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The Bundestag (, "Federal
Diet Diet may refer to: Food * Diet (nutrition) In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for #Health, health or #Weight management, weight-mana ...
") is the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of government characterized by both a central (federal) government and states or ...
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

parliament
. It is the only body that is directly elected by the German people on the federal level. It can be compared to a
lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Apache County *Chambers, Nebraska *Chambers, We ...
similar to the
United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, with the United States Senate, Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national Bicameralism, bicameral legislature of the United S ...
or the
House of Commons of the United Kingdom The House of Commons (domestically known as the Commons) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona ...

House of Commons of the United Kingdom
. The Bundestag was established by Title III of the
Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a g ...
(german: Grundgesetz) in 1949 as one of the legislative bodies of Germany and thus it is the historical successor to the earlier
Reichstag is a German word generally meaning parliament, more directly translated as ''Diet (assembly), Diet of the Realm'' or ''National diet'', or more loosely as ''Imperial Diet''. It may refer to: Buildings and places is the god specific German word ...
. The Members of the Bundestag are representatives of the German people as a whole and are not bound by any orders or instructions and are only held accountable by their electorate. The minimum legal number of members of the Bundestag (german: Mitglieder des Bundestages) is 598; however due to the system of overhang and equalisation seats the current 19th Bundestag has a total of 709 members, making it the largest Bundestag to date. The Bundestag is elected every four years by German citizens over the age of 18. Elections use a
mixed-member proportional representation Mixed-member proportional representation (MMP or MMPR) is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes: one to decide the legislator, representative for their single-seat electoral district, constituency, and one for a political part ...
system which combines
first-past-the-post In a first-past-the-post electoral system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and Referendum, referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral systems are org ...
elected seats with a proportional party list. An early election is only possible in the cases outlined in Articles 63 and 68 of the ''Grundgesetz''. The Bundestag has several functions. Together with the Bundesrat, the Bundestag makes up the legislative branch of the Federal Government. The individual states (
Bundesländer
Bundesländer
) of Germany participate through the Bundesrat in legislative process similar to an upper house in a
bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interac ...
parliament, however the ''Grundgesetz'' considers the Bundestag and Bundesrat to be separate from each other. The Bundestag and Bundesrat nevertheless work together in the lawmaking procedure on the federal level. The Bundestag also elects the
Executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
and is responsible for executive oversight. The Bundestag also sets the Federal Budget. Since 1999, it has met in the
Reichstag is a German word generally meaning parliament, more directly translated as ''Diet (assembly), Diet of the Realm'' or ''National diet'', or more loosely as ''Imperial Diet''. It may refer to: Buildings and places is the god specific German word ...
in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
. The Bundestag also operates in multiple new government buildings in Berlin and has its own
police force The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a state, with the aim to enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder. Their lawful powers include arrest an ...
(''Bundestagspolizei''). The current
President of the Bundestag#REDIRECT President of the Bundestag President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a presiden ...
since 2017 is
Wolfgang Schäuble Wolfgang Schäuble (; born 18 September 1942) is a German lawyer and politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party whose political career has spanned almost five decades. He is one of the longest serving politicians in German history ...

Wolfgang Schäuble
of the
CDU CDU may refer to: Education * Catholic Distance University, a worldwide Catholic university based in Hamilton, Virginia, U.S offering theological instruction and degrees via Internet * Cebu Doctors' University, a medical university in the Phili ...
. The 19th Bundestag has five Vice Presidents.


History

Bundestag translates as "Federal Diet", with "Bund" (cognate to English "bundle") in this context meaning federation or league, and "Tag" (day) came to mean "meeting in conference" — another example being
Reichstag is a German word generally meaning parliament, more directly translated as ''Diet (assembly), Diet of the Realm'' or ''National diet'', or more loosely as ''Imperial Diet''. It may refer to: Buildings and places is the god specific German word ...
— because a council gathering would happen on a given day of the week, month, or year (similar to "diet", which is from Latin "dies", day). With the dissolution of the
German Confederation The German Confederation (german: Deutscher Bund) was an association of 39 predominantly German-speaking sovereign states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as a replacement of the former Holy Roman Empire, which had ...

