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Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable-type printing to Europe, laying the basis for the democratization of knowledge. The Peace of Westphalia ended religious warfare among the Imperial Estates ;  their mostly German-speaking rulers were able to choose Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, or the Reformed faith as their official religion.
Following the fall of Napoleon , the Congress of Vienna founded the German Confederation, a loose league of 39 sovereign states.
The appointment of the Emperor of Austria as the permanent president reflected the Congress's rejection of Prussia's rising influence.
Disagreement within restoration politics partly led to the rise of liberal movements, followed by new measures of repression by Austrian statesman Metternich.
King Frederick William IV of Prussia was offered the title of Emperor, but with a loss of power; he rejected the crown and the proposed constitution, a temporary setback for the movement.
Bismarck successfully concluded war on Denmark ; the subsequent decisive Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of enabled him to create the North German Confederation which excluded Austria.
Prussia was the dominant constituent state of the new empire; the King of Prussia ruled as its Kaiser, and Berlin became its capital.
In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany , Bismarck's foreign policy as Chancellor of Germany secured Germany's position as a great nation by forging alliances and avoiding war.
Britain, France and Russia also concluded alliances to protect against Habsburg interference with Russian interests in the Balkans or German interference against France.
After four years of warfare, in which approximately two million German soldiers were killed,  a general armistice ended the fighting.
In the German Revolution November , Emperor Wilhelm II and the ruling princes abdicated their positions and Germany was declared a federal republic.
Germany's new leadership signed the Treaty of Versailles in , accepting defeat by the Allies. Germans perceived the treaty as humiliating, which was seen by historians as influential in the rise of Adolf Hitler.
Street fighting in the major industrial centres, the occupation of the Ruhr by Belgian and French troops, and a period of hyperinflation followed.
A debt restructuring plan and the creation of a new currency in ushered in the Golden Twenties , an era of artistic innovation and liberal cultural life.
The worldwide Great Depression hit Germany in In , the regime withdrew from the Treaty of Versailles and introduced the Nuremberg Laws which targeted Jews and other minorities.
The British repelled German air attacks in the Battle of Britain in the same year. By , Germany and other Axis powers controlled most of continental Europe and North Africa , but following the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad , the allies' reconquest of North Africa and invasion of Italy in , German forces suffered repeated military defeats.
In , the Soviets pushed into Eastern Europe ; the Western allies landed in France and entered Germany despite a final German counteroffensive.
In what later became known as the Holocaust , the German government persecuted minorities, including interning them in concentration and death camps across Europe.
After Nazi Germany surrendered, the Allies partitioned Berlin and Germany's remaining territory into four occupation zones.
They were informally known as West Germany and East Germany. West Germany was established as a federal parliamentary republic with a " social market economy ".
Starting in West Germany became a major recipient of reconstruction aid under the Marshall Plan. The country enjoyed prolonged economic growth Wirtschaftswunder beginning in the early s.
Although East Germany claimed to be a democracy, political power was exercised solely by leading members Politbüro of the communist-controlled Socialist Unity Party of Germany , supported by the Stasi , an immense secret service.
This had devastating effects on the GDR, where regular mass demonstrations received increasing support.
In an effort to help retain East Germany as a state, the East German authorities eased border restrictions, but this actually led to an acceleration of the Wende reform process culminating in the Two Plus Four Treaty under which Germany regained full sovereignty.
This permitted German reunification on 3 October , with the accession of the five re-established states of the former GDR. United Germany was considered the enlarged continuation of West Germany so it retained its memberships in international organisations.
Since reunification, Germany has taken a more active role in the European Union , signing the Maastricht Treaty in and the Lisbon Treaty in ,  and co-founding the Eurozone.
In the elections , Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor. Germany is in Western and Central Europe, bordering Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria to the southeast, and Switzerland to the south-southwest.
France , Luxembourg and Belgium are situated to the west, with the Netherlands to the northwest. Germany is also bordered by the North Sea and, at the north-northeast, by the Baltic Sea.
It is the seventh largest country by area in Europe and the 62nd largest in the world. Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps highest point: the Zugspitze at 2, metres or 9, feet in the south to the shores of the North Sea Nordsee in the northwest and the Baltic Sea Ostsee in the northeast.
