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Aber bei mir war da nur Leere. Ich habe unter der umfassenden Enge gelitten, darunter, dass man den ganzen Tag irgendwas plappern musste.

Was macht der Bundestag? - Bundestagswahl 2017

Der Deutschlandfunk bringt ja jetzt in diesen Tagen morgens immer diese 'Mauersplitter'. Irgendwann ist die Kraft erlahmt. Sie hielten sich aus dem Glutkern heraus, sagt er. Sauer habe seine kleine Welt mit klassischer Musik ausgestaltet. Die Wagner-Oper als Nische. Jeder pickt sich aus Merkels Leben das, was am besten zu seinem eigenen passt. Und ihr Leben gibt das her. Sie waren nicht zufrieden, aber auch nicht hoffnungslos, sagt er. Er hat ein eigenes Leben.

Er ist heute Professor in Hannover. Es gehe ihm nicht darum, Angela Merkel anzugreifen, sagt Osten, er will nur genau sein. Vielleicht freut er sich, dass es ein Propagandist im Westen ganz nach oben schaffen kann, aber er hat die Dinge nicht mehr in der Hand. Es ist weder sein Kampf noch der von Angela Merkel, aber was sollen sie machen. Ulrich Wilhelm tippt irgendetwas in sein Handy.

Nach den letzten Umfragen schmilzt die Mehrheit. An manchen Tagen scheint das Eis schon so dick zu sein, dass man darauf tanzen kann. Die deutsche Nachkriegsgeschichte in vier Minuten. Dort wurde am 1. Die Kinder waren noch sehr klein damals, sagt sie. Sie sollten nicht beide Eltern auf einmal verlieren. Vielleicht ist das kein Zufall. Es war dunkel, wenn sie zur Arbeit fuhr, und dunkel, wenn sie nach Hause kam. In den Tagen um den 7. Oktober besuchte sie ein- oder zweimal die Gethsemanekirche in Prenzlauer Berg, sagt sie.

Da war ihre Gemeinde, da war ihr Familienkreis, da ging sie auch manchmal zum Gottesdienst, aber nicht oft. Das war nicht meine Sache, so kurz vor Toresschluss noch abzuhauen. Aber ich war noch nicht entschlossen, mich zu organisieren. Als die Mauer fiel, ging sie in die Sauna. Angela Merkel aber erschien die SPD zu fertig, zu eingefahren, zu langweilig. Sie kann sich nicht erinnern, wie sie dort hinkam, sagt sie, sie stand einfach da.

Es klingt schlafwandlerisch. Man erwacht nur langsam aus so einem langen Speicherschlaf. Sie setzte sich einen Moment hin und beobachtete den Laden. Das Chaos gefiel ihr, sagt sie. Sie hatte den Eindruck, gebraucht zu werden. Aber sie kam wieder und blieb. Sie packte sie aus und schloss sie an. Das war ihre erste Aufgabe. So war die Zeit damals. Sie lacht. Sie sagt, dass Schnur wie elektrisiert von Kohl war.

Er habe den Kanzler regelrecht angehimmelt. Er hatte im Palasthotel gewohnt, er hatte den Alexanderplatz gesehen, das Schloss Sanssouci und als Jugendlicher mal gegen eine Mecklenburger Auswahl Handball gespielt. Er traf sich mit Wolfgang Schnur in irgendeiner Discothek zum Tanzen. Im Hauptort von Teutschenthal dagegen blieb alles beim Alten.

Den Platz der Deutschen Einheit von Stuttgart suchen wir lange. Weder Navi noch Google finden ihn. Als wir ankommen, stellen wir fest: Es ist nur der Vorplatz des Konzert- und Kongresszentrums der Stadt. Doch am Platz der Deutschen Einheit erinnert sich daran niemand. Ihm ist das Thema wichtig, nicht nur, weil er genauso alt ist wie die deutsche Einheit — geboren Er selbst denke bei dem Thema vor allem an ein ein vereintes Europa.

Geboren ist Semi Araya in Esslingen. Auf einer Klassenfahrt nach Weimar hat er das auch schon anders erlebt. Er wurde angefeindet. Unter den Nationalsozialisten besetzten die Deutschen die Inseln. Den Hass auf die Deutschen gibt es dort noch heute. Nach dem Konzert werden sie dorthin weiterfahren. Selbst jenen, die die Gegend von damals kennen, geht das so. Kontroschowitz war beim Grenzregiment abgestellt zum Dienst an der Grenze.