German Confederation
in 1866 and the founding of the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
(
Deutsches Reich ''German Reich'' (german: Deutsches Reich, ) was the constitutional name for the German nation state that existed from 1871 to 1945. The ''Reich'' became understood as deriving its authority and sovereignty entirely from a continuing unitary Germ ...
) in 1871, the Reichstag was established as the German parliament in Berlin, which was the capital of the then
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
(the largest and most influential state in both the Confederation and the empire). 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 The Reichstag fire (german: Reichstagsbrand, ) was an arson attack on the Reichstag building, home of the German parliament in Berlin, on Monday 27 February 1933, precisely four weeks after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Hit ...
, the then President of the Weimar Republic,
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the Imperial German Army The Imperial German Army (1871–1919), officially referred to ...

Paul von Hindenburg
, a retired war hero, gave
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
ultimate power through the Decree for the Protection of People and State and the
Enabling Act of 1933 The Enabling Act (German language, German: ') of 1933, officially titled ' ("Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich"), was a law that gave the Hitler Cabinet, German Cabinet—most importantly, the Chancellor of Germany, Chancellor—t ...
, although Hitler remained at the post of Federal Government Chancellor (though he called himself the Führer). After this, the Reichstag met only rarely, usually at the ''Krolloper'' (Kroll Opera House) to unanimously rubber-stamp the decisions of the government. It last convened on 26 April 1942. With the new Constitution of 1949, the Bundestag was established as the new West German parliament. Because
West Berlin West Berlin (german: Berlin (West) or ) was a political enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is ...
was not officially under the jurisdiction of the Constitution, a legacy of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
, the Bundestag met in
Bonn The Federal city The term federal city is a title for certain cities in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official langua ...

Bonn
in several different buildings, including (provisionally) a former waterworks facility. In addition, owing to the city's legal status, citizens of West Berlin were unable to vote in elections to the Bundestag, and were instead represented by 22 non-voting delegates chosen by the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
, the city's legislature. The Bundeshaus in Bonn 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 northern areas the branch office of the Bundesrat ("Federal Council"), which represents the ''Länder'' – the federated states. The southern areas became part of German offices for the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
in 2008. The former
Reichstag building The Reichstag (german: Reichstagsgebäude ; officially: ''Deutscher Bundestag – Plenarbereich Reichstagsgebäude'' ) is a historic building in Berlin which houses the Bundestag, the lower house of Germany's parliament. It was constructed to ...
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 (Federal Assembly), 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 19 April 1999, the German parliament has again assembled in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
in its original
Reichstag building The Reichstag (german: Reichstagsgebäude ; officially: ''Deutscher Bundestag – Plenarbereich Reichstagsgebäude'' ) is a historic building in Berlin which houses the Bundestag, the lower house of Germany's parliament. It was constructed to ...
, which was built in 1888 based on the plans of German architect Paul Wallot and underwent a significant renovation under the lead of British architect
Lord Norman Foster Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, (born 1 June 1935) is a British architect and designer. Closely associated with the development of High-tech architecture High-tech architecture, also known as Structural Expressionism, is a ...
. Parliamentary committees and subcommittees, public hearings and parliamentary group 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 A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, Procedural law, rules, and Norm (sociology) ...
of the German political system. 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 Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the ''cancellarii Cancelli are lattice-work, placed before a window, a door-way, the tribunal o ...
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 written question previously submitted by 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 actively exercise their parliamentary right to scrutinize government actions. Constituent services also take place via 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 An online petition (or Internet petition, or e-petition) is a form of petition which is signed online, usually through a form on a website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified ...
s, a version of e-Petitioner was produced for the Bundestag. This was a collaborative project involving The
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; Scots language, Scots: ''Scots Pairlament'') is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyro ...

