- BT -
|Seat:||Reichstag building , Berlin|
|Legislative period :||four years|
|First session:||September 7, 1949|
|MPs:||736 (including 138 overhang and compensation mandates )|
|Current legislative period|
|Last choice:||September 26, 2021|
|Next choice:||probably in autumn 2025|
Bärbel Bas ( SPD )
Aydan Özoğuz ( SPD ),
Yvonne Magwas ( CDU ),
Katrin Göring-Eckardt ( Greens ),
Wolfgang Kubicki ( FDP ),
Petra Pau ( left )
|Allocation of seats in the 20th Bundestag|
|Distribution of seats:||
The German Bundestag (abbreviation BT ) is the parliament and thus the legislative body of the Federal Republic of Germany with its seat in Berlin . In the political system of Germany, the Bundestag is the only constitutional body of the Federation to be elected directly by the people of the state , the German citizens , in accordance with Paragraph 2, Clause 2 of the Basic Law in conjunction with . In conjunction with Basic Law.
The legal number of its members representing the whole people is 598 according to Abs. 1 Satz 1 BWahlG . The actual number of members may be higher due to overhang and balancing mandates . The 20th German Bundestag has a record number of 736 seats, making the Bundestag the largest freely elected national parliamentary chamber in the world.
A legislative period of the Bundestag ends after four years or before by dissolution. The members of the German Bundestag (MdB) can join together to form factions or groups and thus enjoy a special procedural and organizational status. The Bundestag is headed by the President of the German Bundestag ( or Bundestag President for short ), who also chairs the Federal Assembly and the Joint Committee . The current President of the Bundestag is Bärbel Bas ( SPD ).
Aydan Özoğuz ( SPD ), Yvonne Magwas ( CDU / CSU ), Katrin Göring-Eckardt ( Greens ), Wolfgang Kubicki ( FDP ) and Petra Pau ( Left ) are elected as Vice-President and Deputy President . The senior president , since 2021 Wolfgang Schäuble ( CDU ), chairs the first session of the German Bundestag at the beginning of a new legislative period in accordance with the rules of procedure.
The Bundestag has a variety of tasks: It has the legislative function , that is, it creates the federal law and changes the Basic Law , the constitution . This often requires the involvement of the Federal Council , an independent constitutional body that has tasks comparable to those of a second chamber of parliament (usually classified internationally as the upper house ). The Bundestag approves contracts with other states and organizations (international treaties) and adopts the federal budget . As part of his creative function , he elects, among other things, the head of government ( Federal Chancellor ) with an absolute majority and participates in the election of the head of state ( Federal President ), the federal judges and other important federal bodies. The Bundestag exercises parliamentary control over the government and the executive branch of the Federation, it also controls the deployment of the Bundeswehr . The public function , according to which the Bundestag has the task of expressing the wishes of the people and, conversely, of informing them, is politically significant .
The German Bundestag has had its seat in the Reichstag building in Berlin's Mitte district since 1999 . In addition, it maintains a number of other functional buildings to support parliamentary work ( see below ). The Reichstag building is protected by the police at the German Bundestag , who report to the Bundestag President .
In the middle of the front side is the board of directors with the President of the Bundestag or his representative and two secretaries, behind them the director of the German Bundestag and the staff of the plenary assistance service. Are from the session of the Executive Board on the left front side of the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner and the Federal Bank , to the right of the government bench . The seat closest to the Presidium is reserved for the Federal Chancellor and the President of the Federal Council.
Behind the counter of the Bureau who are federal and European flag under the large, 2.5-ton Bundestag eagle (the " Fettehenne "). The federal flag is a replica of the main flag of the Hambach Festival of 1832, which demonstrated the demands for unity and freedom in the so-called Vormärz , in which the third stripe consists of gold lurex . It was given to the German Bundestag in 1949 by the government of North Rhine-Westphalia on the occasion of the first meeting of parliament in Bonn and renewed in 1999 during the parliamentary summer recess. The speaker's desk forms the center of the plenary hall. The stenographers and members of the Bundestag sit in front of the speaker .
The President sees the plenary session in front of him . From him on the right in a semicircle sit the MPs of the AfD. Next to it sit the members of the CDU / CSU and then the FDP in the middle. In the center left is the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen parliamentary group, and the SPD parliamentary group has its seat in the left half of the plenum. Although the Greens were seen as “left” than the SPD in their early days, in 1983 the SPD insisted that no parliamentary group should sit to their left. This division remained until the reunification . Since then, the members of the Left Party have been sitting on the far left, because when the then PDS moved in in 1990, the SPD no longer insisted on its outer seat. Visitors to the Bundestag sit in their own stands above the MPs. You may not express any statements of approval or disapproval; they can be expelled from the room in the event of a violation.
Behind the benches of the Federal Government and the Federal Council are boards that show the current agenda item with illuminated letters. A green “F” is also used to indicate that the television is broadcasting. After a federal election, the chairs in the German Bundestag will be permanently installed according to parliamentary groups. The plenary hall is additionally illuminated by a system of mirrors that diverts daylight from the dome into the hall.
Assignment of mandates
According to the electoral principles of personalized proportional representation, representatives of the people are elected in general, direct, free, equal and secret elections in 299 constituencies . Through the election you receive a so-called mandate , the political representation mandate that the electorate gives to the member of the legislative body. The elected representatives are called MPs . The voter casts two votes: With his first vote (on the left, see graphic) in the German federal election, you choose a direct candidate in your constituency (also electoral district vote). The candidate moves directly into parliament as soon as he has obtained a relative majority of the votes. The so-called second vote is cast with a cross on the right-hand side of the official ballot. A similar electoral system can be found in some state elections.
The legal number of members of the Bundestag has been 598 since the beginning of the 15th legislative period. The second vote result is decisive for the distribution of the seats. In the distribution, first of all, those MPs who have won the mandate in their constituency based on the first vote result are taken into account - this is also referred to as a direct mandate . The remaining seats are then given to candidates on the parties' pre-determined state lists. A party with its state lists is only taken into account if it has received at least five percent of the second votes cast or at least three direct mandates.
There are three typical distribution cases:
- One party has achieved a greater share of strength than the number of direct mandates. She will then be assigned further mandates according to the state list.
- A party in a federal state has achieved a smaller share of strength than the number of direct mandates. All of these surplus direct mandates are valid, the elected MPs move into parliament regardless of the distribution of seats. The total number of MPs increases by these mandates, colloquially overhang mandates , and thus increases the legal number according to BWahlG. Other parties then usually receive additional compensation mandates .
- One party has achieved a share of strength that corresponds exactly to the number of direct mandates. No further mandates will then be allocated.
The system of personalized proportional representation enables voters on the one hand to vote for their preferred political party and, on the other hand, to elect a candidate for a member of their constituency independently of this. The Verification takes to of the Basic Law, the Bundestag itself, it also decides whether a deputy has lost his seat. An election review complaint can be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court against the decision of the Bundestag . The Bundestag meets at the latest on the thirtieth day after the election ( Basic Law).
As a result of a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court, the German Bundestag was obliged to change the electoral law before the 2013 Bundestag election , as the previous practice of distributing the overhang seats , which could result in negative votes , was not compatible with the Basic Law in the opinion of the court. On February 21, 2013, the Bundestag finally passed a new electoral law with the votes of the parliamentary groups of CDU / CSU, SPD, FDP and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen. The left parliamentary group voted against. The changed electoral law provides that all overhang mandates that arise in an election are compensated. In this way, the proportions of the parties should be preserved after the result of the second votes. However, this can lead to a considerable increase in the size of the Bundestag.
An overview of the legislative process
A bill that is introduced from the middle of the Bundestag must be supported by a parliamentary group or five percent of the parliamentarians. The bills are usually discussed and worked out beforehand in the Bundestag committees . In this way they are made “ready for voting”. In accordance with Basic Law, the draft is first discussed in the entire Bundestag and either approved or rejected there. If the law is passed, it goes to the Federal Council for advice. A federal government bill is first referred to the Federal Council and discussed there. The draft law will then be submitted to the Bundestag together with the latter's statement and the counter-statement by the federal government. Conversely, a draft law by the Bundesrat goes to the Bundestag together with the Federal Government's opinion.
If a law is passed by the Bundestag, further involvement of the Bundesrat is required so that it can come into existence. A distinction must be made here whether it is an objection law or an approval law . The rejection of an objection law by the Bundesrat can be overruled in the Bundestag. If the Federal Council does not approve a consent law, it has failed.
If a law does not require approval, the Federal Council can object, which has the effect of a suspensive veto . In such a case, the law will be forwarded to the Bundestag again and the objection can be overruled if no changes are decided. This also means that a two-thirds majority when resolving the objection in the Bundesrat can only be overruled by a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag. If the Federal Council wanted to make extensive changes to a law requiring approval, it sometimes raised an objection; however, this is not provided for in GG. Such an objection is therefore not negligible; Rather, the Bundesrat is referring the matter back to the Bundestag and using a different instrument than the Mediation Committee in order, if necessary, to achieve a different political decision-making process. If more, the content does not belong together bills connected to a "package", one speaks of a package deal that is made between them.
Treatment of laws in the Bundestag
A bill is initially dealt with in a "first reading". Depending on the importance and political interests, an initial exchange of views or a debate in the plenary takes place. Then, very often without discussion, the draft law is referred to various committees. Usually, in addition to the “leading” technical committee, the legal and budget committees are also involved with a draft law, since the laws have legal and fiscal effects. During the committee deliberations, the main and detailed work is done on the draft laws. The draft is examined by the parliamentarians and often massively changed: they regularly consult experts from the government , from the specialist administration and other experts from practice and science.
In the committee version, the draft law goes back to the plenary, where it is discussed in a "second reading". The "second reading" is used to discuss details and amendments that come to a large extent from the committees, but also from political groups, groups or individual parliamentarians who want to come up with alternative solutions. Often, however, the versions of the committees have already been coordinated with one another and formulated in such a way that the “second reading” on the entire draft law is ended in one vote.
A “third reading” can take place again if political resistance is noticeably formed, so that certain groups only agree to the law if parts of it are changed in their favor. This can come from the ranks of the opposition , from among the prime ministers , who signal an objection from the Federal Council, or from the government or the parliamentary groups that support them. The final vote will take place after the third reading.
Regardless of whether the adopted law requires approval, it must be forwarded to the Federal Council so that it can come into effect. The legislative process will continue there. One speaks of a “fourth reading” when the mediation committee proposes an amendment to the legislative resolution and the Bundestag has to pass another resolution. After a motion to reject an objection by the Bundesrat, a so-called “fifth reading” can take place in the Bundestag.
The Bundestag is not a permanent body, there is only one current parliament. At the end of the legislative period , he ends his work, and all bills and projects are considered completed, regardless of what stage they are at. This is called the discontinuity principle. Political initiatives must be introduced in the new parliament if they are to continue. The latter is not always a matter of course, as other political forces are working together in the new Bundestag. Petitions are an exception because they come from the citizen and the citizen's concern is independent of election periods.