The forested uplands of central Germany and the lowlands of northern Germany lowest point: Wilstermarsch at 3.
Significant natural resources include iron ore, coal, potash , timber, lignite , uranium , copper, natural gas, salt, and nickel.
Most of Germany has a temperate climate, ranging from oceanic in the north to continental in the east and southeast. Winters range from cold in the southern Alps to mild and are generally overcast with limited precipitation, while summers can vary from hot and dry to cool and rainy.
The northern regions have prevailing westerly winds that bring in moist air from the North Sea, moderating the temperature and increasing precipitation.
Conversely, the southeast regions have more extreme temperatures. From February —, average monthly temperatures in Germany ranged from a low of 3.
The territory of Germany can be divided into two ecoregions : European-Mediterranean montane mixed forests and Northeast-Atlantic shelf marine.
Plants and animals include those generally common to Central Europe. Wild animals include roe deer , wild boar , mouflon a subspecies of wild sheep , fox , badger , hare , and small numbers of the Eurasian beaver.
Germany is a federal , parliamentary , representative democratic republic. Federal legislative power is vested in the parliament consisting of the Bundestag Federal Diet and Bundesrat Federal Council , which together form the legislative body.
The Bundestag is elected through direct elections : half by majority vote and half by proportional representation. The members of the Bundesrat represent and are appointed by the governments of the sixteen federated states.
Amendments generally require a two-thirds majority of both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat ; the fundamental principles of the constitution, as expressed in the articles guaranteeing human dignity, the separation of powers, the federal structure, and the rule of law , are valid in perpetuity.
The president , currently Frank-Walter Steinmeier , is the head of state and invested primarily with representative responsibilities and powers.
He is elected by the Bundesversammlung federal convention , an institution consisting of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of state delegates.
So far every chancellor has been a member of one of these parties. Since , the left-wing populist party The Left has been a staple in the German Bundestag , though they have never been part of the federal government.
In the German federal election , the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany gained enough votes to attain representation in the parliament for the first time.
Germany comprises sixteen federal states which are collectively referred to as Bundesländer. As of [update] Germany is divided into districts Kreise at a municipal level; these consist of rural districts and urban districts.
Germany has a civil law system based on Roman law with some references to Germanic law. Criminal and private laws are codified on the national level in the Strafgesetzbuch and the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch respectively.
The German penal system seeks the rehabilitation of the criminal and the protection of the public. Germany has a low murder rate with 1.
Germany has a network of diplomatic missions abroad  and maintains relations with more than countries. It has played an influential role in the European Union since its inception and has maintained a strong alliance with France and all neighbouring countries since Germany promotes the creation of a more unified European political, economic and security apparatus.
The development policy of Germany is an independent area of foreign policy. It is formulated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and carried out by the implementing organisations.
The German government sees development policy as a joint responsibility of the international community. In absolute terms, German military expenditure is the 8th highest in the world.
In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence. In state of defence , the Chancellor would become commander-in-chief of the Bundeswehr.
But after a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court in the term "defence" has been defined to not only include protection of the borders of Germany, but also crisis reaction and conflict prevention, or more broadly as guarding the security of Germany anywhere in the world.
As of [update] , the German military has about 3, troops stationed in foreign countries as part of international peacekeeping forces, including about 1, supporting operations against Daesh , in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and in Kosovo.
Germany has a social market economy with a highly skilled labour force , a low level of corruption, and a high level of innovation.
Germany is part of the European single market which represents more than million consumers. Being home to the modern car , the automotive industry in Germany is regarded as one of the most competitive and innovative in the world,  and is the fourth largest by production.
Of the world's largest stock-market-listed companies measured by revenue in , the Fortune Global , 29 are headquartered in Germany.
Research and development efforts form an integral part of the German economy. With its central position in Europe, Germany is a transport hub for the continent.
In [update] , Germany was the world's seventh-largest consumer of energy. Germany is the ninth most visited country in the world As of [update] , with Domestic and international travel and tourism combined directly contribute over EUR Including indirect and induced impacts, the industry contributes 4.