Scottish Parliament
,
International Teledemocracy Centre The International Teledemocracy Centre (ITC) 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 dec ...
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.


Electoral term

The Bundestag is elected for four years, and new elections must be held between 46 and 48 months after the beginning of its electoral term, unless the Bundestag is dissolved prematurely. Its term ends when the next Bundestag convenes, which must occur within 30 days of the election. Prior to 1976, there could be a period where one Bundestag had been dissolved and the next Bundestag could not be convened; during this period, the rights of the Bundestag were exercised by a so-called "Permanent Committee".


Election

Germany uses the
mixed-member proportional representation Mixed-member proportional representation (MMP or MMPR) is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes: one to decide the legislator, representative for their single-seat electoral district, constituency, and one for a political part ...
system, a system of
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
combined with elements of
first-past-the-post voting In a first-past-the-post electoral system (FPTP or FPP; sometimes formally called single-member plurality voting or SMP; sometimes called choose-one voting for single-member districts, in contrast to ranked voting, ranked-choice voting), voter ...
. The Bundestag has 598 nominal members, elected for a four-year term; these seats are distributed between the sixteen German states in proportion to the states' population eligible to vote. Every elector has two votes: a constituency vote (first vote) and a party list vote (second vote). Based solely on the first votes, 299 members are elected in
single-member constituencies A single-member district is an electoral district An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) precinct, electoral area, circumscription, or e ...
by first-past-the-post voting. The second votes are used to produce a proportional number of seats for parties, first in the states, and then on the federal level. Seats are allocated using the Sainte-Laguë method. If a party wins fewer constituency seats in a state than its second votes would entitle it to, it receives additional seats from the relevant state list. Parties can file lists in every single state under certain conditions – for example, a fixed number of supporting signatures. Parties can receive second votes only in those states in which they have filed a state list. If a party, by winning single-member constituencies in one state, receives more seats than it would be entitled to according to its second vote share in that state (so-called
overhang seat Overhang seats are constituency seats won in an election under the traditional mixed member proportional Mixed-member proportional representation (MMP or MMPR) is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes: one to decide the legis ...
s), the other parties receive compensation seats. Owing to this provision, the Bundestag usually has more than 598 members. The 19th and current Bundestag, for example, has 709 seats: 598 regular seats and 111 overhang and compensation seats. Overhang seats are calculated at the state level, so many more seats are added to balance this out among the different states, adding more seats than would be needed to compensate for overhang at the national level in order to avoid negative vote weight. In order to qualify for seats based on the party-list vote share, a party must either win three single-member constituencies via first votes or exceed a threshold of 5% of the second votes nationwide. If a party only wins one or two single-member constituencies and fails to get at least 5% of the second votes, it keeps the single-member seat(s), but other parties that accomplish at least one of the two threshold conditions receive compensation seats. In the most recent example of this, during the 2002 election, the PDS won only 4.0% of the second votes nationwide, but won two constituencies in the state of
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
. The same applies if an independent candidate wins a single-member constituency, which has not happened since the 1949 election. If a voter cast a first vote for a successful independent candidate or a successful candidate whose party failed to qualify for proportional representation, his or her second vote does not count toward proportional representation. However, it does count toward whether the elected party exceeds the 5% threshold. Parties representing recognized national minorities (currently
Danes Danes ( da, danskere, ) are a North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a lang ...
,
Frisians The Frisians are a Germanic people, Germanic ethnic group indigenous to the German Bight, coastal regions of the Netherlands and northwestern Germany. They inhabit an area known as Frisia and are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland ...

Frisians
,
Sorbs Sorbs ( hsb, Serbja, dsb, Serby, german: Sorben, also known as Lusatians and Wends) are a West Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that d ...
, and
Romani people The Romani (also spelled Romany , ), colloquially known as Roma, are an Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these ...