Special features of the legislation on duties and taxes
In the case of taxes , legislation is concentrated on the federal government through the financial constitution . After that he has legislative sovereignty in almost all areas . Therefore there are almost no state taxes in Germany. A distinction must be made between this and the so-called revenue sovereignty, i.e. the state organizational authorization to determine which regional authority effectively receives the revenue from certain taxes and to what extent. Changes to tax laws that affect income to which the federal states or municipalities are entitled are subject to the approval of the Bundesrat in accordance with (3) of the Basic Law.
Special features of legislation in questions of international law
International treaties contain rules that are very often intended to become part of the national, domestic order. There are two mechanisms for this - incorporation and transformation. In the first case, the international legal framework is transferred into the national legal system with the proper conclusion of a contract or simple ratification , for example in Great Britain.
In the second case, a separate implementation as a domestic act of fulfillment is necessary, with the potential for error and conflict in how well the state succeeds in fulfilling this. The international conclusion of a contract can be illustrated as an obligation transaction , the domestic implementation as a fulfillment transaction. However, the terms are not always common in this context.
In Germany, the transformation model is practiced, with the special feature that it requires a treaty law as an act of consent, provided that the international treaty affects legislative matter. Without such a law, the Federal President may not ratify the treaty (GG). If the adoption of new standards is necessary for the implementation, the material implementation takes place at the same time at the legal and ordinance level. Since such elements are often summarized in terms of legislation, the laws are colloquially called "approval laws", but this says nothing about the question of whether the Federal Council has to approve implementation.
If the federal government concludes international treaties on issues that affect the special circumstances of a country, the federal government must listen to this country before the conclusion of the treaty and participate in the formation of political will (Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law). It does not depend on the Federal Council because it is a federal body.
The budget right is an important right of the parliament. With the budget law, the parliament determines the areas in which the federal government sets priorities. Budgeting as such is not necessarily a piece of legislation in the narrower sense; In principle, a parliament can also exercise its budgetary rights by means of a simple parliamentary resolution that does not have the status of a law. The federal budget is, however, decided in accordance with Basic Law in the form of a federal law - without the consent of the Bundesrat.
The German state tradition has been very reluctant to adopt the democratic principle of parliamentary budgeting, although it was part of the core of parliamentary rights in the development of democracy and was exemplified in the British House of Commons . In contrast, in Bismarck's time the government held the budget right in important areas, and this experience showed that a parliament without full budget control is a weak parliament.
In the debate on the budget of the Federal Chancellery, there is traditionally a general debate on the policy of the Federal Government in both the first and second reading. The opposition uses the opportunity to point out to the public the weaknesses it has identified in the federal government; the government, for its part, is fighting back with attacks on the opposition.
Representation principle and self-dissolution
The Basic Law is based on the principle of representative democracy , according to which parliament has a central role in the organization of the state. The people as sovereign thus concentrate the personal and organizational tasks of the state power on the elected representative body and refrain from direct decision-making on such questions. Other federal organs are not elected by the people, plebiscitary votes on factual issues are provided in Basic Law, but a referendum is only required when the federal states are reorganized. The parliament is thus the only directly elected state body .
The Bundestag cannot dissolve itself . With reference, among other things, to the bad experience of frequent dissolutions of parliament and changes of government in the Weimar Republic , such a right was rejected when the Basic Law was drawn up. In the constitutional understanding of the Basic Law, democracy is seen primarily as the exercise of power for a limited period of time; this context, and GG have a normative dimension that influences the interpretation of other constitutional rules that affect political crises, such as the question of confidence, the legislative emergency or the emergency constitution . For the same reason, other constitutional organs are not allowed to fix the parliamentary term, be it with the aim of political stability.
The introduction of a right of the Bundestag to dissolve itself through an amendment to the Basic Law is largely rejected from a constitutional point of view because it runs counter to the principle of representation and leads to inconsistencies in the political system . In particular, it is critically noted that parliamentary power through democratic legitimation would in this case be exposed to alarming inflation and indirectly elected state organs would be upgraded in their political power in relation to the directly elected parliament . This would break the principle of sovereignty.
The parliament elects the head of the other state organs or participates in their determination. At a lower level, the highest state organs also convey democratic legitimation to subordinate organs based on this principle: for example, the Federal President appoints the federal officials and the Chancellor appoints the ministers.
Election of the Federal Chancellor
The Federal Chancellor is elected by the Bundestag without debate in accordance with election is secret . First, a proposal is made by the Federal President who is legally free with regard to the person he is proposing, but politically very strongly bound: Most of the time, it is already clear on the evening of the Bundestag election who will be proposed by the Federal President. As a rule, this is the candidate for chancellor of the strongest victorious parliamentary group in the Bundestag. If the Bundestag elects the nominee with a majority of its members, the elected president is appointed by the Federal President. So far, every candidate has been elected by the Bundestag. If the Bundestag does not elect the nominee, the Bundestag has 14 days to elect a Chancellor from among its members with the votes of a majority of its members (absolute majority). If the Bundestag does not succeed in electing a person during this period, a new ballot takes place immediately after the deadline has expired, in which the person who receives the most votes is elected. If this majority is also an absolute majority, the Federal President must appoint the person elected within seven days. If the elected person was only able to achieve a relative majority, the Federal President can decide within seven days whether to appoint the elected Chancellor or dissolve the Bundestag.Basic Law. The Bundestag's rules of procedure stipulate that the
No confidence vote and vote of confidence
If the Federal Chancellor no longer has a majority in the Bundestag, the Bundestag can only remove him from his office by electing a successor at the same time with the votes of the majority of its members (GG). The Federal President must then dismiss the previous Federal Chancellor and appoint the newly elected one.
The Federal Chancellor can also ask the Bundestag a question of confidence ( legislative emergency.GG). If it is not answered positively, i.e. less than the absolute majority of the members of the Bundestag approves the motion of confidence, the Federal President can dissolve the Bundestag on the proposal of the Federal Chancellor or, with the consent of the Bundesrat, declare a
Election of the Federal President
The task of the Federal Assembly is to elect the Federal President. The members of the Bundestag make up one half of the Federal Assembly. The other half consists of people who are elected by the state parliaments of the federal states according to the principle of proportional representation. The President of the Bundestag is President of the Federal Assembly.
Election of federal judges
According to Basic Law, the Bundestag appoints half of the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court. According to BVerfGG , this has been carried out by the plenum since June 30, 2015. Nominations are submitted by the twelve-member electoral committee , whose members are determined according to the maximum number method according to d'Hondt . An election proposal is passed with eight of the 12 committee votes; the election itself is successful with a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, at least the majority of the members of the Bundestag. This is to ensure that constitutional judges are not elected politically unilaterally. As a rule, the two large parliamentary groups agree on a “package” with which an equal number of Union and SPD-related candidates are elected. Occasionally a candidate is nominated and elected by the Greens and the FDP. In their jurisprudence, however, the constitutional judges have seldom ruled along the political line of the parties they nominated. The other half of the constitutional judges are elected by the Federal Council with a two-thirds majority.
The federal judges at the highest federal courts, i.e. at the Federal Court of Justice , the Federal Administrative Court , the Federal Fiscal Court , the Federal Labor Court and the Federal Social Court , are elected by the competent federal minister together with a judge election committee made up of the respective competent ministers of the federal states and an equal number of members of the Bundestag is formed ( Abs. 2 GG).
Further optional functions
In addition to these central elections, the Bundestag appoints the President and Vice-President of the Federal Audit Office , the Defense Commissioner , the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information , the Federal Commissioner for Victims of the SED Dictatorship , two thirds of the members of the Joint Committee and half of the members of the Mediation Committee . Until its dissolution on June 17, 2021, the Bundestag also appointed the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi files .
Control of the executive branch
Another important task of the Bundestag is to control the executive .
Right to speak, right and obligation to be present
In addition to the members of the Bundestag, members of the Federal Government and the Bundesrat also have the right to speak in the Bundestag. They even need to be heard at all times. Members of the federal government, or at least their representatives, take part in most of the sessions of the Bundestag. Members of the Federal Council, on the other hand, are less common in plenary; they often only take part in meetings that are particularly concerned with the interests of the countries.
Conversely, the Bundestag has the right to quote : it can summon any member of the Federal Government at any time or demand that they remain in plenary or a committee during the negotiation. This possibility is used to control the government and to raise questions about current policy issues (see also Current Hour ).
An important instrument of control are the inquiries and inquiries that are open to the MPs. The opposition MPs in particular use it very often to obtain information on political questions and issues.
Small inquiries are written inquiries from 5% of the members of the Bundestag or a parliamentary group to the federal government. They are used to inform MPs about government activities in a specific area. The deadline for answering is usually two weeks; it can be extended if necessary. Small questions are answered in writing and are not discussed in plenary. The answers will be published in print. In the last 18th electoral term of the German Bundestag from 2013 to 2017 there were a total of 3953 small inquiries.
In contrast to small questions, large questions can be used to debate the answers in a separate agenda item in the plenary session. The response time is not specified, but is in fact usually several months. The answers are decided by the Federal Cabinet before they are sent to the German Bundestag and then also published as printed matter. These inquiries must also be made by 5% of the members of the Bundestag or a parliamentary group. There were a total of 15 major questions in the 18th Bundestag.
During Question Time , the individual members of the Bundestag can in principle put verbal questions to the Federal Government. Up to two questions per member of parliament must be submitted to the President of the German Bundestag by 10 a.m. on the previous Friday for each question time. After the answer from the representative of the Federal Government, the questioner can ask two additional questions, every other MP can ask one additional question. If there is not enough time to answer all questions, the questions will be answered in writing and published as an annex to the plenary minutes. A question will also be answered in writing if the person asking the question is not personally present in the plenary but explicitly asks for a written answer in advance. In the 18th Bundestag there were a total of 3,119 oral questions.
Inquiries from the plenary also take place after cabinet meetings; they are known as “government interviews”. In each case, a representative of the federal government provides information on a topic that was the subject of discussion in the previous cabinet meeting; Questions can be put to this representative. There were 65 government surveys in the 18th Bundestag.
Written questions can be asked by individual members of the Bundestag. Each member can ask the government up to four questions per month. Written questions must be answered within seven days of receipt by the Federal Chancellery. The written questions and the answers of the Federal Government are published weekly as printed matter. In the 18th Bundestag there were a total of 14,012 written questions.
Current hours are short debates with five-minute contributions that can be requested after or separately from Question Time . They are a relatively young element of Bundestag events - as such they have existed since 1980 - and with their special structure are intended to loosen up the culture of debate in the Bundestag. It should also make it possible to discuss very topical issues more quickly. They are either agreed in the Council of Elders or requested by 5% of the members of the Bundestag or a parliamentary group. 91 current hours were requested in the 18th Bundestag.
Agreed debates are debates on a specific, mostly topical political issue, without a government declaration or a submission being the subject of discussion. They have existed since the 10th electoral term on the basis of § 75 (1) GO-BT . Between 1990 and 2017 there were between 14 and 36 agreed debates per electoral term.
Committees of inquiry
At the request of a quarter of its members - including an opposing minority - the parliament sets up a committee of inquiry , which is supposed to publicly clarify an investigation topic defined in the request ( Basic Law). The Defense Committee can also declare itself to be a committee of inquiry ( (2) of the Basic Law). The work of the investigative committees is determined in more detail by the Investigative Committees Act (PUAG).
