2 1990 to 2005 PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism), 2005 to 2007 The Left Party.PDS, since 2007 The Left
The Left (Germany)
The Left , also commonly referred to as the Left Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Germany. The Left is the most left-wing party of the five represented in the Bundestag....



3 BP
Bavaria Party
The Bavaria Party is a separatist political party in the state of Bavaria in southern Germany. It was founded in 1946 and describes itself as patriotic Bavarian, advocating Bavarian independence within the European Union...

 17, KPD
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

 15, WAV 12, Centre Party
Centre Party (Germany)
The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

 10, DKP-DRP 5, SSW
South Schleswig Voter Federation
The South Schleswig Voter Federation is a regional political party in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany...

 1, Independents 3

4 GB-BHE
All-German Bloc/League of Expellees and Deprived of Rights
The All-German Bloc/League of Expellees and Deprived of Rights was a right-wing political party in West Germany, which acted as an advocacy group of the Germans fled and expelled in and after World War II.-History:...

 27, Centre Party
Centre Party (Germany)
The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

 3



Presidents since 1949

Presidents of the Bundestag
Name Party Beginning of term End of term Length of term
1 Erich Köhler
Erich Köhler
Erich Köhler was a German politician. He was President of the Bundestag from 7 September 1949 to 18 October 1950.During the Weimar Republic he was active within the German People's Party. In West Germany he was a member of the Christian Democratic Union....

* (1892–1958)
CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

7 September 1949 18 October 1950 1 year 1 month 11 days
2 Hermann Ehlers
Hermann Ehlers
Hermann Ehlers was a German politician. He was President of the Bundestag from 19 October 1950 - 29 October 1954.He was a member of the Christian Democratic Union.- Early life :...

** (1904–1954)
CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

19 October 1950 29 October 1954 4 years 10 days
3 Eugen Gerstenmaier
Eugen Gerstenmaier
Eugen Karl Albrecht Gerstenmaier was a German Evangelical theologian, resistance fighter in the Third Reich, and a CDU politician...

*** (1906–1986)
CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

16 November 1954 31 January 1969 14 years 2 months 15 days
4 Kai-Uwe von Hassel
Kai-Uwe von Hassel
Kai-Uwe von Hassel was a German politician from Schleswig-Holstein associated with the CDU party.Von Hassel was born in Gare, German East Africa ....

 (1913–1997)
CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

5 February 1969 13 December 1972 3 years 10 months 8 days
5 Annemarie Renger
Annemarie Renger
Annemarie Renger , , was a German politician for the “Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands” ....

† (1919–2008)
SPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

13 December 1972 14 December 1976 4 years 1 day
6 Karl Carstens
Karl Carstens
Karl Carstens was a German politician. He served as President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1979 to 1984.-Biography:...

§ (1914–1992)
CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

14 December 1976 31 May 1979 2 years 5 months 17 days
7 Richard Stücklen
Richard Stücklen
Richard Stücklen was German politician of the CSU. He had previously been a member of the NSDAP . From 1957 to 1966, he served as Federal Minister for Post and Communication. A member of the Bundestag for more than 40 years, he was its President from 1979 to 1983.-Life:Stücklen was born in Heideck...

 (1916–2002)
CSU
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...

31 May 1979 29 March 1983 3 years 9 months 29 days
8 Rainer Barzel
Rainer Barzel
Rainer Candidus Barzel was a German politician of the CDU.Born in Braunsberg, East Prussia , Barzel served as Chairman of the CDU from 1971 and 1973 and ran as the CDU's candidate for Chancellor of Germany in the 1972 federal elections, losing to Willy Brandt's SPD.The 1972 election is commonly...

*** (1924–2006)
CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

29 March 1983 25 October 1984 1 year 6 months 26 days
9 Philipp Jenninger
Philipp Jenninger
Philipp Jenninger is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union and diplomat. He served as Member of the German Parliament, the Bundestag , Minister of State at the German Chancellery , President of the Bundestag , German Ambassador to Austria and German Ambassador to the Holy See...

*** (b. 1932)
CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

5 November 1984 11 November 1988 4 years 6 days
10 Rita Süssmuth
Rita Süssmuth
Rita Süssmuth is a German politician and a member of the Christian Democratic Union .From 1985 to 1988, Süssmuth was Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth under Chancellor Helmut Kohl. She was a member of the German Bundestag from 1987 to 2002...

 (b. 1937)
CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

25 November 1988 26 October 1998 9 years 11 months 1 day
11 Wolfgang Thierse
Wolfgang Thierse
Wolfgang Thierse is a German politician .- Early years in the GDR :Thierse was born in Breslau . He is a Roman Catholic and grew up in East Germany. After his A-levels he first worked as a typesetter in Weimar...

 (b. 1943)
SPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

26 October 1998 18 October 2005 6 years 11 months 22 days
12 Norbert Lammert
Norbert Lammert
Norbert Lammert is a German politician . He has been the President of the Bundestag, the German parliament, since 2005.-Early Life:...

 (b. 1948)
CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

18 October 2005

*resigned for medical reasons

**died in office

***resigned for political reasons

†first woman to hold the post

§ resigned when he became President of Germany
President of Germany
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...