Immer zu zweit wurden sie auf Kontrolle geschickt, jedes Mal mit einem anderen Kameraden. Sie kannten sich nicht, denn sie sollten sich auch gegenseitig kontrollieren. Nicht weil ich damals schon weg wollte. Selbst bei Freunden. Da wohnten die Armen, die einfachen Leute, die Slawen. Das war Vergessen haben sie das nicht. Auch nicht zu DDR-Zeiten.

Und heute? Wer abends bleibt, wohnt hier. Ich bin froh, dass ich das nicht erleben musste. Wir haben ein paar junge Leute im Ort angesprochen: Ob es neben all den getunten Opels und Audis auch noch Trabifahrer gibt? Klar, haben sie gesagt und ein bisschen herumtelefoniert. Aber den Trabi wollte er unbedingt haben.

Patrick Kasburg hat seinen Trabant originalgetreu wiederhergestellt. Samt Wackeldackel auf dem Hutbrett. Das Originale ist ihm wichtig.

European Polyphony | SpringerLink

Man will damit auffallen. Ich fahr' hier jeden Tag durch, aber was das bedeutet? Er vermisst ihn auch nicht. Die Polizei stoppt uns, als wir in Bremen ankommen. Die Beamten im Mannschaftswagen tragen schusssichere Westen. Bremer haben Humor. Am Bremer Hauptbahnhof treffen viele dieser Probleme aufeinander. Genauer gesagt: am Platz der Deutschen Einheit. Im Haupteingang des Bahnhofs sitzt ein Mann und schreit. Gibt es sie also doch, die Bremer Stadtmusikanten?

34 Comments

Er liegt eben direkt am Bahnhof. Auch das passt. Zwei Welten prallen hier aufeinander. Auf der einen Seite des Platzes der Deutschen Einheit von Esslingen leben die selbstbewussten Senioren, auf der anderen die aufstrebende Jugend. Sehr sogar. Und manche der Jungen und Alten haben viel mehr gemeinsam, als sie glauben. Er ist Eventveranstalter, sie arbeitet im Solarium. Paulino ist im Jahr der Wiedervereinigung geboren, Esslingen wurde seine Heimat. Die Adresse am Platz der Deutschen Einheit bedeute ihr viel, sagt sie, nicht nur wegen des Wohnviertels.

Sie ist Malerin. In der Mitte stehen Menschen. Da wollen wir hin. Aber als wir ankommen, sind sie weg. Hallo, ist hier denn niemand zu sprechen? Helmut K. Und ein echter Kasselaner. Herr K. Er kommt von einer Wanderung im nahen Kaufunger Wald. Das nahe Mittelgebirge ist ein Ausflugsgebiet. Es kommt nicht oft vor, dass jemand an diesem Ort nach der Kasseler Vergangenheit fragt.

Und im Namen der deutschen Einheit. An sie erinnert ein Gedenkstein, der einsam auf der Verkehrsinsel steht wie ein Grabstein. Heute, sagt, Helmut K.

Aber dass diese alberne Mauer da weg ist, ist doch ganz gut so. Aber wie bei der Einheit braucht es eben seine Zeit, bis es so weit ist.

Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble MdB

Nur ohne Kirche und Bach. Uns gefallen nur seine gelbe Hose und das schwarze Jackett. Mit exakt geschnittenen Hecken, Kieswegen und Lichtleisten am Boden. Genau da finden wir ihn dann auch wieder. Es ist ihm wichtig, auch weil es eine so typisch deutsche Geschichte ist. Man muss etwas ausholen dazu. Hier war es das Ende des Bergbaus, mit dem der Abstieg begann. Nur am Bahnhof selbst sieht es anders aus. Der ist saniert, davor zieren bunte Elefanten den Vorplatz. Sie sind die Symboltiere von Hamm. Die Stadt wollte an seiner Stelle zuerst ein Hotel bauen. Doch ein richtiger Neuanfang, wurde den Stadtplanern klar, war das nicht.

