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Bärbel Bas elected as the new President of the Bundestag – Vice from the AfD fails

Bärbel Bas elected as the new President of the Bundestag – Vice from the AfD fails

In its constituent session, the German Bundestag elected an SPD member as President of the Bundestag. She received a clear majority – and sets out her goals in her inaugural speech.

For the first time in more than 20 years, Bärbel Bas has again been elected President of the Bundestag. The 53-year-old SPD politician received 576 of 724 votes at the constituent session of the new Bundestag on Tuesday in Berlin. 90 MPs voted against and 58 abstained.

Bas is only the third woman in the history of the Bundestag after Annemarie Renger (SPD, 1972 to 1976) and Rita Süssmuth (CDU, 1988 to 1998), who heads the parliamentary presidium. In terms of protocol, she holds the second highest state office after the Federal President. Traditionally, the office belongs to the strongest parliamentary group, after the federal election on September 26th, the SPD.

Bas announced that she would campaign for a new closeness to the citizens. “Let us address many people who approach the citizens of our country, especially those who have not felt addressed by politics for a long time. People to whom” politics “have become alien,” she said. A diverse, young, freshly elected parliament could more easily build bridges and help to overcome prejudices, defensive reactions and mistrust. At the same time, Bas also emphasized: “Hatred and agitation are not opinions. As President, I will protect this Parliament from attacks. And defend democracy against its enemies.”

Schäuble also finds words of caution

The previous President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), emphasized the importance of the parliamentary dispute and the compromise in the fight against an increasing division in society. That the diversity of opinions is openly discussed in the Bundestag “is even more important because in our society there is less willingness to endure opposing points of view, to even allow contradiction”, said Schäuble (79), who opened the session as the longest-serving member.

In the corona pandemic, by and large, it was possible to lead controversial debates and weigh up conflicting values ​​and interests, even under enormous pressure to make decisions, said Schäuble. Parliamentary democracy had passed an unprecedented test.

Schäuble found words of warning for parts of the climate protection movement. The sometimes tough struggle for social majorities should also be brought closer to those “who are disappointed with the inertia of democratic processes in view of climate change and who demand immediate action,” he said. Their motives are understandable. But scientific knowledge alone is not a policy – “and certainly not a democratic majority”. Schäuble warned: “Anyone who sets goals and means absolutely puts them in a position against the democratic principle.”

Once again, Schäuble called for a swift change to the electoral law, as did Bas later, in order to prevent the Bundestag from inflating further. The fact that the Bundestag can meet again in plenary for the first time despite the Corona restrictions has made a cross-factional understanding possible. “If we were able to do that with the right to vote, for example, I would not be sad after the bitter experience of the past legislative period, which was also for me personally,” he said. “An electoral reform that deserves its name has not become a bit easier – and yet: it obviously does not tolerate any delay.” The Bundestag grew again after the Bundestag election – from 709 to 736 members.

Hip-hop and addressing young people in politics: Christian Lindner and Tobias Kargoll

Vice-President of the AfD fails for the time being

The Bundestag has elected five vice-presidents for the new president. In the vote, the CDU MP Yvonne Magwas received the best result with 600 yes-votes. Claudia Roth (Greens) with 565 votes and Petra Pau (Left) with 484 votes were confirmed as Vice-Presidents. Wolfgang Kubicki (FDP) was also re-elected as Vice President with 564 votes. The SPD politician Aydan Özoguz, who appeared for the first time, was elected vice-president with 544 votes.

The AfD candidate Michael Kaufmann received 118 yes votes and thus missed the required majority of 369 votes in this first ballot. Thereupon the parliamentary group waived another ballot on Tuesday, as announced by the President of the Bundestag. So there is no AfD representative on the Bundestag Presidium until further notice. The AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel made it clear, however, that the candidate Kaufmann would be retained.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier asked Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) to continue government business until a new Chancellor is elected. This step is common if a new head of government has not yet been elected when a new Bundestag meets. The term of office of the Chancellor and the Federal Minister officially ends with the constituent session of Parliament. In the early evening Steinmeier wanted to hand over their discharge certificates to Merkel and the members of her cabinet.

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