A committee of inquiry is often set up by the opposition to uncover suspected irregularities in the work of the government. The work of the committees of inquiry is often criticized that it serves to harm the political opponent rather than the truthful clarification of the object of investigation. Because a minority quorum of a quarter of the committee members have the same rights of motion and initiative as with the appointment decision, the majority of the committee, which is mostly close to the government, cannot block the investigation, so that a certain equality of arms is guaranteed. Since the majority of the committee can still control the detailed work within certain limits and also present the final report with the investigative evaluations, the investigative committee usually only finds grievances in the Federal Government in obvious cases. Since 1949 there have been more than 60 committees of inquiry .
The Defense Commissioner of the Bundestag ( GG) is an auxiliary body of the Bundestag without being allowed to be a member of it. Its task is to receive entries and complaints from members of the Bundeswehr that they can submit outside of the normal official channels. It should ensure that the soldiers' basic rights, which are restricted by the Basic Law, but cannot be denied, are preserved. In particular, he checks whether the principles of " inner guidance " are being adhered to. In this sense, it also represents the image of the Bundeswehr as a parliamentary army, i.e. an army whose deployment is determined and controlled by parliament.
Control of the intelligence services
The Bundestag controls the federal intelligence services , i.e. the Federal Intelligence Service , the Military Counter-Intelligence Service and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution . For these, there are initially the normal elements of parliamentary control of the executive such as debates, current hours , large and small inquiries and committees of inquiry . In addition, there are special organs and auxiliary organs:
The Parliamentary Control Committee (PKGr) consists of nine members of the Bundestag. They are also bound to secrecy vis-à-vis their Bundestag colleagues. A permanent authorized representative of the PKGr has supported the work of the supervisory body since 2017 . The office is held by Arne Schlatmann . The authorized representative can fall back on four presentations. The G 10 Commission monitors the interference of the intelligence services in the secrets of letters , mail and telecommunications guaranteed in Basic Law . The trust committee according to paragraph 2 BHO exercises budget control over the secret economic plans of the federal intelligence services. The MAD also falls under the control of the Armed Forces Commissioner. In addition, according to Article 13 Paragraph 6 of the Basic Law, there is a body to monitor the use of technical monitoring equipment in homes.
Authorization of operations by armed forces
However, the Constitutional Court sees a general parliamentary reservation on the “deployment of armed forces”, which is why the deployment must be approved by the Bundestag; this is known as the principle of the parliamentary army. At most, if there is imminent danger, the federal government can make a provisional decision, which has to be subsequently approved by parliament. Since then, every deployment of armed forces decided by the government has been dealt with in a two-reading procedure, analogous to the legislative procedure. The approval of the Bundesrat is not required for this decision. This is a simple parliamentary decision .
Prosecution from state organs
The Bundestag and Bundesrat can indict the Federal President for willful violation of the Constitution or a federal law before the Federal Constitutional Court in order to remove him from his office. This requires a two-thirds majority in the respective committee ( GG). Since the Federal President is elected by the Federal Assembly and the Federal Assembly cannot act again, the Bundestag and Bundesrat can each decide on the indictment for themselves.
The parliament, however, cannot indict a member of the federal government, since the government is partly directly, partly indirectly, but in any case completely dependent on parliament and can be removed by a vote of no confidence.
As such, members of the federal government do not enjoy any political immunity . If they are also MPs, the Bundestag must, however, lift their MP immunity before the Code of Criminal Procedure can apply.
The establishment of the state of defense, provided it can meet in time, is made by the Bundestag, otherwise by the Joint Committee , which consists of one third members of the Bundesrat and two thirds members of the Bundestag ( GG). The resolution requires a two-thirds majority in each case. If the state of defense has been decided and the Bundestag cannot meet, the Joint Committee assumes its rights and replaces the Bundestag and Bundesrat. However, if the Bundestag has a quorum, the Bundestag and Bundesrat discuss draft bills jointly in the case of urgent laws. The electoral term of the Bundestag is extended to six months after the end of the state of defense. The Bundestag can declare the state of defense ended at any time; it must do so if the conditions for its determination are no longer met.
Organization of the MPs
Most of the members of the Bundestag are members of a parliamentary group . A parliamentary group is usually formed by members of the same party. The CDU / CSU parliamentary group is a special case : Since the CDU competes in all countries except Bavaria and the CSU only competes there, the two parties are not in competition with each other and also have common goals - for this reason, the members of these two parties are allowed to have one to form a common group. A group is an association of parliamentarians from the same party, but they are too small to form a parliamentary group: A parliamentary group needs a number of members that is at least five percent of the total number of members of the Bundestag (currently 36); a group only needs 5 or 8 MPs, according to various sources. Accordingly, groups in the Bundestag have fewer rights than a parliamentary group; For example, they are not entitled to appoint a Bundestag Vice-President from among their number. Members of parliament whose party sends fewer members to the Bundestag or who have resigned from their parliamentary group or group are non-attached members . You have all the rights and obligations of a member of a parliamentary group or group, but not the rights of the parliamentary group or group itself. There are six parliamentary groups in the 20th German Bundestag (CDU / CSU, SPD, AfD, FDP, Die Linke, Bündnis 90 / Die Greens), no groups and two non-attached MPs represented since October 2021 - Stefan Seidler ( SSW ) and Matthias Helferich (left the AfD parliamentary group shortly after the election).
Each parliamentary group determines its own parliamentary committee; he has important tasks in coordinating the work of the parliamentary group and thus of the Bundestag as a whole. The members of the parliamentary group executive committee often have precisely defined areas of responsibility: They work closely with the committee members on their subject areas and try to intervene in favor of the group leadership. The individual MPs benefit from the parliamentary group, for example through the division of labor and support with their own goals, but also subordinate themselves to parliamentary group discipline . This fact aroused criticism in the past, since the MPs according to GG are only subject to their conscience and are not bound by orders and instructions. On the other hand, the reference to the chances of re-election in the event of non-submission to parliamentary group discipline does not appear to be an immediate coercion. It is also argued that an individual MP was only elected on the basis of his party membership, but not necessarily as an individual person, and therefore strong consideration for the party line is permissible.
The parliamentary executives have a special task in their daily work : These organizers, often referred to as "discipline masters", are among other things for agreeing the duration of the individual debates, for influencing their parliamentary groups at the Bundestag Presidium and for the presence of all members of their parliamentary group responsible for important or close coordination. You must also have a detailed understanding of the Rules of Procedure. The parliamentary groups as such receive funding from the Bundestag for their work. These funds are used, for example, for employees of the parliamentary group, but not for employees of individual parliamentary group members.
The Bundestag Presidium consists of the Bundestag President and his deputies. According to an unwritten rule, the president comes from the largest parliamentary group in the Bundestag, regardless of whether this group is a member of the governing coalition or the opposition. Since 1994, every parliamentary group has been entitled to one of the vice-presidents. The members of the Presidium take turns leading the Bundestag sessions; The President of the Bundestag actually chairs the meeting for the entire duration of the meeting only in the case of very important meetings.
The President of the Bundestag has domiciliary rights and police power in the Bundestag. He is the top line superior for the police at the German Bundestag , which is part of the Bundestag administration. He also makes the most important personnel decisions in the Bundestag administration. Formally, all letters from other constitutional organs and also bills from the Bundestag are addressed to him. He also represents the Bundestag externally and, because of the direct election of the Bundestag, takes second place behind the Federal President in terms of protocol.
Council of Elders
Although the elders do not necessarily have to include the oldest members of the house in terms of years of life or service, the members of the council of elders are always experienced parliamentarians. This is due to the fact that this body, which is at the side of the Bureau, plays an extremely important role in the running of the plenary session. Its tasks include determining which topic is to be included in the agenda, when and for how long. The council of elders also approves the basic plan of the meeting weeks. The council of elders offers the delegates space to criticize the chairperson of the meeting and to file and discuss complaints against regulatory measures. In addition to the Presidium of the Bundestag, the parliamentary managing directors often belong to the Council of Elders, whose party-political composition also corresponds to that of the Bundestag. The Federal Government is represented by an advisory member in the Council of Elders.
There is a Bundestag committee for every important subject. The committees consist of 15 to 42 members and reflect the composition of the political groups in plenary. The parliamentary groups appoint the committee members. Non-attached MPs are allowed to work in one committee each, but have no voting rights there. In their closed meetings, the committees prepare draft laws or discuss them in detail. But you can also hold public hearings and in this way find out about the opinions of extra-parliamentary experts on fundamental issues.
In addition to the task of dealing with the legislative requirements in a reasonable time, which would be impossible if all the details were discussed in the Bundestag plenum, the committees also have the task of building up competence centers for the individual specialist areas with the experts appointed from the individual parliamentary groups, from which the greater part of the respective parliamentary group who does not have outstanding knowledge in the subject area concerned can obtain factual information.
Parallel to the committees, the parliamentary groups have each formed different working groups in which the party political and internal parliamentary lines are prepared for the deliberations in the committees and for the plenary sessions.
The budget and legal committees have important special rights : They work on almost every draft law, as budgetary and general legal aspects almost always have to be taken into account. The Defense Committee can - unlike any other committee - declare itself to be a committee of inquiry . The committee for EU affairs also has an important special position: according to Basic Law, this body can exercise rights of the Bundestag vis-à-vis the federal government. The Foreign Affairs Committee , the EU , Defense and Petitions Committee are prescribed by the Basic Law. The number and strength of the other committees are determined at the beginning of the legislative period.
The chairmanships of the committees are also distributed in a mirror-inverted manner according to the relationship between the parliamentary groups. Traditionally, the opposition chairs the budget committee .
The Bundestag can set up study commissions to discuss important and interdisciplinary social developments, which are supposed to prepare the legislature for dealing with these new trends. For example, the Enquete Commission "Ethics and Law of Modern Medicine", which deals with the legislative support of DNA tests , pre-implantation diagnostics , genetic engineering , cloning and other biological and biotechnological innovations.
Regulatory measures of the presidium
The Presidium can, if it deems it necessary, refer a member to the matter or call him to order; this is regulated by Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag . On the third referral to the matter or on the third call to order, the Presidium must cut off the speaker. If a member of the Bundestag "grossly" violates the order of the house, he can be expelled. He may then no longer take part in the sessions of the Bundestag and its committees; corresponding absenteeism will not be reimbursed. An objection can be lodged against the exclusion. In 1949 Kurt Schumacher was initially excluded for twenty days of meetings because he had referred to Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer as "Federal Chancellor of the Allies". This disciplinary measure was lifted shortly afterwards after an arbitration between Schumacher and Adenauer.the
Work of the members of the Bundestag
The work of the members of the Bundestag must be divided into two profiles: The work during the session weeks differs significantly from the work outside of this time. As a rule, two weeks of meetings and two weeks without meetings alternate; However, there are always interruptions in this rhythm, if only due to public holidays.
Work during the session week
For some MPs, work in the session week starts on Monday. After the committees of the parties meet in the morning (presidium and then the executive committee), the parliamentary groups meet in the afternoon . The executive parliamentary groups meet first, followed by the extended parliamentary group boards. In addition, a number of important parliamentary groups ' sub-bodies also meet and prepare for the week' s committee and plenary sessions. Most of the parliamentary groups' national groups meet on Monday evenings in order to prepare for the parliamentary group meeting on the following day.
