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Encyclopedia > Bundesrat of Germany
Germany

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Politics and government of
Germany
Image File history File links Coat_of_Arms_of_Germany. ... Politics of Germany takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Federal Chancellor is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ...



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The Bundesrat ("federal council") is the representation of the 16 Federal States (Länder) of Germany at the federal level. It has its seat at the former Prussian Herrenhaus (House of Lords) in Berlin. The Bundestag (Federal Diet) is the parliament of Germany. ... The Federal Convention (Bundesversammlung) is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convoked only for the purpose of selecting the Bundespräsident every five years. ... The Bundesverfassungsgericht The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) is a special court established by the German constitutional document, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). ... The Bundesgerichtshof or BGH (German for federal court) is the highest Germany for civil and criminal lawsuits. ... The President of Germany (German: Bundespräsident) is Germanys head of state. ... Horst Köhler ( â–¶(?), born 22 February 1943) is the current President of Germany. ... The head of government of Germany has been known as the Chancellor (German: Kanzler) ever since the creation of the post. ... (pronounced //) (born in Hamburg, Germany on July 17, 1954) is the current Chancellor of Germany. ... The Cabinet of Germany (German: Bundeskabinett, Bundesregierung) is the chief executive body of the Federal Republic of Germany. ... Germany is a Federal Republic made up of 16 States, known in German as Länder (singular Land). ... There are 439 German districts (Kreise), administrative units in Germany. ... Elections in Germany gives information on election and election results in Germany, including elections to the Federal Diet (the lower house of the federal parliament), the Landtage of the various states, and local elections. ... This is a list of political parties in Germany. ... Germany is seen to be one of the democratic nations in Europe. ... The Federal Republic of Germany is a Central European country and member of the European Union, Group of 8 and NATO (among others). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Image File history File links European_flag. ... Information on politics by country is available for every country, including both de jure and de facto independent states, inhabited dependent territories, as well as areas of special sovereignty. ... Germany is a Federal Republic made up of 16 States, known in German as Länder (singular Land). ... Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 Prussia (German: ; Latin: Borussia, Prutenia; Lithuanian: ; Polish: ; Old Prussian: PrÅ«sa) was, most recently, a historic state originating in East Prussia, an area which for centuries had substantial influence on German and European history. ... The German term Herrenhaus is equivalent to the English House of Lords and describes roughly similar institutions as the English House of Lords in German-speaking countries. ... Berlin is the capital city and a state of Germany. ...

Contents

Composition

The composition of the Bundesrat is different from other legislative bodies representing states (such as the Australian Senate or the U.S. Senate). First, its members are not elected, neither by popular vote nor by the state parliaments, but are members of the state cabinets which appoint them and can remove them anytime. Normaly, a state delegation is headed by the respective minister-president. Second, the states are not represented by an equal number of delegates, since the population of the respective state is a factor, as the following table shows. Australian Senate chamber Entrance to the Senate The Senate is the upper of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia. ... Seal of the U.S. Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. ... A minister-president (Ministerpräsident) is the head of government of a German federal state; the office corresponds to the governorship of a state in the United States. ...

Inhabitants Seats States Governing parties (November 2006)
> 7 million 6 Baden-Württemberg
Bavaria
Lower Saxony
North Rhine-Westphalia
CDU / FDP
CSU
CDU / FDP
CDU / FDP
6-7 million 5 Hesse CDU
2-6 million 4 Berlin
Brandenburg
Rhineland-Palatinate
Saxony
Saxony-Anhalt
Schleswig-Holstein
Thuringia
SPD / Left Party
SPD / CDU
SPD
CDU / SPD
CDU / SPD
CDU / SPD
CDU
< 2 million 3 Bremen
Hamburg
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Saarland
SPD / CDU
CDU
SPD / CDU
CDU
Total 69