Warum nicht das Kaufhaus Horten durch einen Hort der Bildung ersetzen? Das neue Kulturzentrum wirkt nun von weitem wie eine edle Bank oder Versicherung. Oktober und ein schwarz-rot-goldener Pfahl, der den echten Grenzpfosten nachempfunden ist — nur edler. Volker Pirsich, der eigentlich aus Norddeutschland stammt, ist zufrieden mit dem Gedenkort. Er findet auch, dass die Widmung passt. An Daten wie jene bis Und an das Wende-Jahr , das ja auch ein Grund ist, dankbar zu sein.

Als der ehemalige Bundeskanzler Helmut Kohl am Seitdem tritt er nur noch selten auf. Auch Angelo Alaimo hat sich damals gefreut. Als Ludwigshafener ebenso wie als Wirt am neuen Platz. Der Platz sollte vor allem auch den Bewohnern der grauen Industriestadt eine neue Perspektive bieten. Alaimo, 36 Jahre alt, ist ein durchaus typischer Deutscher dieser Region. Jeder sollte frei sein in dem, was er tut. Am liebsten kommt er aber abends in seine Lounge an den Platz der Deutschen Einheit. Und sogar Mannheimer!

In Memmingen werden wir Teil unserer eigenen Recherche. Zu Beginn hatte die Im Internet fand sich lediglich die Nachricht, dass ein junger Lokalpolitiker eine Umbenennung vorgeschlagen hatte, einen Kreisverkehr. Einen Platz umzubenennen ist in Deutschland ein demokratischer Akt. Das kann dauern.

Einst hat hier eine Mauer gestanden — die historische Stadtmauer.

Translation of «Bundestagspräsident» into 25 languages

Was verbindet eine Stadt wie Memmingen mit der deutschen Einheit? Vom Stadtrand kann man bei gutem Wetter die Alpen sehen. Berlin liegt Kilometer entfernt. Wir brachten die Menschen in der Jugendherberge von Memmingen unter, es war ein wahrer Ansturm. Unter ihnen fand Thomas Mirtsch seinen bis heute besten Freund, damals waren sie Schulkinder.

Die Arbeitslosenquote liegt bei gerade mal zwei Prozent. Wer arbeiten kann, kann bleiben. Feierlich eingeweiht wird der Platz am 3. Bis auf einen Lieferwagen ist der Platz leer. Zu DDR-Zeiten hatte er alles geopfert, weil er dort unbedingt hin wollte. Beruf, Heimat, Familie. Er tat es wegen seiner Mutter, sagt er heute. Seine Firma ist seine eigene Erfindung. Gelernt hat er Maurer, im Westen fand er Arbeit in einem Jugendhilfeprojekt. Dabei lernte er die Sandstrahltechnik kennen, die er heute einsetzt.

Er hat viel zu tun. In a letter to the Federal Chancellor, [76] Carstens stated that he had 'considerable doubts' [77] about the constitutionality of the legislation, but had been advised by the Home Secretary and the Minister of Justice that it was constitutional, and it could not be denied that their arguments had 'a certain weight'.

He said further that he believed he would be justified in not signing only if the lack of constitutionality were 'obvious and beyond doubt'. He also referred to the fact that the law could reach the Federal Constitutional Court only if he signed it — which is of course obvious; but this pays no regard to the possibility that a refusal to assent on his part might be followed by a suit for a declaration that he was wrong not to sign because the Act would have been valid.

However, a professor of constitutional law would hardly have failed to notice this point — so we may take it that this statement was actually an oblique means of indicating which course he thought preferable, in which case it is easy to understand his view. There are in addition two cases in which the Premier of Bavaria — who assents to State laws for lack of any supra-party figurehead at State level equivalent to an Australian State Governor — has also refused to assent to a Bill because he doubted its constitutionality.

In the first case, in , the State Premier in a letter which suggests strongly that he had had legal advice stated that a proposed State law amending the law reconstituting courts with financial jurisdiction had not received his assent because it either attempted to alter a law which had since been deemed [79] to have become a federal statute and was thus not within State power, or because it would be inconsistent with a provision of the Basic Law itself.

There was no discussion in the published announcements of the refusals to assent of the extent to which the legal opinions received permitted doubts about the conclusions they reached. It was not suggested that serious doubts existed. I have not found any references to any such action in any other State. It is possible that further incidents along those lines might have occurred, as State constitutional law is not always well documented, but these two Bavarian cases are curiosities and may be unique. Refusals of assent by State Premiers are likely to be extremely rare, as the State Premier is almost always also in command of a majority in the State legislature.

