Hamburg Parliament
The Hamburg Parliament is the unicameral
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

 legislature of the German state of Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 according to the constitution of Hamburg. As of 2011 there were 121 members in the parliament, representing a relatively equal amount of constituencies. The parliament is situated in the city hall Hamburg Rathaus
Hamburg Rathaus
The Hamburg Rathaus is the Rathaus—the city hall or town hall—of Hamburg, Germany, it is the seat of the government of Hamburg, located in the Altstadt quarter in the city centre, near the lake Binnenalster and the central station...

 and part of the Government of Hamburg
Government of Hamburg
The government of Hamburg is divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches. Due to the characteristic that Hamburg is a city-state and a municipality in Germany, the governance deals several details of state politics and community politics. It takes place in two ranks; a city-wide and...


The parliament is among other things responsible for the law, the election of the Erster Bürgermeister (First Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

) for the election period and the control of the Senate (cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...


The 121 members are elected in universal, direct, free, equal and secret elections every four years.



Bürgerschaft as a term in in use since the Middle Ages to refer to the male inhabitants of Hamburg with citizenship. A committee of the landowning class within the city, called Erbgesessene Bürgerschaft, was formed out of this group in the 15. century to govern the state. The first crelevant document of this committee, which was traditionally dominated by the local merchants, dates back to 1410 and named Der Erste Rezess (roughly: The first comparison). The system of hereditary seats was prone to corruption and it came to several major struggles in the following decades.

The Lange Rezess (roughly: The long comparison) of 1529 reformed the administrative system of the city and made the ruling council accountable to several committees of the Erbgesenne Bürgerschaft. These bodies emerged out of the ecclesiastical structures of the now Lutheran city but could not settle all aspects of the sensitive balance of power. Thus, a commission, sent by the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, had to secure the peace by force in 1708 and the city was once more negotiating and reforming her own administrative structures in the following years.

The Vormärz
' is the time period leading up to the failed March 1848 revolution in the German Confederation. Also known as the Age of Metternich, it was a period of Austrian and Prussian police states and vast censorship in response to calls for liberalism...

 led to even more criticism of the established structures and Hamburg participated in the elections of the Frankfurt Parliament
Frankfurt Parliament
The Frankfurt Assembly was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany. Session was held from May 18, 1848 to May 31, 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main...

 in 1848. This resulted in even more debates and the Erbgesenne Bürgerschaft passed a new electorial law to meet the citicism in September 1848 but the restoration, supported and enforced by Prussian troops during the First Schleswig War, turned the table.

Elections of 1859

A new attempt to reform the constitution was launched after long discussions in 1859 and the Erbgesenne Bürgerschaft met for the last time in November of this year to establish a new order as well as to disband itself in favour of the Bürgerschaft. Since 1859 Bürgerschaft refers to this elected parliamentary body.

Hamburg parliament in the Federal Republic

The elections of 1949 led to the second elected parliament of Hamburg after the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 maintanied her traditional dominant role, already re-established under the British-controlled elections of 1946. The party continued to govern the city, except 1953-57, until the first von Beust-Senate, formed in 2001.

Since March 23, 2011 the Hamburg Parliament has been in its 20th legislative period in the Federal Republic of Germany. A SPD-Government succeeded a coalition of CDU and the Greens.

President and board

The president of the parliament presides over the parliament and its sessions. The president is supported by a 'First Vice-president' and 3 vice presidents, all are elected by the representatives. President, vice presidents, and 3 recording clerks are the board (German: Präsidium).

As of 2011 President of the Hamburg Parliament was Carola Veit.
List of Presidents of the Hamburg Parliament since 1859
Term Name
1859–1861 Dr. Johannes Versmann
Johannes Versmann
Johannes Georg Andreas Versmann was a German lawyer and politician. He was the first president of the new Bürgerschaft of Hamburg in 1859 and dominated the politics of the hanseatic state as first or second mayor between 1887 and 1899.- Life :Versmann was educated in the classical institutions of...