What the table actually shows is the number of votes each state has in the Bundesrat, so the votes cast are not the votes of the delegates, but of the state. The state cabinet then may appoint as much delegates as the state has votes, but is under no obligation to do so; it can restrict the state delegation even to one single delegate. However, this does not effect the influence of the respective state in the Bundesrat, due to its unusual voting system (see below). Anyway, this system of unequal representation, although designed to reflect Land populations more accurately than equal representation would, in fact still affords greater representation per inhabitant to the smaller Länder. Since state elections are not coordinated across Germany and can occur at any time, the majority distributions in the Bundesrat can change after any such election. Baden-Württemberg is a federal state in southwestern Germany to the east of the Upper Rhine. ... The Free State of Bavaria  (German: Freistaat Bayern), with an area of 70,553 km² (27,241 square miles) and 12. ... With an area of 47,618 km and nearly eight million inhabitants, Lower Saxony (German Niedersachsen) lies in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the countrys sixteen Bundesl nder (federal states). ... North Rhine-Westphalia (German: Nordrhein-Westfalen, usually shortened to: NRW) is - in population and economic output - the largest Federal State of Germany. ... This article needs cleanup. ... The Free Democratic Party (Freie Demokratische Partei - FDP) is a liberal political party in Germany. ... The Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU – ) is a conservative political party in Germany. ... Hesse (German: Hessen) is a state of Germany with an area of 21,110 km² and just over six million inhabitants. ... Berlin is the capital city and a state of Germany. ... Brandenburg (Lower Sorbian: Bramborska; Upper Sorbian: Braniborska) is one of Germanys sixteen Bundesländer (federal states) and lies in the east of the country. ... The Rhenish Palatinate (Rheinpfalz, sometimes Lower Palatinate or Niederpfalz) occupies rather more than a quarter of the German Bundesland (federal state) of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) and contains the towns of Ludwigshafen, Kaiserslautern, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Pirmasens, Landau and Speyer. ... The Free State of Saxony (German: Freistaat Sachsen; Sorbian: Swobodny Stat Sakska) has a land area of 18,413 km² and a population of 4. ... With an area of 20,447 km² and a population of 2. ... Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the 16 Bundesländer in Germany. ... The Republic of Thuringia (German: Freistaat Thüringen) lies in central Germany and is among the smaller of the countrys sixteen Bundesländer (federal states), being eleventh in size with an area of 16,200 km² and twelfth most populous with 2. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with SPD (disambiguation). ... The Left Party (In German: , officially with a period at the end), formerly Party of Democratic Socialism (Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus, PDS) is a left-wing socialist political party in Germany. ... The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (official name; German: Freie Hansestadt Bremen) is the smallest of Germanys 16 Federal States (Bundesländer). ... Hamburgs motto: May the posterity endeavour with dignity to conserve the freedom, which the forefathers acquired. ... Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (German: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) is a Bundesland (federal state) in northern Germany. ... Saarland is one of the 16 states of Germany. ...

[discuss] – [edit]
Composition of the German Bundesrat after the last State elections, September 17, 2006
Political profile of State governments
CDU/FDP 18
CDU 15
CDU/SPD 12
SPD/CDU 10
SPD/Left Party 4
CSU 6
SPD 4
Total 69

The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU - Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) is the largest conservative political party in Germany. ... The Free Democratic Party (Freie Demokratische Partei - FDP) is a liberal political party in Germany. ... The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU - Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) is the largest conservative political party in Germany. ... The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU - Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) is the largest conservative political party in Germany. ... SPD redirects here. ... SPD redirects here. ... The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU - Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) is the largest conservative political party in Germany. ... SPD redirects here. ... The Left Party (In German: , officially with a period at the end), formerly Party of Democratic Socialism (Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus, PDS) is a left-wing socialist political party in Germany. ... The Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU – ) is a conservative political party in Germany. ... SPD redirects here. ...

Voting

In contrast to many other legislative bodies, the delegates to the Bundesrat from any one state are required to cast the votes of the state as a bloc (since the votes are not ones of the respective delegate). Furthermore, it is possible (and quite custom), that only one of the delegates (the Stimmführer or "leader of the votes", normally the minister-president) casts all votes the respective state has, even if the other members of the delegation are present in the chamber. Since coalition governments are very common in state governments, many states choose to abstain if their coalition cannot agree on a position. This is a compromise only on first sight; since every decision of the Bundesrat requires an absolute majority of the votes of all members, abstaining means, in effect, casting a "nay" vote. Conflict between delegation members may lead to a split vote, which invalidates the respective state's entire vote. The delegates (or their leader) are not allowed to reconsider and cast a unanimous vote. During a vote on a immigration bill in 2002, the Brandenburg delegation split, due to such a conflict among the coalition partners. This caused much controversy and ultimately, the law was declared void by the German Constitutional Court since without the votes from Brandenburg, the bill had not get a majority. A coalition government, or coalition cabinet, is a cabinet in parliamentary government in which several parties cooperate. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Brandenburg (Lower Sorbian: Bramborska; Upper Sorbian: Braniborska) is one of Germanys sixteen Bundesländer (federal states) and lies in the east of the country. ... The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht) is a special court established by the German constitution, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). ...


Presidency

Main article: President of the Bundesrat In Germany, the President of the Bundesrat (German: Bundesratspräsident) is the bodys chairperson or speaker. ...