All State legislatures now have one chamber, although at that point Bavaria still had two. In some other States, sometimes other officers are entrusted with the task, [82] but they too are likely to be closely connected with the majority party in the legislature. Scholars have attempted to impose some order on the data just summarised and to interpret the wording of art 82 under which the Federal President's assent is required, but have been far from unanimous.

The question on which scholars traditionally divide is whether procedural errors are the only errors that may be taken into account, or there is something further besides. The narrow view is that there is not. The broad view is that there is no restriction to procedural errors only. Under this view, the Federal President can refuse to sign Bills in all other cases of constitutional invalidity, such as when the charter of rights is breached. A middle view is that all non-material defects other than the content-based restrictions of the charter of rights can be a ground for non-assent; this includes not merely parliamentary procedure but also the existence of legislative competence in the federation as distinct from the States cases 4, 5 and 9 and stand-alone restrictions such as those in cases 7 and 8.

Supporters of all views agree that errors in legislative procedure justify non-assent if the resulting statute would be invalid because of the error. This conclusion is based on the reference in art 82 1 of the Basic Law [85] to the certification of laws that have been enacted 'in accordance with the provisions of this Basic Law ', and the prescription in art 78 of the ways in which the legislative process within Parliament operates. Supporters of the narrow view assume this reference exhausts the concept of certification, [87] while supporters of the broad view say that it is not clear enough to achieve that result.

The generally accepted definition of procedural errors in legislation which the Federal President may take into account as part of this process includes situations in which it is uncertain whether the consent of the Bundesrat to a Bill is required and it has not in fact been granted. As the rules about when the Bundesrat must consent can be quite complicated, this is an important point.

What has been said in the preceding two paragraphs exhausts the agreement among scholars. The courts have never dealt with the question whether the broad, middle or narrow view is correct, and thus there is no relevant case law [89] to speak of. The drafters of any of the constitutions in which the word ausgefertigt or its noun Ausfertigung is used simply did not debate the question of its meaning publicly. As far as the federal constitutional structure is concerned, it is notable that it expressly confers the function of judicial review on the Federal Constitutional Court art 93 1 4a.

The text also states that other courts may not declare laws invalid art 1. However, it does not extend this prohibition to other constitutional organs. After all, questions relating to whether a statute is valid, especially under value-laden provisions such as a charter of rights, can be very dependent on individual assessments, so that it is necessary to have one authoritative voice. But those in favour of the middle or broad views of the Federal President's powers point to other constitutional provisions.

For example, references are made to the Federal President's oath to defend the Basic Law , [94] or the possibility of his being accused of neglect of his duties under art 61 for signing a Bill that in fact should not have been signed. The difficulty with this type of argument is that it assumes that which is to be proved, namely that the Federal President does in fact have the duty not to assent to Bills if they conflict with the Basic Law in any respect, rather than leaving the matter to the Court. This is untenable because it begs the question or, as is often said, because it would turn provisions reinforcing existing duties into provisions creating new duties , [95] a fact which has been realised by most of the supporters of the middle and broad views who have more or less abandoned this argument.

Some supporters of the broad view, however, still refer to the binding nature of rules of the constitutional system including the charter of rights on all constitutional organs, as declared in arts 1 3 and 20 3 of the Basic Law , as the basis for a duty in the Federal President, a constitutional organ, to determine whether Bills are in accordance with the Basic Law. Thus, reference to such provisions does not advance the case for the broad view at all, but merely re-phrases the question: does the constitution impose such a duty on the Federal President or not?

In fact the provisions mentioned retard the case for all but the narrowest view: if those articles did mean, as is sometimes said, that the Federal President breaches the Basic Law if he signs Bills which breach it, and is thus bound to refuse assent in all cases of unconstitutionality, then of course the Federal President has breached the Basic Law on all those occasions on which he has signed Bills which were later found to be invalid by the Court. Rather, the fidelity to law which a Rechtsstaat demands does not exclude the possibility that an organ of the constitution must participate in an activity which it considers unlawful if the law appoints another exclusive means of resolving the question.