Romani people
) are exempt from the 5% threshold, but normally only run in state elections.


Election result

The last federal elections were held on Sunday, 24 September 2017, to elect the members of the 19th Bundestag. The election saw the CDU/CSU win 33% of the vote, a drop of more than 8% and its lowest share of the vote since
1949 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the . There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in s). This day is known as since the day marks the beginning of the year. __TOC__ ...
, while the SPD also suffered its worst result since the 1949 with just 20% of the vote.
Alternative for Germany Alternative for Germany (german: link=no, Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) is a German nationalist German nationalism is an ideological notion that promotes the unity of Germans The Germans (german: Deutsche) are a Germanic peoples, ...
(AfD)—which was previously unrepresented in the Bundestag—became the third largest party in the Bundestag with 12.6% of the vote and a
plurality Plurality may refer to: Voting * Plurality (voting), the most votes for any choice in an election, but not necessarily a majority ** Plurality voting, system in which each voter votes for one candidate and the candidate with a plurality is elected ...
of the vote in
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
. The FDP reentered the Bundestag after its exodus following the 2013 election loss where they fell under the 5% vote threshold:They had a result of 10.7%. The Left and the Greens obtain marginal increases of 0.6% and 0.5% coming in at totals of 9.2% and 8.9% respectively. No party won an outright majority in any state, including Bavaria, where the CSU often wins majorities and won a majority of the vote in 2013.


List of Bundestag by session


Presidents since 1949


Membership


Organization


Parliamentary groups

The most important organisational structures within the Bundestag are
parliamentary groups 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 ...
(''Fraktionen''; sing. ''Fraktion''). A parliamentary group must consist of at least 5% of all members of parliament. Members of parliament from different parties may only join in a group, if those parties did not run against each other in any German state during the election. Normally, all parties that succeeded the 5%-threshold build a parliamentary group. The
CDU CDU may refer to: Education * Catholic Distance University, a worldwide Catholic university based in Hamilton, Virginia, U.S offering theological instruction and degrees via Internet * Cebu Doctors' University, a medical university in the Phili ...
and CSU have always formed a single united ''Fraktion'' (called ''Union'' or CDU/CSU), which is possible, as the CSU only runs in the state of
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
and the CDU only runs in the other 15 states. The size of a party's ''Fraktion'' determines the extent of its representation on 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 A working group, or working party, is a group of experts working together to achieve specified goals. The groups are domain-specific and focus on discussion or activity around a specific subject area. The term can sometimes refer to an interdis ...

working group
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, that do not hold 5% of the Bundestag-seats may be granted the status of a ''Gruppe'' (small group) in the Bundestag; this is decided case by case, as the rules of procedure do not state a fixed number of seats for this. Most recently, this applied to the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) from 1990 to 1998. This status entails some privileges which are in general less than those of a ''Fraktion''.


Executive bodies

The Bundestag's executive bodies include the Council of Elders and the
Presidium A presidium or praesidium is a council of executive officers in some political assemblies that collectively administers its business, either alongside an individual president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A ...
. 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). There are, as of the current nineteenth Bundestag, 24 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 current nineteenth Bundestag, the
CDU/CSU CDU/CSU, unofficially the Union parties (german: Unionsparteien, ) or the Union, is the centre-right Centre-right politics (British English) or center-right politics (American English), also referred to as moderate-right politics, lean to the ...
chaired ten committees, the
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
five, the AfD and the FDP three each, The Left and the
Greens Greens may refer to: *Leaf vegetable Leaf vegetables, also called leafy greens, salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, or simply greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots. Althou ...
two each. Members of the opposition party can chair a significant number of standing committees (e.g. the budget committee is by tradition chaired by the biggest opposition party). 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 void 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 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 (even after a snap election) 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.


See also

* '' Länderkammer'' * Parliamentwatch


Notes


References


External links

*
German election database

Map of constituencies



Plenary speech search engine
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