All MPs must be present by Tuesday morning at the latest, because then the individual committee working groups of the political groups usually meet. In the afternoon, the group meetings usually take place at 3 p.m. Committee meetings are held on Wednesday morning. Question time or the current hour in plenary will follow from late noon. The plenary discussions are on the program on Thursdays and Fridays. Concentrating on the last two working days of the week gives the committees the opportunity to meet before the plenary sessions, and an overlap between committee and plenary sessions can be avoided.
The week of the session usually ends on Friday afternoon so that the MPs can return to their constituencies. This working week scheme is not always strictly adhered to. In reality, it is difficult to avoid the overlap between committee and plenary meetings.
A member of parliament is busy during the week of sittings usually eight to fifteen hours a day with various activities. Among other things, the members of parliament have to look through the mail and newspapers, the parliamentary group, working group, committee and plenary meetings, which often last several hours and can overlap, interview requests, visitor groups from their constituency, the preparation of speeches and the drafting take care of bills. For this reason there are often only a few dozen members in the plenary. Usually these are the experts on the topic just discussed.
In autumn 2019 there was a public discussion about the workload of members of the Bundestag after two members of the Bundestag had suffered a weakness in the Bundestag plenary. MPs showed, inter alia. on chronic lack of sleep, at work meetings “until four in the morning” and the media pressure on MPs. It is about working conditions in order to "have a good rest and concentrate on doing good politics".
Work outside of the session weeks
Outside the session weeks, in addition to preparing for the session weeks, there are also important appointments in the constituency: many members of the Bundestag offer citizens' consultation hours, take part in local events and maintain a large number of contacts at local, regional, German and European level. In addition, some MPs also have their own jobs at times, which they can only do in the weeks when there are no meetings.
Immunity, indemnity and the right to refuse to testify
According to liable under criminal or service law for any utterance or vote that he or she has made in the Bundestag or in one of its committees, during or after his time in the Bundestag . This does not apply to defamatory insults. The President of the Bundestag can, however, issue reprimands and even exclude members of the Bundestag from the session.Basic Law, no member of the Bundestag can be held
On the other hand, no member of the Bundestag may be arrested or held accountable for a criminal offense without their consent . This does not apply if while committing the offense, so " red-handed ", or in the course of the following day arrested is. The approval of the Bundestag is also required to initiate a procedure for the withdrawal of fundamental rights under Basic Law. Furthermore, every investigation and also a procedure for the withdrawal of fundamental rights must be suspended by order of the Bundestag.
These regulations serve to protect the independence of parliament, not to protect individual members of parliament. They have historical reasons: at the beginning of parliamentarism , the executive often tried to withdraw unpleasant MPs from their mandate under a pretext; involvement in alleged or actually committed crimes was a popular means of doing this. The in-flagrant rule was created accordingly, because within one day a crime that had not actually taken place is very difficult to construct. Today the regulation is mostly seen as anachronistic . At the beginning of the legislative period, the Bundestag regularly lifts immunity, for example for traffic offenses .
According to the right to refuse to testify, MPs do not have to testify about conversations with people if they have conducted these conversations in their capacity as MPs. The right to refuse to testify also prohibits the seizure of documents if they contain information about the conversations. This protection for the informants is intended to enable the MPs to exercise their control function.
Supervision of MPs
Several small inquiries from Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and the left-wing parliamentary group asked the federal government to provide information on whether members of the Bundestag were being observed by federal intelligence services. The response of the federal government stated that there was “no special privileged treatment” for MPs. In principle, therefore, the collection, storage and forwarding of information about members of the Bundestag by federal intelligence services - also with the help of intelligence measures - is legal, unless the "intra-parliamentary status rights" of the members are reduced as a result. The parliamentary opposition heavily criticized this practice. Max Stadler , FDP interior expert and member of the parliamentary control committee, described the government's response as "unacceptable" and called on the government to end the surveillance of members of the Bundestag as soon as possible.
Work of the Bundestag
Rules of Procedure
The main provisions for the work of the Bundestag are anchored in the rules of procedure . It has to be resolved anew at the beginning of each legislative period. As a rule, the rules of procedure of the previous legislative period are adopted with slight adjustments. The rules of procedure contain important provisions as appendices, such as the “Rules of Conduct for Members of the German Bundestag” or the “ Security Regulations ”, which are just as binding for members of the Bundestag as the Rules of Procedure. The rules of procedure can be changed with a simple majority; deviations from them can be made if two thirds of the members present agree.
The seating arrangement of the parties in the Bundestag is roughly based on the classification in the Political Spectrum and is shown in Political Spectrum # German Bundestag . Within the party blocks, the seat of the individual MP is based on different criteria. In the Union faction, the places are initially divided into regional associations. The question of whether the MP sits further in front or in the back depends on the seniority . The SPD and FDP originally determined the distribution of seats in alphabetical order. Since the third electoral term (FDP) and the seventh electoral term (SPD), the lottery system has been used instead.
As a rule, motions and bills are debated in the Bundestag before they are discussed in the committees and before the vote in the plenary session. The incumbent President leads the debates in the German Bundestag, which are sometimes quite emotional.
The political groups usually agree in advance on the total duration for each item on the agenda. The allocation of speaking time to the individual parliamentary groups is based on a fixed key which is based on the strength of the parliamentary groups.
Heckling are the order of the day and are intended to upset the speaker. Comments directed against one's own parliamentary group are often answered with outraged verbal protest or with malicious laughter. If the speaker allows it, interim questions can also be put to him. The questioner registers his question at the push of a button. When called, he stands up to ask his question. The questioner has to stand until his question has been answered. The political opponent is only applauded in exceptional cases, while the applause is compulsory for speakers from one's own parliamentary group. From malicious “laughter” - also in the shorthand protocol - a distinction must be made between “cheerfulness”, which is rather positively documented: It can happen that the comment of a member of the governing coalition in his parliamentary groups “cheerfulness”, while with the opposition, however, “laughter” evokes.
The debates will be broadcast live on the parliamentary television of the German Bundestag as well as on the television station Phoenix . The audio signal can also be overheard by calling 030 227-20018 .
Most of the votes in the German Bundestag take place by show of hands. In the final vote, however, the vote is to get up and sit down. If the meeting committee disagrees on a majority, the " mutton jump " is ordered. All MPs leave the chamber and return to the plenary chamber through three doors that can be identified with “yes”, “no” or “abstention”, while the votes are counted. The Presidium votes publicly. If a secret ballot is required by law, the ballot will only be used for this case. Each member of the Bundestag receives a voting slip upon presentation of their voting card, which they have to fill out in a voting booth. Then he throws the covered ballot into the ballot box. There is no electronic voting system in the German Bundestag. According to the MEPs' self-image, votes should be conscious actions that cannot be replaced by the mere pressing of buttons.
At the request of a parliamentary group or at least 5% of the MPs, a question is voted on by name. Each member of the Bundestag uses voting cards collected in urns to determine how he voted. The vote is recorded in the shorthand record. This type of voting is intended - especially in the case of controversial issues - to force every member of parliament to present their decision publicly. It also serves to expose the political opponent, because on factual issues, MPs who deviate from the group's opinion either have to vote against their personal convictions in a way that conforms to the faction and can thus appear untrustworthy, or instead represent their own point of view and thus demonstrate their party's disagreement on the content. For some time now, the results of such votes have also been published on the Internet .
In addition to parliamentary debates, the work of the German Bundestag also includes hours of remembrance on special occasions. Examples are the annual memorial hour on the day of commemoration of the victims of National Socialism and the memorial hour on the day of national mourning .
Budget of the German Bundestag
The budget of the German Bundestag envisaged in the 2014 federal budget comprises EUR 726.0 million. The largest share of this, at EUR 169.0 million (around 23%), is attributable to “expenses for the employment of employees according to Section 12 Paragraph 3 of the Deputies Act ”, that is to say money that the members of the Bundestag employ for to fulfill their needs staff necessary for parliamentary tasks against proof. The second and third largest shares are accounted for by the cash payments to the parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag (80.2 million euros or 11%) and the remuneration for the employees of the Bundestag itself (73.7 million euros or 10%) .
In fourth place comes the parliamentary allowance amounting to 61.5 million euros (corresponds to 8.5% of the budget). The parliamentary allowance is taxable. In addition, there is a tax-free lump sum as well as the reimbursement of costs for travel related to the exercise of the mandate. After leaving the Bundestag, MPs are entitled to a transitional allowance and a pension, which is paid from the age of 67. The 2014 budget has earmarked 39.9 million euros for this.
Administration of the German Bundestag
Half of the 7,000 employees in the German Bundestag belong to the Bundestag administration. They support the MPs, ensure that parliament runs smoothly, and provide the infrastructure and logistics for parliament. The Bundestag administration is the highest federal authority and is therefore on the same level as the ministries of the federal government and other highest federal authorities. It is divided into four departments and is headed by the director of the German Bundestag , who holds the post of State Secretary in grade B11. Lorenz Müller has been the director of the German Bundestag since August 1, 2020 .
The Bundestag administration is structured as follows:
Parliament and MEPs Department (P)
Department P is structured as follows:
- Parliamentary Services Subdivision (PD)
- 3 presentations
- 1 secretariat
- Mandate Services Sub- Department (PM)
- 4 presentations
- Subdivision Committees (PA)
- 28 secretariats
- Subdivision Europe (PE)
- 4 presentations
- 1 secretariat
- 1 department
During the plenary sessions, the parliamentary stenographers write down the full text of the debate, including the heckling and voting results. Supportive and visible in plenary the dark blue by her are Frack easily recognizable ushers . The members of the Bundestag can employ their own staff from the Bundestag funds. A separate department looks after the members of parliament and advises members of parliament in the event of labor law difficulties. The work of the Bundestag committees is supported by secretariats that are part of the Bundestag administration.
Science and External Relations Department (W)
The department consists of three sub-departments:
Scientific Services (WD)
- 10 departments: The departments prepare reports and provide “active information” that they have written themselves, in line with forward-looking policy advice. During a legislative period, several thousand inquiries are made to the scientific departments and the information services mentioned above.
International Relations (BISE)
- 4 presentations
- Petitions and Submissions (Pet)
Information and Documentation Department (I)
On May 1, 2006, the scientific information services were separated from the departments.
- Library and Documentation Department (ID)
- The library department (ID 1) also offers members of parliament an excellent prerequisite for obtaining information thanks to systematic networking with other libraries in the ministries and in Berlin, as well as through the use of databases that are subject to a charge. With 1.2 million volumes, including a total of 11,000 periodicals (scientific journals), it is one of the Bundestag's most important scientific aid organizations.
- The Parliamentary Archives Section (ID 2) keeps all plenary minutes and printed matter, and in particular the minutes of the committees and other Bundestag bodies, ready for scientific use. The Official Handbook of the German Bundestag and the data handbook on the history of the German Bundestag are also published there.
- The Parliamentary Documentation Unit (ID 3) provides the official printed matter and plenary minutes in digital form. These documents can be viewed free of charge on the Internet since the 13th electoral term. Another task is the content processing of the DIP (Documentation and Information System for Parliamentary Processes), in which all legislative proposals introduced in the Bundestag and Bundesrat and their parliamentary treatment are listed.