The Europa-Park near Freiburg is Europe's second most popular theme park resort. With a population of Its population density stands at inhabitants per square kilometre per square mile.
The overall life expectancy in Germany at birth is However, Germany is witnessing increased birth rates and migration rates since the beginning of the s, particularly a rise in the number of well-educated migrants.
Germany has the third oldest population in the world, with the average age of Four sizeable groups of people are referred to as "national minorities" because their ancestors have lived in their respective regions for centuries:  There is a Danish minority in the northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein ;  the Sorbs , a Slavic population , are in the Lusatia region of Saxony and Brandenburg.
After the United States, Germany is the second most popular immigration destination in the world. The majority of migrants live in western Germany, in particular in urban areas.
Of the country's residents, Germany has a number of large cities. There are 11 officially recognised metropolitan regions.
The country's largest city is Berlin , while its largest urban area is the Ruhr. The German Census showed Christianity as the largest religion in Germany, with According to data from , the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church claimed Other religions comprise less than one percent of Germany's population.
Irreligion in Germany is strongest in the former East Germany, which used to be predominantly Protestant before state atheism, and in major metropolitan areas.
German is the official and predominant spoken language in Germany. German is the most widely spoken first language in the European Union, with around million native speakers.
Responsibility for educational supervision in Germany is primarily organised within the individual federal states.
Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory for at least nine years.
Primary education usually lasts for four to six years. The Gesamtschule unifies all secondary education.
A system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung leads to a skilled qualification which is almost comparable to an academic degree.
It allows students in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run trade school. Most of the German universities are public institutions, and students traditionally study without fee payment.
According to an OECD report in , Germany is the world's third leading destination for international study.
In the contemporary era Germany has developed eleven Universities of Excellence. Germany's system of hospitals, called Krankenhäuser , dates from medieval times, and today, Germany has the world's oldest universal health care system, dating from Bismarck's social legislation of the s.
The population is covered by a health insurance plan provided by statute, with criteria allowing some groups to opt for a private health insurance contract.
Germany ranked 20th in the world in in life expectancy with 77 years for men and 82 years for women , and it had a very low infant mortality rate 4 per 1, live births.
A study showed that 52 percent of the adult German population was overweight or obese. Culture in German states has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular.
Historically, Germany has been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker "the land of poets and thinkers" ,  because of the major role its writers and philosophers have played in the development of Western thought.
Germany is well known for such folk festival traditions as Oktoberfest and Christmas customs , which include Advent wreaths , Christmas pageants , Christmas trees , Stollen cakes, and other practices.
German classical music includes works by some of the world's most well-known composers. Ludwig van Beethoven was a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras.
Richard Wagner was known for his operas. Richard Strauss was a leading composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras.
Karlheinz Stockhausen and Hans Zimmer are important composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. As of , Germany was the second largest music market in Europe, and fourth largest in the world.
German electronic music gained global influence, with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream pioneering in this genre. Paul van Dyk , Paul Kalkbrenner , and Scooter.
German painters have influenced western art. The New Objectivity arose in response to expressionism during the Weimar Republic.
After World War II, broad trends in German art include neo-expressionism , performance art and conceptual art. Architectural contributions from Germany include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles , which were precursors of Romanesque.
Brick Gothic is a distinctive medieval style that evolved in Germany. Also in Renaissance and Baroque art, regional and typically German elements evolved e.
Weser Renaissance and Dresden Baroque. The Wessobrunner School exerted a decisive influence on, and at times even dominated, the art of stucco in southern Germany in the 18th century.
Vernacular architecture in Germany is often identified by its timber framing Fachwerk traditions and varies across regions, and among carpentry styles.
Notable sub-styles that evolved since the 18th century are the German spa and seaside resort architecture.
German artists, writers and gallerists like Siegfried Bing , Georg Hirth and Bruno Möhring also contributed to the development of Art Nouveau at the turn of the 20th century, known as Jugendstil in German.
Expressionist architecture developed in the s in Germany and influenced Art Deco and other modern styles. Germany was particularly important in the early modernist movement : it is the home of Werkbund initiated by Hermann Muthesius New Objectivity , and of the Bauhaus movement founded by Walter Gropius.
