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Germany/Bundesrat in the Bundestag?


QUESTION: Why are there seats designated for Bundesrat members? Why would Bundesrat members need to be there in the Bundestag? If Bundesrat members don't sit there, could the seats be used for another purpose?

ANSWER: Hello Lucas,

thank you for your question.

I did some research on the procedures of Bundesrat, as I was sure that you couldn't simultaneously be a member of both, Bundesrat and Bundestag. This is due to a system of checks and balances, and legislative decisions of the Bundestag have to pass through Bundesrat as well, before being layed before the President to be signed.

I found the following passage in the 'Rules of Procedure of the Bundesrat' that have been translated into English on the official Bundesrat website:

"Rule 2 - Incompatibility of office

Members of the Bundesrat may not simultaneously be Members of the Bundestag. Any Members of the Bundesrat who are elected to the Bundestag shall inform the President of the Bundesrat within reasonable time which of the two offices they will relinquish."

You can find the English translation of the Rules here:

I am very sorry, but it seems like you have been misinformed on this matter.

I hope I could be of any help.

Best wishes

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your response!
I did not know that a member could not sit on both houses. That is good to know. However, I forgot to include the link to a picture that had me confused on this matter in the first place.

If you look at the following link, you will see a group of seats designated "Bundesrat" on the right hand side of the President's seat. Do you know why this is?

Overnight I had thought of another question, too. In the United States, we call a President's term in office an "Administration" (i.e. Obama Administration, Clinton Administration, etc.) In Australia, they call them "Governments" (i.e. Gillard Government, Abbott Government, etc.) What do they call them in Germany, and what would the current one be?

Hello Lucas,

thanks for your follow-up. It looks like we are both a bit confused, because I didn't see this follow-up at first, and now I send you some more information as an answer to your rating. Thanks a lot for the very positive rating, by the way. I really appreciate that.

Here's again what I said there:
Just like the members of the government, the members of Bundesrat may listen to any session of Bundestag and are also allowed to speak if they wish to. However, it seems like their seats remain empty most of the time, unless the session refers to a topic that is important for the Länder or is of special interest for any members of Bundesrat. They can show up all by themselves.

Here's a German quote and link from wikipedia:
"Neben den Mitgliedern des Bundestages haben auch die Mitglieder der Bundesregierung und des Bundesrates Rederecht im Bundestag. Sie müssen sogar jederzeit gehört werden."

As for your second question, I would suggest to use the word "Amtsperiode". Merkel is in her third "Amtsperiode" right now, because her party won the general elections three times. Every "Amtsperiode" lasts 4 years. It would be phrased like this: "Merkels dritte Amtsperiode" / "in Merkels dritter Amtsperiode". If you look for a term to describe all the time that Merkel has been in office now, you can say "die Regierung Merkel" or also "Merkels Regierungszeit". This would encompass all of her three "Amtsperioden".

Hope this helps.

Best wishes


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I live in Germany, so I am really at the source of politics and culture. You can ask me about entertainment, pop culture, politics of the day, general culture. I am also interested in German history, especially the time after 1945, i.e. the evolution of modern Germany, the division in Western and Eastern Germany, the fall of the Berlin wall. If you're wondering why some things are the way they are in Germany, don't hesitate to ask me, and I will try to give you a helpful answer.


I was born and spent most of my life in Germany. Right now I am living in Northwestern Germany. I am generally interested in politics and culture. Thus, I feel I should be able to help people from other countries understand Germany and German culture a little better.

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