Prussian State Assembly

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The constituent Prussian state assembly was after the November Revolution responsible for the development and adoption of a constitution for the Free State of Prussia . It met between 1919 and 1921 in what is now the Berlin House of Representatives . It was thus the forerunner of the Landtag of the Free State of Prussia .

Origin and tasks

The November Revolution of 1918 brought the end of the two-chamber system of the monarchy . The House of Representatives and the Manor House were abolished and a parliamentary system of government was adopted for the future Weimar Republic . The Prussian state constituent assembly should meet to discuss a future democratic Prussian constitution . The decision on this was made at the meetings of the Prussian Council of People's Representatives on December 12 and 14, 1918, when MSPD members Otto Braun , Paul Hirsch and Eugen Ernst succeeded in getting the USPD government members to give up their previous blockade. According to this decision, the elections should take place one week before the elections for the German National Assembly . In view of the considerations of Hugo Preuss , who advocated dividing the Land of Prussia because of its size and therefore advocated that a Prussian state assembly only meet after fundamental decisions at the national level, this early date was part of the attempt by the Prussian government to destroy it to prevent.

Choice and composition

The election for this meeting took place on January 26, 1919. In the Sigmaringen administrative district , the election took place on June 1, 1919. It was the first nationwide election in Prussia, in which not three-class suffrage, but universal, equal and secret suffrage for men and women applied. 26 women were elected from 401 MPs.

The turnout was around 74%. The strongest party was the SPD with 36.38% of the valid votes cast. The party had 145 seats . The second strongest force was the center , which at that time called itself the Christian People's Party , with 22.22% and 93 seats. This was followed by: DDP 16.20% (65 mandates), DNVP 11.22% (48 mandates), USPD 7.42% (24 mandates), DVP 5.69% (23 mandates), DHP 0.49% (2 Mandates), Schleswig-Holstein farmers 'and agricultural workers' democracy 0.36% (1). The other parties received no mandates.

The assembly held its constituent session on March 13, 1919. The MPs elected Robert Leinert (SPD) as president . In addition there were 1st Vice President Felix Porsch (Center), 2nd Vice President Otto Frentzel (DDP), 3rd Vice President (from May 6, 1919) Wolfgang von Kries (DNVP)

The constitutional committee responsible for drafting the constitution had a total of 27 members (11 SPD, 6 Zentrum, 4 DDP, 4 DNVP, 1 USPD, 1 DVP).

Events and resolutions

As early as March 20, 1919, the state assembly passed a “law on the provisional order of state authority in Prussia”. Until a constitution was passed, this regulated the most important organizational questions as a kind of transitional constitution. Unlike in other countries, there was no state president in Prussia. Instead, a prime minister was at the head of a collegial government . However , the latter did not yet have the authority to issue guidelines , as in the later constitution. However, his vote was decisive in the event of a tie in the cabinet. Since then, the entire government has been entitled to the rights previously granted to the king. In this context, for example, the former royal church regiment was entrusted to three ministers. The right to dissolve or adjourn the National Assembly was excluded from this. A special feature of the provisional constitution was that the president of the state assembly had the right to appoint the prime minister and the government.

A few days later, with the Center abstaining, the state assembly passed a resolution against a possible division of the state, as suggested by Hugo Preuss in the first drafts for the imperial constitution.

On March 25, 1919, the president of the state assembly appointed a coalition cabinet made up of members of the SPD, Zentrum and DDP under Paul Hirsch (SPD) as the state government . After the Kapp Putsch , the government resigned and it was the March 29, 1920 at the first Cabinet of Otto Braun formed (SPD).

In April 1920 the parliament approved the formation of Greater Berlin . On June 23, 1920, the regional assembly passed the law on the abolition of the privileges of the nobility. The attempt to strengthen the political independence of the provinces failed in the national assembly.

Constitution of the Free State of Prussia of November 30, 1920

The adoption of the new constitution took a long time for various reasons. One aspect was the difficult internal parliamentary debates. There were also imperial political considerations. The adoption was waited until the Weimar Constitution had been adopted. The Kapp Putsch caused a further delay. On November 30, 1920 the new constitution of the Free State of Prussia was passed with 280 votes from the SPD, Zentrum, DDP and DVP against 60 votes from DNVP and USPD, with the German-Hanoverian party abstaining.

In contrast to the provisional constitution, the Prime Minister has since been elected by the state parliament without debate. The Prime Minister appointed the Minister of State. The constitution enshrined, among other things, a general, direct and secret right to vote for Prussia in a constitution based on democratic principles and introduced women's suffrage .

Compared to the constitution of 1850, the new republican constitution, which of course no longer knew a king, but also renounced a state president, strengthened the position of the state parliament. This could now decide its own dissolution. A strong counterbalance, however, was offered by the position of the Prime Minister, who, under Article 46, was now given the authority to issue guidelines vis-à-vis the other ministries. The prime minister was elected by the state parliament without debate. Its importance can be compared to that of the British Prime Minister.

In principle, the previous division into rural districts or independent cities , administrative districts and provinces remained. What was new was that the provincial parliaments as well as the district and community assemblies were democratically elected.

Article 31 of the Constitution introduced the Prussian Council of State to represent the provinces . This should act as a kind of second chamber next to the state parliament. Konrad Adenauer became President of the Council of State and held this office until 1933.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Berlin Stadtportal: Berlin House of Representatives - Prussian Landtag. In: March 14, 2017, accessed January 3, 2019 .