1861–1863 Dr. Isaac Wolffson
1863–1865 Dr. Hermann Baumeister
1865–1868 Dr. Georg Kunhardt
1868–1868 Dr. Hermann Baumeister
1869–1869 Johann A. T. Hoffmann
1869–1877 Dr. Hermann Baumeister
1877–1885 Dr. Gerhard Hachmann
1885–1892 Dr. Otto Mönckeberg
1892–1902 Siegmund Hinrichsen
1902–1913 Julius Engel
Julius Engel
Julius Friedrich Theodor Engel was a German judge and politician. The lawyer was president of the Hamburg Parliament between 1902 and 1913....

1913–1919 Dr. Alexander Schön
1919–1920 Berthold Grosse
1920–1928 Rudolf Ross
Rudolf Ross
Rudolf Adolf Wilhelm Ross was a German teacher, politician of the Social Democratic Party , member of the Hamburg Parliament, and First Mayor of Hamburg.- Early life :...

1928–1931 Max Hugo Leuteritz
1931–1933 Dr. Herbert Ruscheweyh
1946 Dr. Herbert Ruscheweyh
1946–1960 Adolph Schönfelder
Adolph Schönfelder
- External links :...

1960–1978 Herbert Dau
1978–1982 Peter Schulz
Peter Schulz
Peter Schulz is a German politician, member of the Social Democratic Party and First Mayor of Hamburg .Schulz was born in Rostock...

1982–1983 Dr. Martin Willich
1983–1986 Peter Schulz
1986–1987 Dr. Martin Willich
1987–1987 Elisabeth Kiausch
1987–1991 Helga Elstner
1991–1993 Elisabeth Kiausch
1993–2000 Ute Pape
2000–2004 Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt
Dorothee Stapelfeldt
-External links:* . Retrieved on 2009-09-03...

2004–2010 Berndt Röder
Berndt Röder
- External links :*, retrieved on 2009-07-24...

2010–2011 Lutz Mohaupt
2011– Carola Veit

Council of Elders

The Council of Elders (German: Ältestenrat) consists of the president, the vice presidents and several members, appointed by the parliamentary groups. The council support the president and the board regarding decisions of the agenda, personnel matters, and financial affairs.

Parliamentary groups

Parliamentary groups (German: Fraktionen) are pooled by minimum 6 members of the parliament. Most these groups are by one party.

Candidates qualifications

The qualification is regulated by law. As of 2008, electable for the parliament in is every German after his/her 18th birthday. He/she is restricted, if he/she is not allowed to vote by a verdict, is patient of a psychiatric ward under law, or has a representative under law.

Current composition

State elections, with a new electoral law, were held in Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 on 20 February 2011. The election campaign debates were dominated by economic and educational questions as well as the evaluation of the failed CDU-Green Senate under Christoph Ahlhaus, the successor of Ole von Beust
Ole von Beust
Carl-Friedrich Arp Ole Freiherr von Beust, generally called Ole von Beust, born April 13, 1955, in Hamburg, Germany, was First Mayor of the city-state of Hamburg from 31 October 2001 to 25 August 2010, serving as President of the Bundesrat from 1 November 2007 on for one year...


The five parties having more than 5 percent (minimum to qualify) were the social-democratic SPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

, the Christian-democratic 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...

, the ecologist Green Alternative List (GAL; which is the Hamburg section of 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...

), the liberal Free Democratic Party
Free Democratic Party
Free Democratic Party is the name of several political parties around the world. It usually designates a party that is ideologically based around liberalism...

 and the left-wing Die Linke
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....

, which entered the parliament for the first time in 2008. The SPD, under Olaf Scholz
Olaf Scholz
Olaf Scholz is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and Mayor of Hamburg since 7 March 2011.From May to October 2001 he was Minister of the Interior of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and from 2002 to 2004 he was general secretary of the SPD...

, won an absolute majority of the 121 seats in the Hamburgische Bürgerschaft and formed a government in Hamburg without coalition partners.

External links

  • Official website of the Parliament of Hamburg
  • Parliament of Hamburg on
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