Organization

Parliamentary groups

The most important organizational structures within the Bundestag are parliamentary groups
Fraction (politics)
A parliamentary group, parliamentary party, or parliamentary caucus is a group consisting of members of the same political party or electoral fusion of parties in a legislative assembly such as a parliament or a city council. Parliamentary groups correspond to party caucuses and conferences in the...

 (Fraktionen; sing. Fraktion), which are formed by political parties represented in the chamber which incorporate more than 5% of the Bundestag legislators; CDU
Christian Democratic Union (Germany)
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It is regarded as on the centre-right of the German political spectrum...

 and CSU
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...

 have always formed a single united Fraktion. The size of a party's Fraktion determines the extent of its representation on legislative committees, the time slots allotted for speaking, the number of committee chairs it can hold, and its representation in executive bodies of the Bundestag. The Fraktionen, not the members, receive the bulk of government funding for legislative and administrative activities.

The leadership of each Fraktion consists of a parliamentary party leader, several deputy leaders, and an executive committee. The leadership's major responsibilities are to represent the Fraktion, enforce party discipline, and orchestrate the party's parliamentary activities. The members of each Fraktion are distributed among working group
Working group
A working group is an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers working on new research activities that would be difficult to develop under traditional funding mechanisms . The lifespan of the WG can last anywhere between a few months and several years...

s focused on specific policy-related topics such as social policy, economics, and foreign policy. The Fraktion meets every Tuesday afternoon in the weeks in which the Bundestag is in session to consider legislation before the Bundestag and formulate the party's position on it.

Parties which do not fulfill the criterion for being a Fraktion but have at least three seats by direct elections (i.e. which have at least three MPs representing a certain electoral district) in the Bundestag can be granted the status of a group of the Bundestag. This applied to the Party of Democratic Socialism
Left Party (Germany)
The Party of Democratic Socialism was a democratic socialist political party active in Germany from 1989 to 2007. It was the legal successor to the Socialist Unity Party , which ruled the German Democratic Republic until 1990. From 1990 through to 2005, the PDS had been seen as the left-wing...

 (PDS) from 1990-1998. This status entails some privileges which are in general less than those of a Fraktion. In the current Bundestag, there are no such groups (the PDS had only two MPs in parliament until 2005 and could thus not even considered a group anymore; the party has now returned to the Bundestag with full Fraktion status).

Executive bodies

The Bundestag's executive bodies include the Council of Elders
Council of Elders of the Bundestag (Germany)
The Council of Elders of the German parliament Bundestag is a joint deliberative body which includes the following members:* President;* Vice presidents;* Bundestag members appointed by parliamentary groups in proportion to their size...

 and the Presidium
Presidium of the Bundestag
Presidium of the BundestagThe presidium is responsible for the routine administration of the Bundestag, including its clerical and research activitities....

. The council consists of the Bundestag leadership, together with the most senior representatives of each fraktion, with the number of these representatives tied to the strength of the Parliamentary groups in the chamber. The council is the coordination hub, determining the daily legislative agenda and assigning committee chairpersons based on Parliamentary group representation. The council also serves as an important forum for interparty negotiations on specific legislation and procedural issues. The Presidium is responsible for the routine administration of the Bundestag, including its clerical and research activities. It consists of the chamber's president (usually elected from the largest fraktion) and vice presidents (one from each fraktion).

Committees

Most of the legislative work in the Bundestag is the product of standing committees, which exist largely unchanged throughout one legislative period. The number of committees approximates the number of federal ministries, and the titles of each are roughly similar (e.g., defense, agriculture, and labor). Between 1987 and 1990, the term of the eleventh Bundestag, there were twenty-one standing committees. The distribution of committee chairs and the membership of each committee reflect the relative strength of the various Parliamentary groups in the chamber. In the eleventh Bundestag, the CDU/CSU chaired eleven committees, the SPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 eight, the FDP one, and the environmentalist party, the Greens (Die Grünen), one. Members of the opposition party can chair a significant number of standing committees. These committees have either a small staff or no staff at all.

Principle of discontinuation

As is the case with some other parliaments, the Bundestag is subject to the principle of discontinuation, meaning that a newly elected Bundestag is legally regarded to be a body and entity completely different from the previous Bundestag. This leads to the result, that any motion, application or action submitted to the previous Bundestag, e.g. a bill referred to the Bundestag by the Federal Government, is regarded as completed by non-decision (German terminology: “Die Sache fällt der Diskontinuität anheim”). Thus any bill that has not been decided upon by the beginning of the new electoral period must to be brought up by the government again, if it aims to uphold the motion, this procedure in effect delaying the passage of the bill. Furthermore, any newly elected Bundestag will have to freshly decide on the rules of procedure (Geschäftsordnung), which is done by a formal decision of taking over such rules from the preceding Bundestag by reference.

Any Bundestag is considered dissolved only once a newly elected Bundestag has actually gathered in order to constitute itself (Article 39 sec. 1 sentence 2 of the Basic Law), which has to happen within 30 days of its election (Article 39 sec. 2 of the Basic Law). Thus, it may happen (and has happened) that the old Bundestag gathers and makes decisions even after the election of a new Bundestag that has not gathered in order to constitute itself. For example, elections to the 16th Bundestag took place on 18 September 2005, but the 15th Bundestag still convened after election day to make some decisions on German military engagement abroad, and was entitled to do so, as the newly elected 16th Bundestag did not convene for the first time until 18 October 2005.

External links

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