The chairperson or speaker is the President of the Bundesrat (Bundesratspräsident). By tradition, the presidency rotates annually among the minister-presidents of each of the federal Länder (states). The President of the Bundesrat convenes and chairs plenary sessions of the body and is formally responsible for representing the Federal Republic in the Bundesrat. He or she is aided by three vice-presidents who play an advisory role and deputise in the president's absence. The four together make up the Bundesrat's praesidium. A minister-president (Ministerpräsident) is the head of government of a German federal state; the office corresponds to the governorship of a state in the United States. ... Germany is a Federal Republic made up of 16 States, known in German as Länder (singular Land). ...


Organizational structure

The Prussian House of Lords in the Leipziger Straße, seat of the Bundesrat.
Enlarge
The Prussian House of Lords in the Leipziger Straße, seat of the Bundesrat.

Because the Bundesrat is so much smaller than the Bundestag, and also because it is more or less an organized cooperation of Land governments rather than a real parliament, it does not require the extensive organizational structure of the lower house. The Bundesrat typically schedules plenary sessions once a month for the purpose of voting on legislation prepared in committee. In comparison, the Bundestag conducts about fifty plenary sessions a year. The voting Bundesrat delegates themselves rarely attend committee sessions; instead, they delegate that responsibility to civil servants from their ministries, as allowed for in the Basic Law. The delegates themselves tend to spend most of their time in their state capitals, rather than in the federal capital. The delegations are supported by the Landesvertretungen, which function basically as embassies of the states in the federal capital. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1975x1025, 536 KB) further Information: Andreas Steinhoff Please send me a notification if you use the picture: wikibilder. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1975x1025, 536 KB) further Information: Andreas Steinhoff Please send me a notification if you use the picture: wikibilder. ... A diplomatic mission is a group of people from one nation state present in another nation state to represent the sending state in the receiving State. ...


Tasks

The legislative authority of the Bundesrat is subordinate to that of the Bundestag, but it nonetheless plays a vital legislative role. The federal government must present all its legislative initiatives first to the Bundesrat; only thereafter can a proposal be passed to the Bundestag. Further, the Bundesrat must approve all legislation affecting policy areas for which the Basic Law grants the Länder concurrent powers and for which the Länder must administer federal regulations. The Bundesrat has increased its legislative responsibilities over time by successfully arguing for a broad, rather than a narrow, interpretation of what constitutes the range of legislation affecting Land interests. In 1949 only 10 percent of all federal laws, namely, those directly affecting the Länder, required Bundesrat approval. In 1993 close to 60 percent of federal legislation required the Bundesrat's assent. The Basic Law also provides the Bundesrat with an absolute veto of such legislation. Constitutional changes require a majority of 2/3 of all votes, thus giving the Bundesrat an absolute veto against constitutional change. Against all other legislation the Bundesrat has a suspensive veto, which can be overridden by passing the law again. As an added provision, a law vetoed with a majority of 2/3 must be passed again with a majority of 2/3 in the other chamber. If the absolute veto is used, either chamber or the government can convene a joint committee to negotiate a compromise. That compromise cannot be amended and both chambers are required to hold a final vote on the compromise as is.


The political power of the absolute veto is particularly evident when the opposition party or parties in the Bundestag have a majority in the Bundesrat, which has been the case almost constantly since 1991. Whenever this happens, the opposition can threaten the government's legislative program. Such a division of authority can complicate the process of governing when the major parties disagree, and, unlike the Bundestag, the Bundesrat cannot be dissolved under any circumstances. Such stalemates are not unlike those that may be experienced under cohabitation in other countries. Cohabitation in government occurs in semi-presidential systems, such as Frances system, when the President and the Prime Minister come from different political parties. ...


Criticisms of the current legislative system

Some observers emphasize that different majorities in the two chambers ensure that all legislation, when approved, has the support of a broad political spectrum--a particularly valuable attribute in the aftermath of unification, when consensus on critical policy decisions is vital. The formal representation of the Länder in the federal government through the Bundesrat provides an obvious forum for the coordination of policy between the Länder and the federal government. The need for such coordination, particularly given the specific, crucial needs of the eastern Länder, has become only more important.


It could also be argued that the Bundesrat serves as a control mechanism on the Bundestag in the sense of a system of checks and balances. Since the executive and legislative functions are closely intertwined in any parliamentary system, the Bundesrat's ability to revisit and slow down legislative processes could be seen as making up for that loss of separation. The doctrine and practice of dispersing political power and creating mutual accountability between political entities such as the courts, the president or prime minister, the legislature, and the citizens. ...


Other observers claim that the opposing majorities lead to an increase in backroom politics, where small groups of high-tier leaders make all the important decisions and the Bundestag representatives only have a choice between agreeing with them or not getting anything done at all. The German "Federalism Commission" was looking into this issue, among others. There have been frequent suggestions of replacing the Bundesrat with a US-style elected Senate, which would be elected at the same date as the Bundestag. This is hoped to increase the institution's popularity, reduce Land bureaucracy influence on legislation, make opposing majorities less likely, make the legislative process more transparent, and generally set a new standard of democratic, rather than bureaucratic leadership. It remains to be seen if existing party leaderships are willing to support such a step, however.


