Election surrender

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As electoral capitulation (Capitulatio Caesarean) is since the Middle Ages , a written contract referred to in which a candidate made commitments in the event of his choice, but exactly regulated in which his skills and powers were limited.

King's choice

Holy Roman Empire

In the election for the King in the Holy Roman Empire had since the 13th century Elector the election body. Since the election of Charles V in 1519, the electors have submitted an electoral capitulation (capitulatio caesarea) to the future Roman-German emperors .

The initially almost unlimited powers of the emperor were restricted and specified by the election surrender. The last election surrender negotiated with Franz II in modern print comprises 314 pages and represented an important basic law of the respective imperial rule.

During the negotiations with France within the framework of the Peace of Westphalia , Ferdinand III's electoral surrender to divest imperial rights and imperial property was lifted, giving France territories in Alsace and Lorraine, for example. T. could be awarded to full sovereignty.

The permanent electoral surrender (capitulatio perpetua) of 1711 was an attempt to lay down the rules for the future king in a predetermined electoral surrender. Among other things, it prohibited making the empire a hereditary monarchy. In this way the electors tried to secure their political position. However, this document was never ratified by an emperor and thus made an imperial law.

Franz II justified the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in 1806 with the fact that, due to the events of history ( coalition wars , founding of the Rhine Confederation ), he was no longer able to fulfill the duties assumed in the electoral surrender.


In Norway, the period from 1449 ( Christian I. and Karl Knutsson ) to 1648 was the time of electoral surrender, with only the electoral surrender of 1449 and 1524 ( Frederick I ) being tailored to Norway, while the rest were given in Denmark, but due to the personal union also applied to Norway. After 1648, absolutism came in 1660. The election surrender was a prerequisite for the coronation. In the period between the electoral surrender and the coronation, the king bore the title of "chosen king" (utvalgt konge) . Despite great differences in the individual documents, they all have one thing in common: They emphasize the principles of Reichsrat constitutionalism , which included the Reichsrat's rights to participate in important government decisions. Restricting government offices to the local nobility also became more and more important - in Denmark against German nobles, in Norway against German and Danish nobles.

Pope election

For a long time (15th to 17th centuries) it was common practice for the College of Cardinals to demand surrender in papal elections . Already in 1352 there was an election surrender before the election of Innocent VI. set up, but declared invalid by the latter. The Council of Constance (1414-1417) took the view that the rival Popes Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII. guilty of perjury for violating their electoral surrenders. Pope Eugene IV confirmed his electoral surrender in a solemn bull in 1431. Cardinal Jacopo Ammannati Piccolomini reports about Pope Paul II that immediately after the election, as agreed, he undertook to comply with his electoral surrender, but later forced the cardinals to give their consent for a substantial revision. Today, voting agreements before the papal election are prohibited (most recently in the Constitution Universi Dominici gregis ).

Bishop election

There were also electoral surrenders to other princes who obtained their office by election. As a rule , this concerned the bishops ; their electoral body was the respective cathedral chapter . With the electoral surrender, the rights and duties of the bishop and the respective cathedral chapter were established, thus forming the constitution of the associated spiritual principality. The history of the electoral surrenders was not the same in all dioceses. They played a role in all dioceses of the Holy Roman Empire from the early 13th century. Electoral capitulations before bishops were banned by the Pope in 1695 and by the Emperor in 1698, with the exception of the election of the Archbishop of Mainz .


The electoral capitulations for the election of the Venetian doge , the promissione ducale , the oldest of which has been handed down from 1192, were particularly pronounced . The celebrity immersione ducale were before the election of a new Doge of a specially appointed to Commission, the all celebrity immersione Ducale Correttori worked out, the Doge she had excerpts quote at his discretion, summon compliance and was only topped it. From 1595 his promissione ducale was read to him every two months. Over the centuries this “contract” grew in size and from 1595 on it was printed. The promissione ducale of Doge Marino Grimani comprised 108 pages, that of Doge Giovanni II Cornaro 165, that of the last Doge Ludovico Manin 301 pages.

Web links

Wiktionary: electoral surrender  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Heinhard Steiger: Concrete Peace and General Order - On the Legal Significance of the Treaties of October 24, 1648 . In: Heinz Schilling (Ed.): 1648. War and peace in Europe. Text volume 1. Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster 1998, ISBN 3-88789-127-9 , pp. 437–446, 440.
  2. Steinar Imsen: Valghåndfestning . In: Norsk historisk leksikon , accessed on January 20, 2012.
  3. ^ Kurt Heller: Law, Culture and Life in the Republic 697–1797 . Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 1999, ISBN 3-205-99042-0 , pp. 136–157.