This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (February 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
President of the
Bundesrat of the Federal Republic of Germany
Incumbent
Bodo Ramelow

since 1 November 2021
Legislative Branch of the
German Federal Government
SeatBerlin, Germany
AppointerBundesrat of Germany
Term lengthOne year
Constituting instrumentGerman Basic Law
Inaugural holderKarl Arnold
Formation1949
WebsiteOfficial Website

In Germany, the president of the Bundesrat or president of the Federal Council (German: Bundesratspräsident) is the chairperson or speaker of the Bundesrat (Federal Council). He or she is elected by the Bundesrat for a term of one year (usually from November 1 to October 31 in the next year). Traditionally, the presidency of the Bundesrat rotates among the leaders of the sixteen state governments. This is however only an established practice; theoretically the Bundesrat is free to elect any member it chooses, and a president could also be re-elected (which has happened once, in 1957). As well as acting as a chairperson, the president of the Bundesrat is ex officio deputy of the president of Germany. The President of the German Bundesrat is 4th in the German order of precedence. In addition, the main celebration of German Unity Day is traditionally held in the state that holds the presidency.

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 two vice presidents who play an advisory role and deputise in the president's absence. The three together constitute the presidium of the Bundesrat.

The current president of the Bundesrat is Bodo Ramelow, the Minister President of Thuringia, whose one-year term started on 1 November 2021.

Election

The Basic Law provides that "the Bundesrat elects its President for one year" (Art. 52.1). In order to be elected, a nominee needs a majority of votes in the Bundesrat (currently 35 of 69).

In practice the position rotates among the states equally, following a constitutional convention known as the “Königstein agreement” (Königsteiner Vereinbarung). The position rotates from one state to another in an order determined by population, the presidency descending from the most populous state to the least. The order is updated based on the newest census-data everytime a rotation has been completed.

The Königsstein agreement also states that, if the sitting President of the Bundesrat exits his office as Minister President of his or her state (for example, if they loses a state election, dies or resigns from his office) the new Minister President of that state is elected President of the Bundesrat subsequently, but only to complete his or her predecessors term; the last time this occurred was in April 1999, when Hans Eichel, President of the Bundesrat and Minister President of Hesse, had lost the 1999 Hesse state election and his successor Roland Koch served the end of his term until October 1999. 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. Schleswig-Holstein
  10. Brandenburg
  11. Saxony-Anhalt
  12. Thuringia
  13. Hamburg
  14. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  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 office of the Federal President falls vacant, the President of the Bundesrat fills in as acting head of state. If the president resigns, dies, or is removed from office, a successor is elected within thirty days.

Three Presidents of the Bundesrat have served as acting head of state:

  1. Karl Arnold (from 7 September 1949 to 12 September 1949 after he was elected as President of the Bundesrat and before Theodor Heuss was elected as the first President of Germany. With a tenure of only six days he is yet the shortest serving head of state in German history)
  2. Jens Böhrnsen (from 31 May 2010 to 30 June 2010 after the resignation of Horst Köhler and before the election of Christian Wulff)
  3. Horst Seehofer (from 17 February 2012 to 18 March 2012 after the resignation of Christian Wulff and before the election of Joachim Gauck)

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

Political Party

  CDU   SPD   CSU   FDP   Green   Left


No. Portrait President of the Bundesrat Took office Left office Time in office Party State
1
Arnold, KarlKarl Arnold
(1901–1958)
7 September 19498 September 19501 year, 1 dayCDUNorth Rhine-Westphalia
2
Ehard, HansHans Ehard
(1887–1980)
8 September 19507 September 1951364 daysCSUBavaria
3
Kopf, HinrichHinrich Wilhelm Kopf
(1893–1961)
7 September 19516 September 1952365 daysSPDLower Saxony
4
Maier, ReinholdReinhold Maier
(1889–1971)
7 September 19526 September 1953364 daysFDPBaden-Württemberg
5
Zinn, GeorgGeorg August Zinn
(1901–1976)
7 September 19536 September 1954364 daysSPDHesse
6
Altmeier, PeterPeter Altmeier
(1899–1977)
7 September 19546 September 1955364 daysCDURhineland-Palatinate
7
Hassel, KaiKai-Uwe von Hassel
(1913–1997)
7 September 19556 September 1956365 daysCDUSchleswig-Holstein
8
Sieveking, KurtKurt Sieveking
(1897–1986)
7 September 195631 October 1957[a]1 year, 54 daysCDUHamburg
9
Brandt, WillyWilly Brandt
(1913–1992)
1 November 195731 October 1958364 daysSPDWest Berlin
10
Kaisen, WilhelmWilhelm Kaisen
(1887–1979)
1 November 195831 October 1959364 daysSPDBremen
11
Röder, FranzFranz Josef Röder
(1909–1979)
1 November 195931 October 1960365 daysCDUSaarland
12
Meyers, FranzFranz Meyers
(1908–2002)
1 November 196031 October 1961365 daysCDUNorth Rhine-Westphalia
13
(2)
Ehard, HansHans Ehard
(1887–1980)
1 November 196131 October 1962364 daysCSUBavaria
14
Kiesinger, KurtKurt Georg Kiesinger
(1904–1988)
1 November 196231 October 1963364 daysCDUBaden-Württemberg
15
Diederichs, GeorgGeorg Diederichs
(1900–1983)
1 November 196331 October 1964364 daysSPDLower Saxony
16
(5)
Zinn, GeorgGeorg August Zinn
(1901–1976)
1 November 196431 October 1965364 daysSPDHesse
17
(6)
Altmeier, PeterPeter Altmeier
(1899–1977)
1 November 196531 October 1966364 daysCDURhineland-Palatinate
18
Lemke, HelmutHelmut Lemke
(1907–1990)
1 November 196631 October 1967364 daysCDUSchleswig-Holstein
19
Schütz, KlausKlaus Schütz
(1926–2012)
1 November 196731 October 1968365 daysSPDWest Berlin
20
Weichmann, HerbertHerbert Weichmann
(1896–1983)
1 November 196831 October 1969364 daysSPDHamburg
21
(11)
Röder, FranzFranz Josef Röder
(1909–1979)
1 November 196931 October 1970364 daysCDUSaarland
22
Koschnick, HansHans Koschnick
(1929–2016)
1 November 197031 October 1971364 daysSPDBremen
23
Kühn, HeinzHeinz Kühn
(1912–1992)
1 November 197131 October 1972365 daysSPDNorth Rhine-Westphalia
24
Goppel, AlfonsAlfons Goppel
(1905–1991)
1 November 197231 October 1973364 daysCSUBavaria
25
Filbinger, HansHans Filbinger
(1913–2007)
1 November 197331 October 1974364 daysCDUBaden-Württemberg
26
Kubel, AlfredAlfred Kubel
(1909–1999)
1 November 197431 October 1975364 daysSPDLower Saxony
27
Osswald, AlbertAlbert Osswald
(1919–1996)
1 November 197520 October 1976
(membership ended)[b]
354 daysSPDHesse
The office was vacant from 20 October to 3 December 1976.
28
Vogel, BernhardBernhard Vogel
(born 1932)
3 December 197631 October 1977321 daysCDURhineland-Palatinate
29
Stoltenberg, GerhardGerhard Stoltenberg
(1928–2001)
1 November 197731 October 1978364 daysCDUSchleswig-Holstein
30
Stobbe, DietrichDietrich Stobbe
(1938–2011)
1 November 197831 October 1979364 daysSPDWest Berlin
31
Klose, HansHans-Ulrich Klose
(born 1937)
1 November 197931 October 1980365 daysSPDHamburg
32
Zeyer, WernerWerner Zeyer
(1929–2000)
1 November 198031 October 1981364 daysCDUSaarland
33
(22)
Koschnick, HansHans Koschnick
(1929–2016)
1 November 198131 October 1982364 daysSPDBremen
34
Rau, JohannesJohannes Rau
(1931–2006)
1 November 198231 October 1983364 daysSPDNorth Rhine-Westphalia
35
Strauß, FranzFranz Josef Strauss
(1915–1988)
1 November 198331 October 1984365 daysCSUBavaria
36
Späth, LotharLothar Späth
(1937–2016)
1 November 198431 October 1985364 daysCDUBaden-Württemberg
37
Albrecht, ErnstErnst Albrecht
(1930–2014)
1 November 198531 October 1986364 daysCDULower Saxony
38
Börner, HolgerHolger Börner
(1931–2006)
1 November 198624 April 1987
(membership ended)[c]
174 daysSPDHesse
The office was vacant from 24 April to 15 May 1987.
39
Wallmann, WalterWalter Wallmann
(1932–2013)
15 May 198731 October 1987169 daysCDUHesse
40
(28)
Vogel, BernhardBernhard Vogel
(born 1932)
1 November 198731 October 1988365 daysCDURhineland-Palatinate
41
Engholm, BjörnBjörn Engholm
(born 1939)
1 November 198831 October 1989364 daysSPDSchleswig-Holstein
42
Momper, WalterWalter Momper
(born 1945)
1 November 198931 October 1990364 daysSPDWest Berlin
(until 2 October 1990)
Berlin
(3–31 October 1990)
43
Voscherau, HenningHenning Voscherau
(1941–2016)
1 November 199031 October 1991364 daysSPDHamburg
44
Gomolka, AlfredAlfred Gomolka
(1942–2020)
1 November 199119 March 1992
(membership ended)[d]
139 daysCDUMecklenburg-Vorpommern
The office was vacant from 19 March to 15 May 1992.
45
Seite, BerndtBerndt Seite
(born 1940)
15 May 199231 October 1992169 daysCDUMecklenburg-Vorpommern
46
Lafontaine, OskarOskar Lafontaine
(born 1943)
1 November 199231 October 1993364 daysSPDSaarland
47
Wedemeier, KlausKlaus Wedemeier
(born 1944)
1 November 199331 October 1994364 daysSPDBremen
48
(34)
Rau, JohannesJohannes Rau
(1931–2006)
1 November 199431 October 1995364 daysSPDNorth Rhine-Westphalia
49
Stoiber, EdmundEdmund Stoiber
(born 1941)
1 November 199531 October 1996365 daysCSUBavaria
50
Teufel, ErwinErwin Teufel
(born 1939)
1 November 199631 October 1997364 daysCDUBaden-Württemberg
51
Schröder, GerhardGerhard Schröder
(born 1944)
1 November 199727 October 1998
(resigned to become Chancellor)[e]
360 daysSPDLower Saxony
The office was vacant from 27 October to 1 November 1998.
52
Eichel, HansHans Eichel
(born 1941)
1 November 19987 April 1999
(membership ended)[f]
157 daysSPDHesse
The office was vacant from 7 April to 30 April 1999.
53
Koch, RolandRoland Koch
(born 1958)
30 April 199931 October 1999184 daysCDUHesse
54
Biedenkopf, KurtKurt Biedenkopf
(1930–2021)
1 November 199931 October 2000365 daysCDUSaxony
55
Beck, KurtKurt Beck
(born 1949)
1 November 200031 October 2001364 daysSPDRhineland-Palatinate
56
Wowereit, KlausKlaus Wowereit
(born 1953)
1 November 200131 October 2002364 daysSPDBerlin
57
Böhmer, WolfgangWolfgang Böhmer
(born 1936)
1 November 200231 October 2003364 daysCDUSaxony-Anhalt
58
Althaus, DieterDieter Althaus
(born 1958)
1 November 200331 October 2004365 daysCDUThuringia
59
Platzeck, MatthiasMatthias Platzeck
(born 1953)
1 November 200431 October 2005364 daysSPDBrandenburg
60
Carstensen, PeterPeter Harry Carstensen
(born 1947)
1 November 200531 October 2006364 daysCDUSchleswig-Holstein
61
Ringstorff, HaraldHarald Ringstorff
(1939–2020)
1 November 200631 October 2007364 daysSPDMecklenburg-Vorpommern
62
Beust, OleOle von Beust
(born 1955)
1 November 200731 October 2008365 daysCDUHamburg
63
Müller, PeterPeter Müller
(born 1955)
1 November 200831 October 2009364 daysCDUSaarland
64
Böhrnsen, JensJens Böhrnsen
(born 1949)
1 November 200931 October 2010364 daysSPDBremen
65
Kraft, HanneloreHannelore Kraft
(born 1961)
1 November 201031 October 2011364 daysSPDNorth Rhine-Westphalia
66
Seehofer, HorstHorst Seehofer
(born 1949)
1 November 201131 October 2012365 daysCSUBavaria
67
Kretschmann, WinfriedWinfried Kretschmann
(born 1948)
1 November 201231 October 2013364 daysGreenBaden-Württemberg
68
Weil, StephanStephan Weil
(born 1958)
1 November 201331 October 2014364 daysSPDLower Saxony
69
Bouffier, VolkerVolker Bouffier
(born 1951)
1 November 201431 October 2015364 daysCDUHesse
70
Tillich, StanislawStanislaw Tillich
(born 1959)
1 November 201531 October 2016365 daysCDUSaxony
71
Dreyer, MaluMalu Dreyer
(born 1961)
1 November 201631 October 2017364 daysSPDRhineland-Palatinate
72
Müller, MichaelMichael Müller
(born 1964)
1 November 201731 October 2018364 daysSPDBerlin
73
Günther, DanielDaniel Günther
(born 1973)
1 November 201831 October 2019364 daysCDUSchleswig-Holstein
74
Woidke, DietmarDietmar Woidke
(born 1961)
1 November 201931 October 2020365 daysSPDBrandenburg
75
Haseloff, ReinerReiner Haseloff
(born 1954)
1 November 202031 October 2021364 daysCDUSaxony-Anhalt
76
Ramelow, BodoBodo Ramelow
(born 1956)
1 November 2021Incumbent165 daysLeftThuringia

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Otto Suhr was elected as President of the Bundesrat in July 1957 but died on 30 August 1957, before his term of office began. In order to prevent an imminent vacancy in the presidency at the beginning of the new fiscal year on September 7, 1957, the incumbent, the First Mayor of Hamburg Kurt Sieveking was then re-elected as President of the Bundesrat on 6 September 1957. In its 184th session on 25 October 1957, the Bundesrat set a new fiscal year period (1 November 1 to 31 October) and elected Willy Brandt as President of the German Bundesrat for the fiscal year beginning on 1 November 1957.
  2. ^ On October 20, 1976, Albert Osswald had to leave the Hessian state government and thus the Bundesrat.
  3. ^ On 24 April 1987, Holger Börner had to leave the Hessian state government and thus the Bundesrat.
  4. ^ On 19 March 1992, Alfred Gomolka had to leave the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state government and thus the Bundesrat.
  5. ^ On 27 October 1998, Gerhard Schröder resigned as Minister President of Lower Saxony and thus as President of the German Bundesrat, as he was appointed as Chancellor of Germany on the same day.
  6. ^ On 7 April 1999, Hans Eichel had to leave the Hessian state government and thus the Bundesrat.

References