We should expect that judge nevertheless to bow to the final contrary decision of the question by the highest court and exercise that jurisdiction anyway. Furthermore, the blunderbuss view that giving assent to an invalid law is ipso facto a breach of presidential duty is not well adapted for cases in which only one part of a Bill is thought to be invalid.

As there is no power to assent to part only of a Bill, [] many supporters of the middle and broad views state that the Federal President can refuse to sign a Bill only if it is wholly invalid, [] while some others say that it depends on things like the proportion of valid to invalid portions and the seriousness of the breach. The Basic Law , if a coherent system of constitutional norms, cannot mean to put the Federal President in the position of being 'damned if he does and damned if he doesn't'. Surprisingly enough, however, the 'principal argument' [] for the broad view is none of those considered so far.

It is based on the Jesuitical view that there is no distinction between errors relating to legislative procedure and other errors. The argument which was first formulated at the time of the Weimar Republic [] starts with the proposition that a law which infringes the other parts of the Basic Law , apparently unrelated to legislative procedures, is a law which must necessarily also contain an error relating to legislative procedure.

This is because art 79 1 requires all laws altering the Basic Law to state expressly an intention to alter the constitution. This is unconvincing, because that is not the intention of the Bill at all. A Bill's proponents will not argue, and given the prohibition of implied amendments could not rationally argue, that they are putting forward a Bill inconsistent with the Basic Law. Their case will not be that they forgot to ensure that a provision for express amendment of the Basic Law was needed; their case is rather that no such provision is needed at all, because the law is not inconsistent with the Basic Law and should therefore receive assent in its present form.

The argument therefore confuses the real defect in the Bill assuming that there is one with the means by which it might be fixed — which are not the same thing precisely because of the prohibition on implied amendments. Rather, they are entirely prohibited, and that is for substantive reasons, namely their misuse under the Weimar Constitution ; any law which would otherwise achieve an implied amendment suffers from a substantive and not a procedural defect.

Sometimes it is also argued that procedural and non-procedural matters are inextricably mixed because different procedures are prescribed for different types of laws: for example, some require the consent of the Bundesrat , while in other cases its objections can be overridden. A Bill's categorisation depends on its contents. Thus, it is said, it is not possible to determine the correct procedure for any Bill without looking beyond procedural matters, and the distinction is lost. It is certainly true that procedures vary according to content, but this does not mean that there is no such thing as a 'purely' procedural error.

There is surely still a difference between not seeking the consent of the Bundesrat because of a mistaken view about whether that is required — even a mistaken view based on a view about the content of the proposed law — and carrying out the procedures flawlessly for a Bill that infringes a basic right. Determining the correct procedure is as much a matter relating to legislative procedure, even if the classification of the Bill based on its content is a criterion, as following the correct procedure once it is determined what that is.

Finally, the supporters of the middle and broad views refer to the fact that the Federal President can be sued for not assenting, and thus refusal can never prevent the issue coming before the Federal Constitutional Court. Furthermore, proponents of a vetoed law who are serious about its constitutionality, and are not merely prepared to assert its constitutionality to the Federal President as a means of bludgeoning a signature out of him, can 'put their money where their mouth is'. This in itself may well be a good thing, although it does not entail the correctness of the broad view: it shows merely that, if the broad view is correct, the usurpation of the Court's role and the consequent flagrant inconsistency with the constitutional design can be avoided by use of this mechanism — not that the broad view actually is correct.

The decision not to assent is not taken in a political vacuum. It would hardly be wise for a Federal President to provoke a stream of suits against himself by the government, and this possibility does not equate to a blank cheque to refuse to sign whenever doubts are entertained. Losses before the Court would bring the office into disrepute, and constant refusals, even if unchallenged or unsuccessfully challenged, would make the office appear too political.

Nor would it be fair to politicians to require them to take action against the head of state every time a law may be invalid. There is therefore no good reason to accept the broad view that any error in enacting a Bill which would make the resulting statute invalid justifies a refusal of assent. A writer on this very topic has noted that 'legal scholarship and practical politics traditionally follow rather separate paths in Germany'. Scholars have increasingly come to realise that it is not so much the source of constitutional error, but the certainty with which it can be stated that an error has indeed occurred that is decisive.

Thus we nowadays find passionate scholarly defences of the broad view as the only reasonable one, the view that enjoys the greater number of adherents in academic discussion — as indeed it does [] — and necessary because otherwise a blank cheque will exist for the disregard of constitutional law by the legislature.