Consequently, Germany is often considered the cradle of modern architecture and design. German designers became early leaders of modern product design.
German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the works of writers such as Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach.
The collections of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm popularised German folklore on an international level. German philosophy is historically significant: Gottfried Leibniz 's contributions to rationalism ; the enlightenment philosophy by Immanuel Kant ; the establishment of classical German idealism by Johann Gottlieb Fichte , Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling ; Arthur Schopenhauer 's composition of metaphysical pessimism; the formulation of communist theory by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels ; Friedrich Nietzsche 's development of perspectivism ; Gottlob Frege 's contributions to the dawn of analytic philosophy ; Martin Heidegger 's works on Being; Oswald Spengler 's historical philosophy; the development of the Frankfurt School has been particularly influential.
German cinema has made major technical and artistic contributions to film. The first works of the Skladanowsky Brothers were shown to an audience in The renowned Babelsberg Studio in Potsdam was established in , thus being the first large-scale film studio in the world.
Director Fritz Lang 's Metropolis is referred to as the first major science-fiction film. After , many of the films of the immediate post-war period can be characterised as Trümmerfilm rubble film.
Various Germans won an Oscar for their performances in other films. The Berlin International Film Festival , known as "Berlinale", awarding the " Golden Bear " and held annually since , is one of the world's leading film festivals.
German cuisine varies from region to region and often neighbouring regions share some culinary similarities e.
International varieties such as pizza , sushi , Chinese food , Greek food , Indian cuisine and doner kebab are also popular.
Bread is a significant part of German cuisine and German bakeries produce about main types of bread and 1, types of pastries and rolls Brötchen.
Germans produce their ubiquitous sausages in almost 1, varieties, including Bratwursts and Weisswursts.
The Michelin Guide awarded eleven restaurants in Germany three stars , giving the country a cumulative total of stars.
Association football is the most popular sport in Germany. Germany is one of the leading motor sports countries in the world.
Constructors like BMW and Mercedes are prominent manufacturers in motor sport. Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race 19 times, and Audi 13 times as of [update].
The driver Michael Schumacher has set many motor sport records during his career, having won seven Formula One World Drivers' Championships.
Historically, German athletes have been successful contenders in the Olympic Games , ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count when combining East and West German medals.
Germany was the last country to host both the summer and winter games in the same year, in the Berlin Summer Games and the Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Deutschland. This article is about the country. For other uses, see Germany disambiguation and Deutschland disambiguation.
For the country from to , see West Germany. Country in Central Europe. Show globe. Show map of Europe. Further information: Names of Germany , Germani , and Germania.
Main article: History of Germany. Main articles: Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. Main article: History of Germany — Main articles: German reunification and History of Germany since Main article: Geography of Germany.
Main articles: States of Germany and Federalism in Germany. Lower Saxony. Mecklenburg- Vorpommern. Saxony- Anhalt.
Baden- Württemberg. Main article: Foreign relations of Germany. Main article: Bundeswehr. Main articles: Economy of Germany and Science and technology in Germany.
Main article: Tourism in Germany. Main articles: Demographics of Germany and Germans. Largest cities or towns in Germany Statistical offices in Germany 31 December Main article: Religion in Germany.
Main articles: German language and Languages of Germany. Main article: Education in Germany. Main article: Healthcare in Germany.
Main article: Culture of Germany. Main article: Music of Germany. Main articles: German art , Architecture of Germany , and German fashion.
Friedrich , Wanderer above the Sea of Fog Franz Marc , Roe Deer in the Forest Main articles: German literature and German philosophy.
Main articles: Media of Germany and Cinema of Germany. Main article: German cuisine. Main article: Sport in Germany.
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The Lost German East. Archived from the original on 1 December In principle, the president has the full veto authority on any bill, but this, however, is not how past presidents handled their power.
Only in cases in which the incumbent president had serious doubts about the constitutionality of a bill laid before him, he has refused to sign it.
As yet , this has happened only eight times and no president has done it more often than two times during his term:. The president represents Germany in the world Art.