- The Bundestag's press documentation department (ID 4) evaluates newspapers daily for topics relevant to the Bundestag, keeps them ready for use in the house and answers inquiries from the parliamentary offices, parliamentary groups and administration.
- Information and Public Relations Department (IO)
- Visitor Service Unit (IO 1)
- The public relations department (IO 2) is maintained by the Bundestag for citizens and for educational institutions. It is not only responsible for visiting events in the Bundestag with guided tours or visits to plenary sessions, but also for the provision of extensive information material. There are regional trade fair stands and traveling exhibitions. In addition, the Bundestag has an information vehicle that regularly travels the entire Federal Republic of Germany (not just large cities). The infomobile is equipped with modern technology such as a large screen monitor and internet access in the presentation room. A meeting room is also available in the vehicle for other events. The respective locations of the Infomobile can be found on the website of the German Bundestag.
- Unit event management, special projects (IO 3)
- Art Department in the German Bundestag (IO 4)
Information technology (IT)
- 5 presentations
Central Department (Z)
The central department represents the administrative and technical-organizational backbone of the Bundestag administration. It ensures the provision of the human, material and financial resources that are necessary to carry out parliamentary operations. Subdivisions are:
Central Administration (ZV)
- 5 presentations
- Medical Services
- Unit police security tasks (ZR 3): German Parliament Police
- 3 further presentations
- Official data protection officer
Technology and operation (ZT)
- 6 presentations
- Occupational safety and fire protection
Online services and parliamentary television
The online services and parliamentary television form unit IK 6. It is subordinate to the sub-department IK, information and communication . The German Bundestag offers the public a wide range of information and documentation on the Internet. He runs a total of three websites for different target groups. The main page of the Bundestag www.bundestag.de contains, among other things, editorial reporting on parliamentary work, full documentation of parliamentary operations and information on the members of the Bundestag including their secondary activities. The mitmischen.de and kuppelkucker .de websites are aimed at young people and children with content specially prepared for these target groups. For mobile users, the Bundestag also offers its information via free apps for iOS and Android.
The parliamentary television is the television channel of the Bundestag. All plenary debates as well as public meetings and committee hearings are broadcast live, without comment and in full. Parliamentary television can be received via live stream on the Bundestag website and via apps for smartphones, tablets and various smart TV providers. All plenary debates, individual speeches and contributions from parliamentary television can be accessed in the media library. The speeches in the plenary can also be accessed live as an audio stream via the Alexa voice box, as can the current agenda, reports on the plenary, voting results and the Basic Law.
The German Bundestag is spread over several properties in the Mitte district of Berlin . The space required by the Bundestag is increasing. In contrast to all Federal Ministries , the Office of the Federal President , the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Council , it does not have an official seat in the Federal City of Bonn .
The properties of the German Bundestag in Berlin:
- Plenary area of the Reichstag building (Platz der Republik 1; main address of the German Bundestag)
- Former Reichstag presidential palace (Friedrich-Ebert-Platz 2; seat of the German Parliamentary Society )
- Building Bunsenstrasse 2
- Deutscher Dom (Am Gendarmenmarkt 1; since 2002 it has housed the exhibition Paths, Irrwege, Detours. The Development of Parliamentary Democracy in Germany )
- Helene Weber House (Dorotheenstrasse 88)
- Jakob-Kaiser-Haus (Dorotheenstrasse 100–101)
- Day care center (Otto-von Bismarck-Allee 2)
- Building Luisenstrasse 17
- Building Luisenstrasse 35
- Building Luisenstrasse 32–34
- Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus (Adele-Schreiber-Krieger-Strasse 1)
- Building Neustädtische Kirchstrasse 14
- Building Neustädtische Kirchstrasse 15
- Paul-Löbe-Haus (Konrad-Adenauer-Straße 1; 21 meeting rooms, offices, visitor and parliamentary restaurant)
- Schadow House (Schadowstrasse 10-11)
- Building Schadowstrasse 12–13
- Building Schiffbauerdamm 17
- Otto Wels House (Unter den Linden 50)
- Elisabeth Selbert House (Unter den Linden 62–68)
- Matthias Erzberger House (Unter den Linden 71)
- Building Unter den Linden 74
- Building Wilhelmstrasse 60
- Building Wilhelmstrasse 64
- Building Wilhelmstrasse 65
- Building Alt-Moabit 101
Forerunner before 1866
The origin of the word “-tag” corresponds to that of the state parliament : historically, people were together for a day to negotiate all common matters. As in many other countries, however, a parliamentary tradition only slowly emerged in Germany. The first German parliaments existed in southern Germany at the beginning of the 19th century. The German Confederation, however, had only the Bundestag as the only and common body .
The first parliament for all of Germany was the Frankfurt National Assembly , elected after a resolution of the Bundestag in the March Revolution in 1848. The member states let them be elected according to universal suffrage (for men). The National Assembly appointed a provisional government one, issued imperial laws and drafted a constitution that Frankfurt constitution of 28 March 1849th
The constitution provided for a constitutional monarchy, a federal state (initially) for the areas that were eventually called " Little Germany ". The parliament should be a Reichstag, which consisted of two chambers: a people's house directly elected by the people and a house of states that was elected by the parliaments and governments of the member states. The larger states like Prussia put down the revolution in the spring of 1849 and forbade membership in the National Assembly.
In the discussions about federal reform, the demand for a parliament next to the Bundestag was repeatedly made. At most, Austria wanted to allow a meeting of members of the state parliaments. Prussia, on the other hand, finally accepted the demand: a directly elected parliament would have had its own population strength. Parliament was one of Prussia's main arguments in the development that led to the German War in 1866 .
Development in the German federal state since 1867
After the dissolution of the German Confederation , the North German Confederation came under Prussian rule. A constituent Reichstag ( February to April 1867 ), elected on the model of the Frankfurt Reich Election Act of 1849, agreed a constitution with the governments. In August , the parliament of the new federal state, which was also called the Reichstag, was elected for the first time. The name Reichstag referred to the old Reichstag and the Frankfurt constitution of 1849.
The five-party system came into being during the time of the North German Confederation and was maintained until the Weimar Republic. With the accession of the southern German states in 1870/1871, the entire state was renamed the German Empire ; the political system itself did not change.
The Reichstag of the North German Confederation or the Empire was a unicameral parliament. It came about through the general election of North German and German men. Laws could only be passed with the consent of the Reichstag. The Reichstag also had the right of initiative, i.e. the right to propose draft laws. However, both also applied to the Federal Council of the member states. The Imperial Chancellor , the only minister responsible, was appointed by the Kaiser . It was only after the October reforms of 1918 that the Reich Chancellor needed the Reichstag's confidence in the constitution.
The Weimar National Assembly of 1919 worked out the republican Weimar Constitution after the November Revolution of 1918 . After it came into force, the National Assembly initially functioned as a parliament, until it was finally replaced by a newly elected Reichstag on June 6, 1920 . In 1918/1919 the empire's majority suffrage was replaced by proportional representation and women's suffrage was introduced.
During the Weimar period, the constitutional power of the Reichstag was repeatedly restricted: on the one hand by enabling laws in favor of the government, on the other hand by so-called emergency ordinances of the Reich President . The Enabling Act of March 24, 1933 gave Adolf Hitler's government a blanket power of attorney to simply enact laws itself. The Reichstag thus lost its importance. Since July there has only been one National Socialist parliamentary group. On November 12, 1933, the Reichstag was re-elected undemocratically .
After the unconditional surrender at the end of the Second World War , a period without parliament arose at the federal level, as the Germans no longer had sovereign rights . As the East-West conflict progressed , the three western allies, the United States of America , the United Kingdom and France , saw the need to establish a West German state.
The Parliamentary Council in Bonn began its work on September 1, 1948 : Its task was to create a (provisional) Basic Law for West Germany. The hope for an early reunification of the three western and the Soviet occupation zones fell apart. The Basic Law was promulgated on May 23, 1949, and it came into force the following day. On October 7th, the previous eastern zone became the German Democratic Republic .
The establishment of a “People's Day”, this designation was changed relatively late to “Bundestag”, with far-reaching powers, was little controversial in the Parliamentary Council compared to the structure of the later Bundesrat . The rights and duties discussed are also essentially the same as those that the Bundestag actually holds today.
First Bundestag (1949–1953)
The first German Bundestag , which was elected on August 14, 1949, met for the first time on September 7, 1949 in Bonn. The Federal Council met for the first time before him . The two legislative state organs were thus constituted. The first session was chaired by senior president Paul Löbe until Erich Köhler was elected first president of the Bundestag . On September 12th, Theodor Heuss was elected first Federal President by the Federal Assembly , and three days later Konrad Adenauer was elected first Federal Chancellor by the Bundestag. After Bundestag President Köhler lost support, including his own parliamentary group, Hermann Ehlers was elected second President of the Bundestag in 1950 .
The first Bundestag had the difficult task of using legal measures to keep the consequences of war and displacement within tolerable limits. He also had to set the legal framework for economic growth and the reconstruction of the infrastructure . Important laws were those on the equalization of burdens , but also the ratification of the important foreign policy treaty on the European Coal and Steel Community (Montanunion). In addition, there were resolutions on the Works Constitution Act , the Housing Act and the Cartel Act , which contributed to the emergence of the economic miracle . The reparation agreements that the Federal Government concluded with the State of Israel also required the approval of the Bundestag. There was already a scandal in November 1949 when the SPD parliamentary group leader Kurt Schumacher described Chancellor Adenauer as “Chancellor of the Allies” and was temporarily excluded from the sessions of the Bundestag. On June 15, 1950, the Bundestag decided with the votes of the coalition factions that the Federal Republic of Germany would join the Council of Europe. The Federal Republic received full membership on May 2, 1951.
Second Bundestag (1953–1957)
The second Bundestag was elected on September 6, 1953. At his first meeting, which was initially chaired by Marie-Elisabeth Lüders , President of the Bundestag , Hermann Ehlers was re-elected President of the Bundestag. The election of the Federal Chancellor fell on Konrad Adenauer for the second time . In 1954 the re-election of Theodor Heuss as Federal President was undisputed. After the sudden death of Bundestag President Hermann Ehlers in 1954, Eugen Gerstenmaier was his successor. When he was elected on November 16, there was a case, which was unique in the Bundestag, in which two parliamentary group colleagues ran against each other for the office of President of the Bundestag : Against the official CDU / CSU candidate Gerstenmaier, who was too "close to the church" for many members of the government coalition Ernst Lemmer proposed by FDP MP Hans Reif and only lost in the third ballot with a difference of only 14 votes.
The second Bundestag also had to fight for the consolidation of the German state. Even if the economic miracle made many clear improvements possible, the essential decisions required the approval of the Bundestag. In his legislature fell the pension reform to the dynamic pension, the approval of the Treaty of Rome and the ultimately failing European Defense Community . The fact that the Federal Republic became largely sovereign again in 1955 and thus became more capable of acting in foreign policy, expanded the tasks of the Bundestag. After all, the rearmament and the establishment of the Bundeswehr when joining NATO were an important development that he had to legislate for. This also includes the first major reconstruction of the Basic Law with the addition of a military constitution . These changes took place against the strong resistance of the SPD opposition. With the accession of the Saarland , the number of members of the Bundestag increased by ten from January 4, 1957.