This statement however is regularly followed by the somewhat lame qualification that assent should, of course, be refused only when it is quite certain that a constitutional obstacle does in fact exist. Equally, the supporters of the narrow view defend their position on the grounds that the Federal President has no business usurping the functions of the Court, and art 82 1 , properly interpreted, does not permit him to do so because it refers only to errors in legislative procedure — but then they typically also add that of course a refusal to assent should take place only in clear cases, and additionally that, if the free democratic order were ever in real danger, the Federal President would be justified in refusing to assent to a Bill no matter what its subject matter.

Some supporters of the narrow view were no doubt attracted to it by the idea that the existence of procedural errors in Parliament is likely to be less controversial than errors relating to the charter of rights or the distribution of legislative powers. The supporters of this view too therefore tend towards the practical criterion of certainty. A particularly notable case of the shift from category-based arguments to the question whether invalidity is clear is provided by Professor Carstens, the former professor of constitutional law who became Federal President.

As a professor he had expressed himself in favour of the narrow view, but even then he added that there would be an exception for Bills which endangered the free democratic system. When it came to the crunch, he based his decision to assent to the State Liability Bill not on category-based grounds, but rather on the grounds that the Bill was arguably constitutional! There are one or two other considerations that might be decisive in borderline or unlikely cases. In summary form, they are: whether the Bill would work any irretrievable damage to democracy or the rule of law; whether the whole purpose of the Bill is invalid as in case 8 or merely a detail case 9 ; whether the constitutional breach by the legislature is deliberate; [] and also whether there is anyone who is likely to challenge the Bill and will have standing to do so.

In fact there is no opposition at all between the criterion of obviousness and that of seriousness, but rather an underlying congruence. If the government proposes and the legislature passes legislation which is almost certainly in conflict with the constitution, that is a really serious thing in itself because it jeopardises the sense that even the government and the legislature are bound by constitutional provisions.

In other words, the principle of the rule of law is endangered — not quite as dramatically as democracy would be endangered by a law banning all opposition parties, for example, but rather more insidiously. Now that it has become clear that the principal criterion is that of certainty, it should moreover be explicitly recognised that the power to refuse assent is a discretion to be exercised with sound judgment and in accordance with the individual circumstances of the case, and is not to be confined to one criterion for its exercise. Thus for example in case 3 a substantial delay in reaching an inevitable decision was partly prompted by the imminence of an election, and one also has the feeling in relation to cases of doubtful assent such as the State Liability Bill or the Immigration Bill of that strategic considerations and a desire to avoid controversy played a significant role in the decision to assent.

One shudders to think of the controversy that would have enveloped the office of Federal President had its holder in refused assent to the Immigration Bill rather than referring the issue to the courts by granting it. The decision whether or not to assent is partly a political one in the broad sense — not just a legal one. It is easy to imagine political circumstances, perhaps involving an imminent election in which a Bill will be at the centre of attention, when it might be unwise to refuse assent to it because doing so would simply ensure that the office of Federal President would be dragged into political controversy.

One other peculiarity relating to the two cases from also illustrates the relevance of broad political considerations. In that year, as still at the time of writing, what is known as a grand coalition was in power federally. The opposition was therefore unusually weak because it included only the smaller parties. At the time of writing, the largest of the three opposition parties, the Free Democrats, had sixty-one of the seats in the Bundestag , the 'hard' left party fifty-three and the Greens fifty-one.

The unusual weakness of the opposition created a particular need for strong extra-parliamentary mechanisms for ensuring the accountability of government. In defending the Federal President's actions in case 9, Professor Schoch did indeed argue that. In , the previous year in which two Bills were passed but not assented to, the only other grand coalition of the right and left that has existed in post-War German history was also in power.

Reference was made in the introduction to a comparable case of refusal for invalidity in Victoria in the s. The equivalent question first arose in the newly-established Commonwealth of Australia in a case in which even the Attorney-General considered a Bill invalid according to the then-current doctrine of the High Court of Australia — but nevertheless advised the Governor-General to assent to the Bill on the grounds that it was not for him or the Governor-General to determine its validity, but rather for 'the High Court and the High Court alone'.

