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President of the German Bundesrat: Wikis


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In Germany, the President of the Bundesrat (German: Bundesratspräsident) is the chairperson or speaker of the Bundesrat. The presidency of the Bundesrat rotates among the minister-presidents of each of the federal Länder (states) on an annual basis. As well as acting as a chairperson the President of the Bundesrat acts as deputy, or vice president, to the Federal President.

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 constitute the Präsidium of the Bundesrat.



The President of the Bundesrat usually is elected on the 1 November in a given year, and serves until the 31 October in the year that follows. The Basic Law merely provides, in Article 52.1, that "the Bundesrat elects its President for one year". However, in practice the position rotates among all Länder equally, in accordance with a predetermined order. The order in which the position rotates from one Land to another is altered periodically and is determined by population, the presidency descending in order from the most populous states to the least.

If the head of government of a Land changes during the term of the President of the Bundesrat then the presidency passes to the new minister-president for the remainder of its one year duration. This occurred in April 1999 when Roland Koch replaced Hans Eichel as minister-president of Hesse. The current order of rotation of the presidency of the Bundesrat is as follows:

  1. North Rhine-Westphalia
  2. Bavaria
  3. Baden-Württemberg
  4. Lower Saxony
  5. Hesse
  6. Saxony
  7. Rhineland-Palatinate
  8. Berlin
  9. Saxony-Anhalt
  10. Thuringia
  11. Brandenburg
  12. Schleswig-Holstein
  13. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  14. Hamburg
  15. Saarland
  16. Bremen

Deputy to the Federal President

Article 57 of the Basic Law provides that:

If the Federal President is unable to perform his duties, or if his office falls prematurely vacant, the President of the Bundesrat shall exercise his powers.

If the Federal President is outside of the country, or the position is vacant, the President of the Bundesrat fills in as acting head of state. While doing so he or she does not continue to exercise the role of chair of the Bundesrat. If the president dies, or is removed from office, a successor is elected within thirty days. However since the establishment of the office this has never occurred.

If the Federal President is abroad on a state visit the President of the Bundesrat does not assume all of the Federal President's responsibilities but may "deputise" for him or her, performing on the Federal President's behalf merely those tasks that require his or her physical presence, such as the signing of documents.

List of presidents

See also


  1. ^ Otto Suhr of the SPD in Berlin was elected President of the Bundesrat in July 1957 but died in August, before his term of office began.

External links



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