1st reading of the Paris Treaties ,
Konrad Adenauer ,
Erich Ollenhauer ,
Kurt Georg Kiesinger ,
Fritz Erler ,
Third Bundestag (1957–1961)
The third Bundestag was elected on September 15, 1957. At its first meeting, which was initially chaired by Marie-Elisabeth Lüders , President of the Age , elected Eugen Gerstenmaier again as President of the Bundestag and Konrad Adenauer again as Chancellor. When the German Federal President was elected in 1959 , after Adenauer's withdrawal, the CDU politician Heinrich Lübke was chosen, who thus became the second Federal President.
The legislative period initially passed without any major peculiarities. In 1959, however, the SPD announced the Godesberg Program , with which it turned away from a class struggle party towards a social democratic people 's party . In 1960, the SPD MP Herbert Wehner declared that the SPD would henceforth support the ties to the West and the integration into the Western European treaty systems. The construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 took place in the middle of the election campaign.
Fourth Bundestag (1961–1965)
At the constituent session of the fourth Bundestag elected on September 17, 1961 , which was chaired by Robert Pferdmenges as senior president, Eugen Gerstenmaier was again elected President of the Bundestag and Konrad Adenauer was elected Chancellor for the fourth time. After Adenauer's resignation in 1963, Ludwig Erhard became the new Federal Chancellor against the determined opposition of his predecessor. The election of the German Federal President in 1964 was less problematic: Heinrich Lübke was even re-elected with the support of the SPD.
Important legislative decisions were made in the fourth legislative period: the treaty on Franco-German friendship was signed by Adenauer in early 1963 and ratified in the Bundestag. However, Social Democrats, Free Democrats and also many Christian Democrats made sure that it was preceded by a preamble that referred to the obligations towards other Western countries. The Spiegel affair in 1962 marked the beginning of the end of the Adenauer era: Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss had to resign, Adenauer was ailing. In the course of the affair, all FDP ministers resigned. Adenauer had to win the re-entry of the FDP into the government by promising to resign in 1963.
Erhard's style as Chancellor was more conciliatory and compliant than Adenauer's, so he allowed more discussions in the cabinet. An important debate, which today is counted among the great moments of parliament, was the debate on the statute of limitations on murders during the National Socialist era ; those who demanded a de facto extension of the limitation periods prevailed. The emerging policy of détente towards the east was also an issue in the fourth Bundestag.
Fifth Bundestag (1965–1969)
The term of office of the fifth Bundestag, which began after the election on September 19, 1965 , was marked by the end of Ludwig Erhard's chancellorship and the grand coalition under Kurt Georg Kiesinger . At the constituent meeting, which was chaired by senior president Konrad Adenauer , Eugen Gerstenmaier was re-elected President of the Bundestag. After Erhard's resignation in 1966, Kiesinger was elected third Chancellor of the Federal Republic. For the first time, the SPD assumed government responsibility with Vice Chancellor Willy Brandt . The election of Gustav Heinemann as Federal President in 1969 gave an indication of the social-liberal coalition from 1969.
The strong recession at the time led to a government crisis, in the course of which the FDP ministers resigned in October 1966 and Ludwig Erhard resigned in favor of Kurt Georg Kiesinger after the CDU / CSU and SPD had agreed on a grand coalition. In this way, the balance of roughly equal strength between the government coalition and the opposition was undermined: More than 400 members of the Union and SPD were opposed to just over 50 members of the FDP. Although the government factions also increasingly took a more critical stance towards the federal government, an extra-parliamentary opposition (APO) arose , which was fed by the protest against the grand coalition. The most important topic of the grand coalition was the passing of the emergency laws and with it the second major amendment to the Basic Law. The APO protested in particular against the alleged possibility of a coup d'état by the joint committee and the federal government , but also opposed the concealment of the involvement of the parents' generation in National Socialism and found in the former NSDAP member and now Federal Chancellor Kiesinger an effective target. The APO, which is mostly politically to the left of the SPD, also protested against the Vietnam War and capitalism . The discussion about the introduction of majority voting , which initially seemed very likely and would have cost the FDP its existence in favor of a two-party system, was suffocated by resistance within the SPD. Other important topics were the legal equality of illegitimate children and the Stability Act , which set the economic benchmarks for the policy of the federal government. The financial constitution was also reformed. The détente towards the Eastern bloc began, but was repeatedly interrupted by setbacks.
Sixth Bundestag (1969–1972)
The sixth Bundestag elected on September 28, 1969, was a Bundestag for the first time under constitutional law: For the first time, a constructive vote of no confidence and the Federal Chancellor's vote of confidence were put, and the Bundestag was dissolved for the first time. The beginning of the legislative period was already marked by upheavals: the SPD and FDP formed a coalition for the first time, and the Union was pushed into the opposition for the first time. Age President William Borm was still presiding over the election of CDU politician Kai-Uwe von Hassel as President of the Bundestag, but afterwards, Willy Brandt , a Social Democrat, was elected to the Chancellery for the first time.
Domestically, the beginning of the Brandt government was marked by eliminating the remainder of the Adenauer era, which the rulers described as “bad”. According to Brandt's government declaration, the new social-liberal government wanted to “dare more democracy” in state and society, liberalize criminal law , including by decriminalizing homosexuality and blasphemy , giving financially weaker people more opportunities in educational policy , expanding the welfare state and protecting the environment tackle. The most important innovation, however, was a completely new concept in foreign policy: the so-called New Ostpolitik . Willy Brandt managed, against fierce opposition from the conservative opposition, to conclude treaties with the Soviet Union , with Poland and with Czechoslovakia and also to put relations with the GDR on a new basis.
Some members of the government factions left the coalition in protest against the New Ostpolitik and joined the opposition from the CDU and CSU. On April 27, 1972, Chancellor Willy Brandt tried to replace Chancellor Willy Brandt with her parliamentary group leader, Rainer Barzel , by means of a constructive vote of no confidence . However, due to a vote that was bought (according to rumors later proven), Barzel narrowly lost the vote of no confidence. Finally, the federal government and the opposition agreed on a compromise; the Bundestag passed the Eastern Treaties . Nevertheless, there was still a stalemate between the coalition and the opposition, so that Brandt asked the vote of confidence on September 22, 1972 and, as expected, lost. Just one day later, Federal President Gustav Heinemann dissolved the Bundestag and announced new elections.
Seventh Bundestag (1972–1976)
The constituent session of the 7th Bundestag elected on November 19, 1972 after the 1972 Bundestag election was chaired by the senior president Ludwig Erhard . With Annemarie Renger , for the first time a woman and for the first time a Social Democrat was elected to the office of President of the Bundestag . Willy Brandt was re-elected as Federal Chancellor. His resignation due to the espionage affair surrounding Günter Guillaume in 1974 led to the election of Helmut Schmidt as Federal Chancellor. A few weeks later, Walter Scheel of the Federal Assembly for the fourth President elected.
In terms of foreign policy, the basic treaty with the GDR, which included the establishment of permanent representations , played just as important a role as the accession of the two German states to the United Nations . Both treaties had to be ratified by the Bundestag. Overall, however, there were indications that the Union, too, was increasingly less hostile to the social-liberal government's Ostpolitik. Domestically, however, there was a major controversy between the two camps in the discussion about paragraph 218 of abortion in the penal code and the reform of divorce law . However, the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) was passed without any fundamental discussion . The terrorist , who at the Olympic Games had already shown his face in Munich in 1972, played a more important role, in particular by the rise of the Baader-Meinhof group and later the RAF . But the 1973 oil crisis also had a major impact on politics; environmental policy came increasingly to the fore.
Eighth Bundestag (1976–1980)
The eighth Bundestag, which was elected on October 3, 1976 , was opened by senior president Ludwig Erhard , then Karl Carstens was elected sixth Bundestag President. After the election of the German Federal President in 1979, he became the fifth Federal President, Richard Stücklen succeeded him as President of the Bundestag.
The legislative period of the eighth Bundestag fell in difficult times both internally and externally. While the RAF's terror raged in 1977 with the murder of Hanns Martin Schleyer and the hijacking of the Lufthansa plane “Landshut” to Mogadishu , the federal government and with it the Bundestag went legislatively “to the brink of what is constitutionally possible”. For example, an urgent law imposed a contact ban on the RAF terrorists incarcerated in Stuttgart-Stammheim , who were therefore not allowed to communicate with their lawyers . In foreign policy, the invasion of the worried Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the NATO double-track decision for a revival of the peace movement .
On June 12, 1978 the CDU member of the Bundestag Herbert Gruhl resigned due to irreconcilable differences between party and parliamentary group and one day later founded the Green Action Future (GAZ) . This took part in the founding of the Greens at the beginning of 1980 , whereby Gruhl represented them with a member of the Bundestag. Gruhl, who sat in the Bundestag until the end of 1980, and the GAZ, as a conservative wing of the party, withdrew from the party that same year and two years later helped found the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP, later Ödp) , its first chairman Gruhl was.
Ninth Bundestag (1980-1983)
The ninth Bundestag, elected on October 5, 1980 , saw two questions of confidence and a constructive vote of no confidence and was finally dissolved in early 1983. Richard Stücklen was re-elected President of the Bundestag at the constituent meeting chaired by the senior president Herbert Wehner . At the beginning of 1982, Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt asked a positive question of confidence. Nevertheless, his government came to an end in October 1982: Schmidt was replaced by a constructive vote of no confidence by the CDU / CSU and his former coalition partner FDP through the election of Helmut Kohl as Federal Chancellor. The latter put the vote of confidence in December 1982 and deliberately lost. Despite serious constitutional concerns, Federal President Carstens finally dissolved the Bundestag.
The aftermath of NATO's double decision caused tensions within the SPD, tensions over the federal budget and the welfare state within the coalition: the government finally failed in the summer of 1982, the FDP changed coalition amid serious internal party disputes and became a partner in a Christian-liberal government . After a few programs designated as "urgent" had been channeled through the Bundestag, the Bundestag ended even after the Federal President's decision to dissolve it, which was not undisputed under constitutional law.
Tenth Bundestag (1983–1987)
The tenth Bundestag elected on March 6, 1983 , into which a new political force moved in with the Greens for the first time in decades, was opened by the senior president Willy Brandt. Subsequently, Rainer Barzel was elected seventh President of the Bundestag and Helmut Kohl was re-elected Chancellor. When the German Federal President was elected in 1984 , Richard von Weizsäcker was elected the sixth Federal President. In the same year Barzel resigned as President of the Bundestag because of his involvement in the Flick affair , his successor was Philipp Jenninger .
During the first half of their term in office, the policy of the Kohl Federal Government and the majority in the Bundestag that supported it was shaped by the attempt to get a grip on unemployment , which was already relatively high at the time. Various laws were passed by the Bundestag to improve the country's economic situation. The Flick affair led to the establishment of a committee of inquiry . The 40th anniversary of the end of the war on May 8, 1985 heated the discussion about how to deal with the Second World War.
