Opposition leader

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In the parliamentary system of government, the leader of the opposition is considered to be the leader of the largest opposition faction .


In German parliamentary democracy , the leader of the opposition is traditionally the leader of the largest parliamentary group that is in opposition to the government . The official office of an opposition leader, which is anchored in the state constitution, only exists in the state of Schleswig-Holstein .

German Bundestag

Neither the Basic Law nor the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag contain the term opposition . The parliamentary groups in the Bundestag are granted special rights, but not their chairmen. Therefore the term opposition leader is just a common usage . If the opposition consists of several smaller parliamentary groups, as in the 19th legislative period (since 2017), the term tends to be used less often. The CDU politicians Helmut Kohl (chairman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group 1976–1982) and Angela Merkel (2002–2005) have so far been the only ones who have been able to move seamlessly from the role of opposition leader to the office of Federal Chancellor .

Alexander Gauland Dietmar Bartsch Gregor Gysi Frank-Walter Steinmeier Guido Westerwelle Wolfgang Gerhardt Angela Merkel Friedrich Merz Wolfgang Schäuble Rudolf Scharping Hans-Ulrich Klose Hans-Jochen Vogel Herbert Wehner Helmut Kohl Karl Carstens Rainer Barzel Wolfgang Mischnick Knut von Kühlmann-Stumm Fritz Erler Erich Ollenhauer Kurt Schumacher Angela Merkel Gerhard Schröder Helmut Kohl Helmut Schmidt Willy Brandt Kurt Georg Kiesinger Ludwig Erhard Konrad Adenauer Alice Weidel Sahra Wagenknecht

State parliaments

Although the term opposition is now anchored in the state constitution in several German states , the official position of opposition leader only exists in Schleswig-Holstein. It goes to the leader of the opposition faction with the most seats . In the case of parliamentary groups with the same strength, the number of votes of the parties in the last state election is decisive in the third instance, the lot decides.

List of opposition leaders (as of March 2020)
Popular representation Opposition leader fraction
State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg Andreas Stoch SPD
Bavarian State Parliament Ludwig Hartmann and Katharina Schulze Alliance 90 / The Greens
Berlin House of Representatives Burkard Dregger CDU
Brandenburg State Parliament Andreas Kalbitz AfD
Bremen citizenship Thomas Röwekamp CDU
Hamburg citizenship Dennis Thering CDU
Hessian state parliament Nancy Faeser SPD
State Parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Nikolaus Kramer AfD
Lower Saxony State Parliament Julia Willie Hamburg Alliance 90 / The Greens
State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia Thomas Kutschaty SPD
Landtag Rhineland-Palatinate Christian Baldauf CDU
State Parliament of the Saarland Oskar Lafontaine The left
Saxon State Parliament Jörg Urban AfD
State Parliament of Saxony-Anhalt Oliver Kirchner AfD
Schleswig-Holstein State Parliament Ralf Stegner SPD
Thuringian Parliament Bjorn Höcke AfD

United Kingdom

Unlike in Germany, the British House of Commons and the parliaments of the so-called Commonwealth Realms have the institutionalized title of opposition leader. The chairman of the strongest opposition faction holds the title of Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (“ Leader of Her Majesty's most loyal opposition”); the title goes back to the constitutional fiction that the policy of the government is the policy of the queen herself (Her Majesty's Government) : against this background it is necessary to emphasize that one only rejects politics, about the queen herself but is loyal, and on the other hand to be recognized by the Queen as loyal and not as an enemy of the state, despite the opposition ("against her"). In the reporting, the opposition leader is usually referred to simply as the leader of the opposition .

Since 1937 the opposition leader has had a status recognized in British law; For example, he receives a salary from the state treasury that goes beyond the usual salaries of MPs. The current Leader of the Opposition in the British House of Commons has been Keir Starmer since April 2020 .

Individual evidence

  1. See Bodo Pieroth , Katrin Haghgu: Strengthening the Rights of Members of Parliament and the Opposition in State Constitutional Law , LIT Verlag Münster 2004, ISBN 978-3-8258-7506-0 .
  2. Article 18 paragraph 2 of the constitution of the state of Schleswig-Holstein .
  3. ^ Government and Opposition roles. In: parliament.uk. Retrieved July 2, 2020 .