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The Federal Convention (also known as the Federal Assembly; German: Bundesversammlung) is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convened solely for the purpose of electing the German Federal President (Bundespräsident) every five years.

The Bundesversammlung includes the entire membership of the Bundestag, and an equal number of state delegates selected by the state or 'Länder' parliaments specifically for this purpose, proportional to their population.[1] The Länder representatives are not solely politicians: it is customary for the some states to nominate celebrities 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 do.

Since 1979, the Bundesversammlung has traditionally met on May 23, the anniversary of the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany and the coming-into-force of the Basic Law in 1949. It is chaired by the President of the Bundestag 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 of the Bundespräsident consists of a maximum of three secret votes by written ballot. 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, 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. 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 May 23, 2009, when Horst Köhler was reelected as president by the minimal necessary majority of 613 out of 1224 votes.

On the 12th September 1949, the first Bundesversammlung met in Bonn. From 1954-1969 the Bundesversammlung was convened at the Ostpreußenhalle in Berlin, leading to protests from the German Democratic Republic 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.

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