Bundesversammlung (Germany)

Bundesversammlung (Germany)

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Bundesversammlung (Germany)'
Start a new discussion about 'Bundesversammlung (Germany)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Federal Convention (also known as the Federal Assembly; ) is a special body in the institutional system of Germany
Politics of Germany
The Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic, based on representative democracy. The Chancellor is the head of government, while the President of Germany is the head of state, which is a ceremonial role but with substantial reserve powers.Executive power is vested in the...

, convened solely for the purpose of electing the German Federal President (Bundespräsident
President of Germany
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...

), either every five years or within 30 days of a president's resignation, death or removal from office.

The Bundesversammlung includes the entire membership of the Bundestag
Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

, and an equal number of state delegates selected by the state
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

 or 'Länder' parliaments specifically for this purpose, proportional to their population. The Länder representatives are not solely politicians: it is customary for some states to nominate celebrities
Celebrity
A celebrity, also referred to as a celeb in popular culture, is a person who has a prominent profile and commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media...

 or other prominent and notable people. From the time of their nomination until the closing of the session of the Federal Convention its members enjoy parliamentary immunity with regard to prosecution by public authorities in very much the same way as members of the Bundestag
Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

 do.

Since 1979, the Bundesversammlung has traditionally met on 23 May the anniversary of the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 and the coming-into-force of the Basic Law
Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is the constitution of Germany. It was formally approved on 8 May 1949, and, with the signature of the Allies of World War II on 12 May, came into effect on 23 May, as the constitution of those states of West Germany that were initially included...

 in 1949. It is chaired by the President of the Bundestag
President of the Bundestag
The President of the Bundestag presides over the sessions of the Bundestag, the parliament of Germany, with functions similar to that of a speaker in other countries. In the German order of precedence, his office is ranked second after the President and before the Chancellor...

 and is dissolved once the elected President declares that he accepts his election, which decision he can delay for up to two days (however, no president has ever done so).

Each member of the Bundesversammlung may suggest candidates for the office of the Federal President. In practice however only the candidates designated in advance by the parliamentary groups are suggested.

The procedure of the election
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

 of the Bundespräsident consists of a maximum of three secret votes by written ballot
Ballot
A ballot is a device used to record choices made by voters. Each voter uses one ballot, and ballots are not shared. In the simplest elections, a ballot may be a simple scrap of paper on which each voter writes in the name of a candidate, but governmental elections use pre-printed to protect the...

. If one of the first two votes ends with an absolute majority for one of the candidates, this candidate is elected immediately. If the first two votes do not lead to an absolute majority, a plurality is sufficient in the third and final vote. According to the Grundgesetz
Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is the constitution of Germany. It was formally approved on 8 May 1949, and, with the signature of the Allies of World War II on 12 May, came into effect on 23 May, as the constitution of those states of West Germany that were initially included...

, the President is elected without a debate at the Federal Convention. The candidates are usually nominated by one or more parties, but do not generally run a campaign. The candidate whose party or parties have the majority in the Bundestag is considered to be the likely winner and, in the main, has achieved the necessary majority - however, the Assembly can be turned around by state delegates (if the Bundestag opposition has done well in state elections), this can indicate the result of an upcoming general eletion (If you can create a president, you can form a government). The Speaker of the Bundestag closes the session of the Bundesversammlung once the elected candidate accepts.

The last assembly of the Bundesversammlung was held on 30 June 2010, when Christian Wulff
Christian Wulff
Christian Wilhelm Walter Wulff is the President of Germany and a politician of the Christian Democratic Union. He was elected President on 2010 and publicly swore the oath of office on . A lawyer by profession, he served as Premier of the state of Lower Saxony from 2003 to 2010.-Early life and...

 was elected as president with an absolute majority of 625 out of 1242 votes.

On 12 September 1949, the first Bundesversammlung met in Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

. From 1954-1969 the Bundesversammlung was convened at the Ostpreußenhalle in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, leading to protests from the German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

  on each occasion it met. As a consequence, on 5 March 1969, the Soviet Union overflew the venue (and West Berlin) with MiG-21 war planes. From 1974 to 1989, the Bundesversammlung met in the Beethovenhalle in Bonn. Since 1994 the meeting place has been the Reichstag building in Berlin.

External links