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Germany’s Bundestag meets for first sitting following elections

Germany's newly-elected Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, convenes for its first sitting on Tuesday after last month's election led to a reordering of the political landscape.

Germany’s newly-elected Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, convenes for its first sitting on Tuesday after last month’s election led to a reordering of the political landscape.

The body is due to hear an opening speech given by outgoing Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble, the longest-serving member of parliament and a member of the centre-right Christian Democrats.

The new president and vice presidents of the Bundestag will then be elected.

Formally, the Bundestag president holds the second-highest state office in the land after the president. Traditionally, the Bundestag‘s largest parliamentary group holds this office, which is now the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).

The SPD’s nominee, Baerbel Bas, may rest assured she will be elected as other parliamentary groups usually agree to the appointment.

However, disputes may break out when it comes to the election of the vice presidents.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has repeatedly tried to gain sufficient backing to obtain one of these posts. However, none of the AfD’s six candidates managed to win the number of votes necessary to become one of the vice presidents during the last legislative period.

This time, the AfD is proposing new lawmaker Michael Kaufmann, who has already held the post of vice president in the Thuringian state parliament.

When the new Bundestag convenes, this officially ends the government’s term of office. However, the German president has requested that Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ministers continue in office in a caretaker capacity until their successors are appointed.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will attend the Bundestag session in the morning and hand over the certificates of official dismissal to Merkel and the members of the government in the afternoon.

Meanwhile the three parties hoping to form Germany’s next coalition government – the SPD, the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) are aiming to have a new administration in place in December.

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