History

The German Bundesrat was first founded, togehter with the second German Empire, in 1871, replacing a body of the same name and with the same functions in the North German Confederation. With the Weimar Constitution, it was replaced in 1919 by the Reichsrat (1919-1934). The delegates to the original Bundesrat as those to the Reichsrat, while appointed by the state governments just as today, usually were high-ranking civil servants, not cabinet members. The original Bundesrat was very powerfull: Every bill needed its consent, making it a second chamber equal to the popularily elected Reichstag. The Reichsrat had considerably less influence, since it only could veto bills, and then could be overruled by the Reichstag. Motto: Gott mit Uns (German: God with us”) Anthem: Heil dir im Siegerkranz (unofficial) Territory of the German Empire in 1914, prior to World War I   Capital Berlin Language(s) German (official) Polish (Posen, Upper Silesia, Masuria) French (Alsace-Lorraine) Government Constitutional monarchy Emperor  - 1871-1888 William I  - 1888 Frederick... 1871 (MDCCCLXXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... North German Federation (in German, Norddeutscher Bund), came into existence in 1867, following the dissolution of the German Confederation. ... Anthem: Das Lied der Deutschen The Länder of Germany during the Weimar Republic, with the Free State of Prussia (Freistaat Preußen) as the largest   Capital Berlin Language(s) German Government Republic President  - 1919-1925 Friedrich Ebert  - 1925-1933 Paul von Hindenburg Chancellor  - 1919 Philipp Scheidemann  - 1933 Adolf Hitler... 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The Reichsrat was one of the two legislative bodies in Germany under the Weimar constitution, the other one being the Reichstag. ... The Reichstag is both an institutional assembly and a specific building. ...


In 1871, the original members were:

State
Notes
Votes
Prussia
(including states annexed in 1866)
17
Bavaria
6
Saxony
4
Württemberg
4
Baden
3
Hessen
3
Alsace-Lorraine
from 1911 it was a Reichsland
3
Mecklenburg-Schwerin
2
Brunswick-Lüneburg
2
17 other small states
each with 1 vote
17

Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 Prussia (German: ; Latin: Borussia, Prutenia; Lithuanian: ; Polish: ; Old Prussian: PrÅ«sa) was, most recently, a historic state originating in East Prussia, an area which for centuries had substantial influence on German and European history. ... 1866 (MDCCCLXVI) is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... The Free State of Bavaria  (German: Freistaat Bayern), with an area of 70,553 km² (27,241 square miles) and 12. ... The Free State of Saxony (German: Freistaat Sachsen; Sorbian: Swobodny Stat Sakska) has a land area of 18,413 km² and a population of 4. ... Arms of the Kingdom of Württemberg The title of this article contains the character ü. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Wuerttemberg. ... For other uses, see Baden (disambiguation). ... Hesse is also the name of the German writer Hermann Hesse, as well as the German mathematician Otto Hesse. ... Imperial Province of Elsaß-Lothringen Alsace-Lorraine (French: Alsace-Lorraine; German: Elsaß-Lothringen) was a territory disputed between the nation states of France and Germany. ... 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ... Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a Duchy (from 1815 a Grand Duchy) in northeastern Germany, formed by a partition of the Duchy of Mecklenburg. ... Brunswick-Lüneburg was an historical state within the Holy Roman Empire. ...

See also

Politics of Germany takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Federal Chancellor is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ... The Bundestag (Federal Diet) is the parliament of Germany. ...

External links

  • Bundesrat (Germany)
  • Members of the Bundesrat (German wikipedia)


  Results from FactBites:
 
Germany. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05 (7504 words)
Germany is a federal republic whose 16 states have their own constitutions, legislatures, and governments, which can pass laws on all matters except those that are the exclusive right of the federal government such as defense, foreign affairs, and finance.
The chief theater of the war, Germany was reduced to misery and starvation, lost a large part of its population, and became, as a result of the Peace of Westphalia (1648; see Westphalia, Peace of), a loose confederation of petty principalities under the nominal suzerainty of the emperor.
In Mar., 1936, Germany remilitarized the Rhineland in violation of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact.
Bundesrat of Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1506 words)
The Bundesrat ("federal council") is the representation of the 16 Federal States (Länder) of Germany at the federal level.
The President of the Bundesrat convenes and chairs plenary sessions of the body and is formally responsible for representing the Federal Republic in the Bundesrat.
The German Bundesrat was first founded, togehter with the second German Empire, in 1871, replacing a body of the same name and with the same functions in the North German Confederation.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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