In Germany, large inquiries are questions that are usually submitted by a parliamentary group of the opposition and addressed to the federal or state government . Conversely, a party in the government camp may submit such a request in order to give its own ministers an opportunity to report comprehensively on a project or on successes.
In contrast to small inquiries , large inquiries are more extensive, answering by the government requires more administrative effort and the written answer is usually discussed in parliament.
The German Bundestag regulates the form and the procedure for major inquiries to the Federal Government in to the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag (GOBT). In accordance with Clause 1 of the Rules of Procedure, major inquiries must be brief and specific, can be given a brief reason and must be submitted to the President of the Bundestag . The prerequisite is that the major request is submitted by at least 5% of the MPs or a parliamentary group . The President of the Bundestag forwards the major inquiry to the Federal Government in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and asks it to explain whether and when it will answer the inquiry.
The Federal Government usually receives a response after several months. In contrast to the answer to a minor question, it can then be debated in the Bundestag. According to the Rules of Procedure, the debate must take place if it is requested by a parliamentary group or by as many members of the Bundestag as can form a parliamentary group. If the federal government completely refuses to answer within a certain period of time, the Bundestag can put the major inquiry on the agenda for discussion in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.
By the end of the 18th legislative period in 2017, 1,392 major inquiries had been directed to the federal government across all legislative periods. In the 10th electoral period, 175 major inquiries were made, the highest level within one legislative period. Since then, the number of major inquiries has declined: In the last legislative period, only 15 such inquiries were made. With nine inquiries, the Left Party in the Bundestag used the instrument most frequently during that legislative period. The remaining six questions were brought in by the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen parliamentary group. The declining number of large inquiries can be explained, among other things, by the freely selectable and thus often long response times of the federal government, as this is not stipulated in the rules of procedure of the German Bundestag compared to small inquiries. This makes it difficult for MPs to obtain information on current events from the federal government at short notice.
German state parliaments
The regulations in the German state parliaments largely correspond to the regulations for the German Bundestag. The rules of procedure of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saarland state parliament , for example, stipulate that a parliamentary group or at least four members of parliament can introduce a major question and the same quorum can also be used to request an answer to the state parliament's agenda. On the other hand, the big question in the Brandenburg state parliament has to be made by a fifth of the MPs, unless an entire parliamentary group can agree on it. In the Schleswig-Holstein state parliament , 18 of the total of 69 members must be signed if the questioner is not a parliamentary group.
- German Bundestag: Big question
- German Bundestag: Big question
- German Bundestag: Data Handbook on the History of the German Bundestag 1949 to 1999 , p. 2639.
- German Bundestag: Data Handbook on the History of the German Bundestag 1990 to 2010 , Chapter 11.1 “Inquiries”, pp. 2–5.
- German Bundestag: Data Handbook on the History of the German Bundestag 1990 to 2010 , Chapter 11.1 "Inquiries", p. 5.
- § 62 of the rules of procedure of the 6th Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state parliament (PDF; 379 kB) or § 59 of the rules of procedure of the Saarland state parliament (PDF; 110 kB) ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically saved as marked defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- § 56 sentence 3 of the rules of procedure of the 5th Brandenburg State Parliament (PDF; 404 kB) ( Memento of the original from January 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Section 38 of Section 38 of the Rules of Procedure of the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag