Social Democrat Bärbel Bas, New President Of The German Parliament

Social Democrat Bärbel Bas, new president of the German Parliament

The Social Democratic deputy Bärbel Bas has been elected this Tuesday as the new president of the German Parliament (Bundestag) and will succeed the conservative Wolfgang Schäuble, who has held the position in the last legislature.

Bas, 53, was elected by 576 votes in favor, 90 against and 58 abstentions in the constitutive session of the new Bundestag, emanating from the general elections on September 26.

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She will be the third woman to hold that position, after the also Social Democrat Annemarie Renger, between 1972 and 1976, and then the conservative Rita Süssmuth, between 1988 and 1998. Only a third, 34.7%, of the representatives of the new parliament are women.

This Tuesday’s session of the Bundestag has been marked by the presence of the outgoing Chancellor, Angela Merkel, sitting in the public gallery, instead of on the Government bench, nor among the deputies, since she will not have a seat.

Schäuble has opened the first session of the twentieth legislature in his capacity as the oldest deputy of the Bundestag, since he has been part of the chamber since 1972. However, he will leave the presidency, since it corresponds to the most voted force, the Social Democratic Party ( SPD), which obtained 25.7% in the September elections.

After the election of the president, the vice presidents of all parliamentary parties will proceed, which are expected to receive majority support, except for the representative proposed by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The Bundestag has grown again, and from the 709 deputies of the previous legislature it increased to 736 in this one, a record number in the history of the German federal parliament. Schäuble, in his last speech, has called for the reform of the electoral law to, among other things, correct what he considers excessive representation, derived from the so-called additional seats that are distributed between the parties, according to the German mixed system.

Half of the 598 Bundestag seats are covered through regional lists and the other half, by direct mandates. The rest correspond to those “additional” mandates – when the direct ones exceed those that would correspond to a party on the list – and “compensatory” – which are given to the other forces to compensate.

In the afternoon, the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, will present Merkel and her ministers with the formal dismissal diplomas, with which they will continue to hold office until the new government is formed.

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