In 1986, the Parliament moved to the neighboring building of the former water mill around and met there until 1992. In the meantime, the building complex of the Federal Palace , the old auditorium, the dilapidated former gymnasium building, demolished and then replaced by a new building. The first meeting of the House in the premises of the converted waterworks took place on September 9, 1986. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster fueled the debate on better environmental legislation . The census planned for 1983 failed because of the census ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court . In terms of foreign policy, the Federal Government and the Bundestag stuck to a tough course: the NATO double resolution was implemented. Nevertheless, the policy of détente with the GDR was pushed forward. The famous sentence of the Greens politician Joschka Fischer , addressed to Bundestag Vice-President Richard Stücklen, also falls during this legislative period : “ With all due respect, Mr. President, you are an asshole. “(Stücklen had previously expelled the Green MPs Jürgen Reents and Fischer himself from the Bundestag.)
Eleventh Bundestag (1987–1990)
The work of the eleventh Bundestag began after the election on January 25, 1987 with the constituent session, which was chaired by the senior president Willy Brandt . Philipp Jenninger was re-elected President of the Bundestag and Helmut Kohl was re-elected Chancellor. After a speech on the 50th anniversary of the so-called Reichskristallnacht , Jenninger had to resign in 1988 because he was accused of linguistic inaccuracy in naming the motives of the perpetrators. His successor was Rita Süssmuth . When the German Federal President was elected in 1989 , Richard von Weizsäcker was re-elected.
The world political events, the focus of which was Germany in 1989 and 1990 , also shaped the work of the Bundestag. A major health reform in 1989 was followed by the opening of the Wall on November 9 of the same year, when the national anthem was sung in the Bundestag when it was announced. A few weeks later, Helmut Kohl presented his ten-point program for German unity to the Bundestag and the world public . After the reunification was approved by the Soviet Union , the Bundestag dealt with the legislative changes required by the rapid unification process. In particular, the Unification Treaty had to be ratified. With the reunification on October 3, 1990, 144 members of the last people 's chamber of the GDR were admitted to the Bundestag; previously, on June 8th, the Berlin Bundestag deputies were given full voting rights.
Twelfth Bundestag (1990–1994)
After the election of December 2, 1990 , a freely elected all-German parliament began its work on December 20, 1990 for the first time since 1932 . With the PDS , another political force moved into the Bundestag, albeit not as a parliamentary group. In the first meeting, chaired by the senior president Willy Brandt, Rita Süssmuth was re-elected President of the Bundestag and a few weeks later Helmut Kohl was re-elected Chancellor. When the German Federal President was elected in 1994 , Roman Herzog was elected the seventh Federal President. In 1992 a meeting took place for the first time in the newly built Bundestag building in Bonn (today's World Conference Center Bonn ).
The main task of the new Bundestag was to cope with the difficult tasks that Germany faced as a result of the rapid reunification. The economy in the new federal states had collapsed, and East needed to be rebuilt. The settlement of the many state-owned companies was taken over by the Treuhandanstalt . Nevertheless, a solidarity pact worth billions had to be introduced, with which West Germany financed the improvement of the economic situation in East Germany. A major revision of the Basic Law that was being considered did not take place; instead, several minor changes were incorporated into the now all-German constitution. Because of the different treatment of the case in East and West, the question of the termination of pregnancy came up again. Finally, the tight decision was made that the federal organs should move from Bonn to Berlin by 1999 . Another important domestic issue was the right of asylum . Since the Basic Law had to be changed for this purpose, an asylum compromise was reached between the federal government and the opposition . For the first time since 1956, questions of intergenerational equity ( demography , pension system ) were dealt with again. Among other things, a generally binding long-term care insurance was introduced. In terms of legal policy, it was important to improve the protection of sexual self-determination .
In terms of foreign policy, too, a lot changed for the larger Germany: After the ratification of the Two-Plus-Four Treaty in 1991, the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty establishing the European Union was on the agenda. In addition, the Federal Constitutional Court assigned the Bundestag further responsibility by requiring its approval for every deployment of the Bundeswehr outside the NATO area.
There was a somewhat unusual debate on February 25, 1994, when there was a controversial discussion in the Bundestag about the wrapping of the Reichstag building by the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude . The wrapping finally took place in June 1995.
Thirteenth Bundestag (1994-1998)
The thirteenth parliament consisting of the election on 16 October 1994 had emerged, chose November 10, 1994 at its inaugural meeting, headed by interim president Stefan Heym , Rita Süssmuth again to his president. Helmut Kohl was elected Chancellor for the fifth and last time.
The second Bundestag elected after German reunification also had to deal with the problems of rebuilding in the East . In addition, the increasingly obvious globalization came to the fore . In coordination with the federal government, the Bundestag tried to keep Germany competitive and to strengthen it as a business location, while at the same time maintaining the welfare state as much as possible. One important change was the 1997 pension reform , which came about against opposition resistance. In terms of foreign policy, the Bundestag's approval of the Amsterdam Treaty and the introduction of the euro was important .
Fourteenth Bundestag (1998-2002)
The election of September 27, 1998 resulted in a completely different Bundestag. Age President Fred Gebhardt was able to congratulate Wolfgang Thierse for the first time in 26 years to an SPD politician on assuming the office of President of the Bundestag . More important, however, was that Gerhard Schröder was elected the seventh Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic. In 1999, the Bundestag moved to Berlin during the summer break after the Reichstag building opened in April. The parliament buildings that were built in the immediate vicinity in the government district were named Jakob-Kaiser-Haus , Paul-Löbe-Haus and Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus , named after important members of parliament. In the same year Johannes Rau was elected and sworn in as the eighth Federal President of Germany in the second ballot. In 2001 the Chancellor asked the vote of confidence .
The key points of the new red-green federal government were the ecological tax reform , the nuclear phase-out , the withdrawal of the socio-political cuts of the previous government and a new immigration law . There was also the discussion about compensation for forced laborers . While the first three points were implemented, the coalition suffered a defeat in the Immigration Act by the now Union-led Federal Council. Foreign policy was shaped by war missions, in 1999 in Kosovo and 2001 in Afghanistan , after Chancellor Schröder linked this Bundeswehr mission with a vote of confidence. It was not until the Iraq war in 2002 that the federal government opposed the US war strategy. This decision shortly before the federal election, together with the crisis management during the flood of the century, which was considered to be good, is seen as an important basis for the narrow re-election.
Fifteenth Bundestag (2002-2005)
The election of September 22, 2002 was narrowly won by the red-green government coalition made up of the SPD and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen . Therefore, the senior president Otto Schily could also congratulate Bundestag president Wolfgang Thierse and Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on their re-election. In 2004 Horst Köhler was elected Federal President .
After the re-election, Chancellor Schröder decided to start a reform program. To this end, he presented his Agenda 2010 in March 2003 , which contained massive cuts in the social system and did not shy away from withdrawing the socio-political cuts made by the Kohl government. Against massive protests from the trade unions, the Bundestag passed laws such as Hartz IV , with which the state should be reorganized. The Immigration Act was passed after a compromise with the Federal Council. The continuation of the domestic reform course and the fight against right-wing extremism - an application by the Bundestag to ban the NPD failed in 2003 - were on the agenda, as was the ratification of the European Constitution in terms of foreign policy . After the defeat in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia , the Chancellor put the vote of confidence in 2005, which he deliberately lost. Then Federal President Koehler dissolved the Bundestag; this decision was upheld by the Federal Constitutional Court.
Sixteenth Bundestag (2005-2009)
The election result of September 18, 2005 brought a majority neither for the Union parties and the FDP nor for the SPD and the Greens . This made the black-yellow and red-green coalitions preferred by the parties mentioned impossible. The other parties ruled out the formation of a government with the strengthened Left Party . The result would have also allowed coalition models such as the so-called traffic light coalition of the SPD, FDP and Greens or black-yellow-green ( Jamaica coalition ) within the framework of the determinations of the parties , but instead a grand coalition of CDU / CSU and SPD was formed, which is at four votes ahead for the CDU meant the closest achieved chancellorship in the history of the Federal Republic. Age President Otto Schily was able to congratulate Norbert Lammert on being elected President of the Bundestag . One month after the constitution, the Bundestag elected Angela Merkel as Chancellor .
An important project of the grand coalition was the discussion and adoption of the federalism reform : The Federalism Reform (2006) dealt with in particular the reform of the legislative power and the necessity for concurrence of laws by the Federal Council; With the Federalism Reform II (2009), financial relations between the federal government and the states were reorganized and a debt brake was included in the constitution (Basic Law).
Overcoming the financial crisis from 2007 onwards was an important task of this Bundestag. The stimulus packages designed for this caused the highest net new debt since the Federal Republic of Germany was founded.
The grand coalition passed a critically assessed health reform and continued measures to protect the climate, although the planned environmental code did not come into being due to differing views between the federal and state governments. Fighting tax evasion was also an essential task. Many laws to combat crime met with criticism from the opposition and parts of the ruling coalition, which complained about the restriction of fundamental rights.
Seventeenth Bundestag (2009-2013)
The elections of September 27, 2009 resulted in spite of historically low results not only the SPD, but also of the CDU / CSU to a majority for the strongly Benefiting from surplus seats CDU / CSU and the historically successful FDP in the German Bundestag, which on October 27 constituted . Age-President Heinz Riesenhuber was once again able to congratulate Norbert Lammert (CDU) on becoming President of the Bundestag ; then Angela Merkel was re-elected as Federal Chancellor .
Highly noticed or controversial decisions of the Bundestag included:
- the euro rescue package decided in May 2010 with the aim of preventing the state bankruptcy of Greece for the time being and creating support options for other highly indebted countries in the euro zone
- the extension of the service life of German nuclear power plants in autumn 2010
- the nuclear phase-out after the start of the Fukushima nuclear disaster
Eighteenth Bundestag (2013-2017)
The eighteenth Bundestag was elected through the 2013 federal election on September 22, 2013, and was constituted on October 22, 2013. The CDU / CSU, the SPD, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and the Left were represented in this Bundestag. The FDP only received 4.8% of the vote and was no longer represented in the German Bundestag for the first time. The AfD also failed because of the threshold clause , so that a record high of 15.7% of the votes was not taken into account in the distribution of seats. In December 2013, another grand coalition was formed from the Union parties and the SPD under Angela Merkel ( Merkel III cabinet ). The Left Party and the Greens form the opposition. The dominant topic of this legislative period was the migration and refugee crisis from 2015 . The policy of the federal government was highly controversial and gave the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in particular a strong boost. In terms of foreign and European policy, in addition to the euro crisis, the Crimean crisis triggered by the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea dominated from 2014, and the EU crisis from 2016 triggered by the British vote to leave the EU .
Nineteenth Bundestag (2017-2021)
In the federal election on September 24, 2017 , the ruling grand coalition of CDU / CSU and SPD experienced the greatest loss of votes for a government in the history of the Federal Republic; Both parties posted historically poor results and thus undercut those of 2009. Two parties moved into the Bundestag that were not represented in the last legislative period: the FDP and the AfD. The latter was represented in the Bundestag for the first time and was the third largest force in terms of percentage of votes.
