President of Parliament

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The President of Parliament , or in international use the Speaker of the Parliament (historically also Land Marshal or Landtag Marshal ), is the chairman of a parliament. Its exact role depends on the structure of the office in the respective country: While in some countries he is little more than an event manager who only has to ensure the formal correctness of the parliamentary sessions, in other countries this office is considered a high state office to which partly also corresponding insignia belong. As a rule, the President of Parliament has house rights over the Parliament building; he is usually also responsible for the administration of Parliament by appropriate officials. Depending on the country, its tasks are regulated by the constitution, laws or ordinances or rules of procedure.


In Germany, the President of the Bundestag performs a similar task. There are also state presidents in the parliaments of the individual federal states .

In German parliaments (Bundestag, Landtag) the strongest parliamentary group is the parliamentary president, the other parliamentary groups are the vice-presidents. In practice, however, this distribution only happens if the other political groups allow it. For example, candidates from the AfD parliamentary group for the office of Bundestag Vice-President have always been rejected by the majority of the members of the Bundestag since 2017. In earlier phases of these parties, the PDS and the Greens were not initially granted vice-presidents either.


The Netherlands has a bicameral parliament with the States General. Both chambers have their own chairman. In rare cases, both chambers come together for a joint session: Then the chairman of the First Chamber is the chairman of the entire assembly, although politically the Second Chamber is the more important.

At the beginning of a legislative period, the former chamber chairman acts as the interim chairman until a new chairman has been elected. If the former chairman of the chamber is no longer a member of the chamber, his predecessor or a former deputy serves. The new chairman is elected by the chamber members with a majority. The candidate who can achieve an absolute majority is elected. Several ballots may be required. Often, but not always, the chairman is a member of the largest chamber function.

A chamber chairman should exercise his office neutrally and usually has no offices or tasks in his own parliamentary group. In the debates, the chamber members or government representatives only address the chairman. You only talk about other people in the third person.


The Austrian Parliament consists of two legislative bodies: the National Council as the directly elected Chamber of Representatives and the Federal Council as the regional chamber appointed by the federal states. Both legislative bodies each have their own president, who is determined in different appointment processes from the number of MPs or members of the respective body. While the President of the National Council is usually elected once per legislative period by the members of the National Council, the office of President of the Federal Council changes every six months between the nine federal states.

When the two legislative bodies meet in a joint session ( e.g. to praise the Federal President ), they are collectively referred to as the Federal Assembly . They are chaired alternately by the President of the National Council and the President of the Federal Council.

In the federal states, the title of parliamentary president means the respective state parliament president .

East Timor

The presidium in the National Parliament of East Timor, above the government bank

In the National Parliament of East Timor , the members of the parliament elect the Presidium (Mesa do Parlamento) . It consists of six people: the President, his first and second deputy and the secretary of the Presidium and his first and second deputy. A minimum of ten and a maximum of 20 MPs are submitted as proposals for the election of the President. The election takes place in plenary and is secret. The candidate who receives an absolute majority of the votes of the elected MPs is elected.

The President represents the national parliament, directs and coordinates its work and has sovereignty over the parliament's staff and its security. He chairs the Presidium and the plenary sessions, sets the parliamentary agenda, approves or rejects draft laws and sends them to parliament. to the standing technical committees to receive petitions submitted by the public and forward them to the standing technical committees. He also receives petitions to Parliament and forwards them to the specialist committees.

In the event of the President's death, resignation, permanent incapacity or temporary disability, the President of Parliament represents the head of state until the President returns to office or re-elected. When President José Ramos-Horta was seriously injured in the assassination attempt in Dili in 2008, the first deputy speaker of parliament, Vicente da Silva Guterres , took over the functions, since parliamentary speaker Fernando de Araújo was on a business trip at the time. After his return a few days later, Araújo became head of state until Ramos-Horta was able to take over the official duties a few months later.

The Bureau can declare the loss of a member's mandate and is responsible for the functioning of Parliament's support services and committees. The secretary checks the presence of the MPs on session days, gives them the floor, checks the results of votes and records them.


The Russian State Duma is headed by a President (Russian Председатель Государственной Думы), who has eight deputies. The office was created in 1994. The election of the President of Parliament takes place in a fighting vote. Boris Gryzlov from the United Russia party has been the current holder of the office since 2003 . His predecessors were Ivan Rybkin (1994–1996, Agrarian Party ) and Gennady Selesnjow (1996–2003, KPRF 1996–2002, Independent 2002–2003).


At the head of the Swedish Reichstag is the President of the Reichstag ( talman ), who is elected together with his three representatives for the entire legislative period. His tasks include commissioning a party chairman with the formation of a government in the event of a change of government, dismissing members of the government after a vote of no confidence or the prime minister at his own request, assuming the office of Reich administrator if the king and his deputy are prevented, and of course planning and Organization of the work of the Reichstag.


In Switzerland the two parliamentary chambers of the Federal Assembly , the National Council and the Council of States , each have their own president. However, the President of the National Council presides over joint meetings of the United Federal Assembly . He is therefore, despite merely representative tasks, popularly considered the highest Swiss . The presidents are elected for one year from among the council. The vice-presidents move up to the office of president in the following year. It has become common practice that the presidents are appointed by the four largest parliamentary groups in rotation. The presidents conduct the meetings and ensure compliance with parliamentary order. The Presidents also prepare the meetings together with the Parliamentary Services and the Council offices. The cantonal parliaments are familiar with similar procedures .

United Kingdom

In the UK , the chairman of the bears lower house (House of Commons) the title of Speaker . Traditionally he sits on a throne and has an instrument, the mace , a gold-plated scepter, that symbolizes his authority. The office has existed in England with its long parliamentary tradition since 1258 . Since the speaker is obliged to be neutral, he can be seen as a kind of mediating authority; It made a decisive contribution to the development of a parliamentary culture of discussion by making it customary not to attack political opponents personally during debates, but instead to do so indirectly in the form of a speech that was formally addressed to the speaker. The real political power of the British speaker, however, is comparatively low. The incumbent until October 31, 2019 was John Bercow .

United States

In the USA , the President of the House of Representatives also has the title of Speaker. He holds the third highest office in the state after president and vice- president and would take office in the event that both fail.

In the other chamber, the Senate , the chairmanship is in the hands of the Vice President of the USA , who normally has no voting rights in that chamber, except in the event of a tie; then his voice is decisive. Since in the past Democrats and Republicans actually made up the same number of Senators, the Vice President played the role of tipping the scales. Since the Vice President does not lead every conference by far, he is supported by a President pro tempore (Temporary Senate President).

In the states with bicameral parliaments, the respective Houses of Representatives (or assemblies) also have a speaker, while the chairmanship of the Senate is often exercised by the incumbent Vice-Governor . He is also supported by a pro tempore president .

Web links

Commons : President of Parliament  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: President of Parliament  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Parliament of East Timor: Órgãos e suas Funções , accessed on December 2, 2019.