Four years after the Engineers Case , the Governor of Tasmania yielded to ministerial advice to assent to Bills that had not passed the State's Legislative Council, although that course was almost certainly constitutionally defective. Government House is just not the correct forum in which to urge such objections: the courts are. Sometimes both in the United Kingdom [] and in Australia [] it is speculated that the Crown would have the right, perhaps even a duty, to refuse assent to legislation which imperilled the very foundations of democracy, and that may well be true as an abstract proposition.

But of course, if such legislation were ever proposed the situation might be like that in Germany in early in which refusal is less of a practical option than even constitutional theory allows. Fortunately we have no practical examples from either the United Kingdom or Australia to guide our speculations in this area. Given that they are both figureheads, there is a striking difference in behaviour in the area under discussion between the German Federal President and Australian Vice-Regal representatives.

The latter have not vetoed Bills for many years, and some writers question nowadays whether they should do so even if in receipt of ministerial advice to that effect. While therefore both sets of heads of state [] disclaim any policy-based role, [] and the day is probably still far off on which a German Federal President would refuse assent to a Bill for 'mere' reasons of policy — something which would in fact be a breach of the general duty to assent in art 82 1 — the Federal President has created for himself a role as a preliminary check on the constitutionality of legislative proposals alongside that of the Federal Constitutional Court which no Australian Vice-Regal representative would dream of assuming.

It would be unduly simplistic to see this difference as nothing more than a reflection of the fact that the one country is a republic, while the other is a monarchy. No Austrian President has ever vetoed a Bill. Something would of course depend upon the precise arrangements adopted under any proposed republic. A directly elected president might take a more expansive view of his role than an indirectly elected one. From such a person even objections of policy could not be ruled out, unless perhaps the Constitution clearly provided otherwise. But the directly elected Austrian President has not adopted that course.

Nor did the directly elected Weimar Reich Presidents, unless one regards case 1 above — involving the ban on duels and the additional punishment for soldiers to which Reich President von Hindenburg objected — as a case in which a policy objection was camouflaged by tendentious legal arguments. Even in that case there is only one exception in fourteen years, and it is significant that camouflage was felt to be required.

In the dying days of the Weimar Republic, once Hitler had begun to convert the Weimar Republic into a dictatorship using quasi-legal means, there were plenty of opportunities for similar objections which were not taken — although that certainly had something to do with von Hindenburg's precarious health coupled with the obvious failure of the Weimar democracy and a consequent lack of enthusiasm for defending it.

A lot clearly depends on factors such as the existence of precedents, other features of the constitutional system and even chance, which vary more or less randomly from one legal order to another. For example, if Federal President Heuss had not vetoed a Bill in the early s case 2 , it may well be that the lack of a precedent for vetoing Bills would have deterred all later Federal Presidents.

Pointing out that later cases are by no means the first in German constitutional history is an obvious means by which a veto can be defended to the public. But if the possibility of referring a question of law to the Federal Constitutional Court for an advisory opinion had not existed at the time of case 2, quite possibly Heuss would not have dared to take the step he did and the crucial initial precedent would never have been created.

If this reasoning is correct the provision for reference to the Court lives on long after its abolition in Perhaps this is also why the situation in Austria is different: no-one there has ever been brave enough to set the initial precedent. Similarly, in Australia the first precedent set in the early years after Federation was to assent and refer the issue to the courts, and it has been uniformly followed.

Tradition may also have a role to play in a manner which is non-random and permits some useful systematic comparisons about causes and effects. Thus the position of a republican president, even an indirectly elected one, is different in a number of ways from that of a representative of the Crown, even one whose tenure is not hereditary and who may possibly have some degree of recognition by the public one need only think of people as diverse as Sir William Deane or John Landy.

First, there is the obvious systematic difference that the German Federal President has some security of tenure. Under art 61 of the Basic Law , he cannot be removed except by an elaborate procedure involving an accusation by two-thirds of one House of Parliament that he has deliberately violated the law followed by a judgment to that effect by the Federal Constitutional Court.

The tenure of an Australian Governor-General or State Governor, on the other hand, is, as far as the formal law is concerned, extraordinarily weak: they hold office formally at Her Majesty's pleasure. Prime Ministers and State Premiers, for a host of good practical and political reasons, have been naturally reluctant to tender advice to Her Majesty to dismiss the Vice-Regal representative for no good reason.