Twentieth Bundestag (since 2021)
While the CDU / CSU achieved the worst percentage result since 1949 with 197 seats in the federal election in 2021 , Alliance 90 / The Greens achieved their highest result to date. The strongest force is the SPD. Furthermore, for the first time since 1949, the South Schleswig Voters' Association, which is excluded from the threshold clause, is represented in the Bundestag.
Election terms of the German Bundestag
The duration of the electoral period, the time frame for the new election and the meeting of the Bundestag after the election are regulated in Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag stipulates that "[d] the newly elected Bundestag [...] is to be convened for its first session by the previous President [...]".Basic Law. Accordingly, the newly elected Bundestag must meet no later than 30 days after the election.
The electoral term begins when the Bundestag meets for the first time and ended in 1976 (7th electoral term) after exactly four years or with its premature dissolution. The Bundestag election had to take place in the last quarter of the electoral term. Between the end of the four-year period and the meeting of a new Bundestag, as well as in the event of dissolution, there was a period without a parliament in which the Standing Committee of the Bundestag (according to Art. 45 GG in the version valid until 1976) “exercised the rights of the Bundestag vis-à-vis the Federal Government to keep ”. Since 1976, the electoral term has generally only ended when a newly elected Bundestag convenes. From 1976 to 1998 (8th to 13th electoral term) the federal election had to take place at the earliest 45, at the latest 47 months, since then (from the 14th electoral term) at the earliest 46, at the latest 48 months after the beginning of the electoral term.
In March 2021, the Bundestag passed a law to introduce a fine to enforce the house rules in the event of disruptions caused by members of the Bundestag (outside the plenary chamber).
In the event of early dissolution of the Bundestag, the new election must be held within 60 days. This has been the case three times in the history of the Federal Republic (in the 6th electoral term in 1972, in the 9th electoral term in 1983 and in the 15th electoral term in 2005).
- 1st electoral term: September 7, 1949 to September 7, 1953
- 2nd electoral term: October 6, 1953 to October 6, 1957
- 3rd electoral term: October 15, 1957 to October 15, 1961
- 4th electoral term: October 17, 1961 to October 17, 1965
- 5th electoral term: October 19, 1965 to October 19, 1969
- Sixth legislative term: October 20, 1969 to September 23, 1972
- 7th electoral term: December 13, 1972 to December 13, 1976
- 8th legislative term: December 14, 1976 to November 4, 1980
- 9th electoral term: November 4, 1980 to March 29, 1983
- 10th electoral term: March 29, 1983 to February 18, 1987
- Eleventh term: February 18, 1987 to December 20, 1990
- 12th electoral term: December 20, 1990 to November 10, 1994
- 13th electoral term: November 10, 1994 to October 26, 1998
- 14th electoral term: October 26, 1998 to October 17, 2002
- 15th electoral term: October 17, 2002 to October 18, 2005
- 16th electoral term: October 18, 2005 to October 27, 2009
- 17th electoral term: October 27, 2009 to October 22, 2013
- 18th electoral term: October 22, 2013 to October 24, 2017
- 19th electoral term: October 24, 2017 to October 26, 2021
- 20th electoral term: since October 26, 2021
Parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag
The CDU , the CSU (in parliamentary groups since 1949) and the SPD have been represented in parliamentary groups since the first Bundestag. The FDP could form a parliamentary group in the 1st to the 17th Bundestag, but not in the eighteenth Bundestag. The Free Democrats have been represented as a parliamentary group again since the 19th Bundestag.
The German Party (DP) was represented in the Bundestag from 1949 to 1961, but since 1953 only thanks to the acquisition of direct mandates . In 1957 there was an agreement with the CDU, which did not take place in some constituencies , so that the DP candidates there had significantly better chances.
From 1949 to 1953 the Bavarian Party (BP), the Center , the Reconstruction Association (WAV) and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) were represented in parliamentary groups, as were the German Reich Party (DRP), the South Schleswig Voters' Association and three independent direct candidates. The large number of different groups can be explained by the fact that a party only had to jump the five percent threshold in one federal state in order to be represented in the Bundestag. This rule was abolished in the 1953 federal election . As early as December 1951, the minimum size for parliamentary groups was increased from 10 to 15 members, as a result of which the WAV and later also the KPD lost parliamentary group status, while the BP and the Center merged to form the Federal Union parliamentary group .
From 1953 to 1957, in addition to the three large parliamentary groups and the German party, only the all-German bloc / federation of expellees and disenfranchised persons was represented in parliamentary groups in the Bundestag. There were also three direct candidates from the center. On March 1, 1956, the faction “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Free Democrats”, later the Free People's Party (FVP), split off from the FDP; on March 14, 1957, the factions of DP and FVP merged.
Between 1957 and 1961 CDU / CSU, SPD, FDP and DP were represented in the Bundestag, from 1961 to 1983 only the three parliamentary groups of CDU / CSU, SPD and FDP.
1983 saw the addition of the Greens (from 1993 Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen ), which, except for the period from 1990 to 1994, when Bündnis 90 only moved into the Bundestag in the East German electoral area, always had parliamentary groups.
1990 finally pulled the PDS , which from the SED has emerged in the Bundestag, it was from 1990 to 1998, group size represented from 1998 to 2002, a parliamentary group in the Bundestag. From 2002 to 2005 only two non-attached members of the PDS were members of the Bundestag. Since the sixteenth Bundestag (2005–2009), it has been represented with a joint list with the WASG (merged in June 2007 to form Die Linke ) in parliamentary groups.
In the 2017 federal election , the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) , founded in 2013, moved into the Bundestag for the first time, where it is the third largest parliamentary group . During the legislative period, several MPs left their parties, two of them joining the LKR and one joining The PARTY . As a result, the Bundestag was then made up of six parliamentary groups and nine parties.
After the federal election in 2021 , the SSW won a seat for the first time since 1949 . The left failed to pass the five percent hurdle, but moved into the Bundestag due to the basic mandate clause and can even form a parliamentary group there, as it provides more than five percent of the MPs. The Bundestag is currently made up of six parliamentary groups and members from eight parties.
- Fractions and groups in the German Bundestag since 1949
Narrow bars indicate groups .
Allocation of seats in the Bundestag
|Bundestag||Electoral term||Mandates||CDU / CSU||SPD||FDP||Green 1||PDS / Left 2||DP||AfD||Others|
|1st Bundestag||1949-1953||402||140||131||52||-||-||17th||-||62 3|
|2nd Bundestag||1953-1957||487||244||151||48||-||-||15th||-||29 4|
|20th Bundestag||from 2021||736||197||206||92||118||39||-||82||62|
Strongest parliamentary groups and parties
The strongest parliamentary group in the period from 1949 to 1972, from 1976 to 1998 and from 2005 to 2021 was the CDU / CSU parliamentary group, while the SPD parliamentary group was the strongest between 1972 and 1976 and between 1998 and 2005 and since 2021. Since the CDU and CSU are different parties, the SPD was the party with the highest number of votes in the 1949, 1961 to 1987, 1994 to 2005 and 2021 elections, otherwise the CDU.
|Timeline of the parties elected in the German Bundestag or represented in the Federal Government|
|div.||BHE||GB / BHE||GDP|
|div.||B'90||Alliance 90 / The Greens|
Previous meeting locations
Since it was founded in 1949, the German Bundestag has had a total of four conference venues that have been expanded as a separate plenary hall and also met for ten plenary sessions in six plenary weeks at three other locations.
Regular meeting of the Bundestag had since its first session in the first term 1949, designed by Hans Schwippert built plenary hall of the Federal Palace in Bonn. In 1953 it was rebuilt and expanded so that the Bundestag met once in Cologne that year in the large broadcasting hall of the broadcasting house of what was then the Northwest German Broadcasting Corporation .
In the 2nd , 3rd and 4th electoral terms , nine plenary sessions were held in what was then West Berlin from 1955 to 1965 , the first and seven more in the large lecture hall of the Physics Institute of the Technical University in Charlottenburg and two, including the last, in the Congress hall . This regularly met with violent opposition from the governments of the GDR and the USSR , since they did not recognize West Berlin as the national territory of the Federal Republic ; the last meeting held there in 1965 was even disrupted as part of a major Warsaw Pact maneuver by supersonic and low-level Soviet jet planes.
In the Four Power Agreement on Berlin of 1971, the Western powers undertook not to allow any more plenary sessions of the Bundestag in Berlin. The Bundestag therefore met exclusively in Bonn from the 5th to the 10th electoral term . There, in 1986, due to the impending demolition of the previous plenary hall, the converted old waterworks was put into operation as a replacement plenary hall, which served as an alternative accommodation until the completion of a new plenary hall according to plans by Günter Behnisch .
After reunification in the 11th electoral term , the now all-German Bundestag met for the first time in 1990 in the Berlin Reichstag building , where plenary sessions were also held on special occasions in the following years. The new plenary hall of the Bundestag in Bonn was finally completed in the 12th electoral term in 1992 and served as a regular conference venue from 1993 onwards.
After the Bundestag moved to Berlin during the summer break of 1999 ( 14th electoral term ) as the seat of parliament and government were relocated to Berlin, the plenary sessions took place in the converted Reichstag building. For a special session on the swearing-in of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as the new Defense Minister on July 24, 2019, the Bundestag met once in the hall of the Paul-Löbe-Haus , because construction work took place in the plenary hall of the Reichstag building during the weeks when there were no sessions .
- Bundestag electoral law
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- Michael F. Feldkamp : Data Handbook on the History of the German Bundestag 1990 to 2010. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2011, ISBN 978-3-8329-6237-1 . ( online ).
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- Thorsten Lüthke: Work manual Bundestag. deutscher politikverlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-937692-03-6 (manual published since 2002 with overviews of addresses, participation in 400 committees and complete contact details).
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- Rudolf Vierhaus , Ludolf Herbst (ed.): Biographical manual of the members of the German Bundestag 1949–2002. KG Saur, Munich 2002/2003, ISBN 3-598-23780-4 (with the collaboration of Bruno Jahn).
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- Website of the German Bundestag
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- The Bundestag speaks about it - analysis by ZEIT ONLINE with regard to all speeches in parliament since 1949 (made graphically analyzable)
- Scientific service of the Bundestag - rights and duties of members of parliament (PDF; 23 kB)
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- German Bundestag Public Relations Department - Parliamentary and election statistics of the German Bundestag 1949–2002 / 03 (PDF; 121 kB)
References and other comments
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- Due to the accession of the Saarland , ten more MPs were added from January 4, 1957, who had previously been determined by the Saarland Landtag . This increased the number of members of the Bundestag with full voting rights from 487 to 497. Of these ten members, initially three each belonged to the CDU and the DPS and two each from the SPD and the CVP .
As a result of the reunification process, the 22 West Berlin members of the Bundestag (CDU 11, SPD 7, FDP 2, AL 2) received full voting rights from June 8, 1990 , which increased the number of members of the Bundestag with voting rights from 497 to 519.
On October 3, 1990, 144 parliamentarians from the former GDR entered the Bundestag; they had previously been determined by the GDR People's Chamber . The number of members of the Bundestag (with full voting rights) increased from 519 to 663. Of the 144 members appointed by the People's Chamber, 63 belonged to the CDU, eight from the DSU , 33 from the SPD, nine from the FDP, 24 from the PDS and seven from Alliance 90 / Greens (East) (including the Green Party in the GDR ).
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