They also conclude treaties with foreign nations which do not come into effect until affirmed by the Bundestag , accredit German diplomats and receive the letters of accreditation of foreign diplomats.
According to Article 60 2 of the German Constitution, the president has the power to pardon. This means the president "has the authority to revoke or commute penal or disciplinary sentences in individual cases.
The federal president cannot, however, issue an amnesty waiving or commuting sentences for a whole category of offenses.
That requires a law enacted by the Bundestag in conjunction with the Bundesrat. Due to the federal structure of Germany the federal president is only responsible for dealing with certain criminal matters e.
It is customary that the federal president becomes the honorary godfather of the seventh child in a family if the parents wish it.
He also sends letters of congratulations to centenarians and long-time married couples. Article 81 makes it possible to enact a law without the approval of the Bundestag: if the Bundestag rejects a motion of confidence, but a new chancellor is not elected nor is the Bundestag dissolved, the chancellor can declare a draft law to be "urgent".
If the Bundestag refuses to approve the draft, the cabinet can ask the federal president to declare a "legislative state of emergency" Gesetzgebungsnotstand with regard to that specific law proposal.
After the declaration of the president, the Bundestag has four weeks to discuss the draft law. If it does not approve it the cabinet can ask the Federal Council for approval.
After the consent of the Federal Council is secured, the draft law becomes law. There are some constraints on the "legislative state of emergency".
After a president has declared the state of emergency for the first time, the government has only six months to use the procedure for other law proposals.
Given the terms provided by the constitution, it is unlikely that the government can enact more than one other draft law in this way.
Also, the emergency has to be declared afresh for every proposal. This means that the six months are not a period in which the government together with the president and the Federal Council simply replaces the Bundestag as lawgiver.
The Bundestag remains fully competent to pass laws during these six months. The state of emergency also ends if the office of the chancellor ends.
During the same term and after the six months, the chancellor cannot use the procedure of Article 81 again.
A "legislative state of emergency" has never been declared. In case of serious disagreement between the chancellor and the Bundestag, the chancellor resigns or the Bundestag faces new elections.
The provision of Article 81 is intended to assist the government for a short time, but not to use it in crisis for a longer period.
According to constitutional commentator Bryde, Article 81 provides the executive government with the power to "enable decrees in a state of emergency" exekutives Notverordnungsrecht , but for historical reasons the constitution avoided this expression.
Though candidates are usually selected by a political party or parties, the president nonetheless is traditionally expected to refrain from being an active member of any party after assuming office.
Every president to date has suspended his party membership for the duration of his term. Presidents have, however, spoken publicly about their personal views on political matters.
The very fact that a president is expected to remain above politics usually means that when he does speak out on an issue, it is considered to be of great importance.
In some cases, a presidential speech has dominated German political debate for a year or more. According to article 81 of the German constitution, the president can declare a "Legislation Emergency" and allow the federal government and the Bundesrat to enact laws without the approval of the Bundestag.
He also has important decisive power regarding the appointment of a chancellor who was elected by plurality only, or the dissolution of the Bundestag under certain circumstances.
It is also theoretically possible, albeit a drastic step which has not happened since , that the president refuses to sign legislation merely because he disagrees with its content, thus vetoing it, or refuse to approve a cabinet appointment.
For example, in the autumn of , President Köhler did so twice within three months. Also, in some cases, a president has signed a law while asking that the political parties refer the case to the Federal Constitutional Court in order to test the law's constitutionality.
The Basic Law did not create an office of Vice President, but designated the president of the Bundesrat by constitutional custom the head of government of one of the sixteen German states , elected by the Bundesrat in a predetermined order of annual alternation as deputy of the president of Germany Basic Law, Article If the office of president falls vacant, they temporarily assume the powers of the president and acts as head of state until a successor is elected, but does not assume the office of president as such which would be unconstitutional, as no member of a legislature or government at federal or state level can be president at the same time.
While doing so, they do not continue to exercise the role of chair of the Bundesrat. If the president dies, resigns or is otherwise removed from office, a successor is to be elected within thirty days.
Horst Köhler, upon his resignation on May 31, , became the first president to trigger this re-election process. When Heinrich Lübke, on the other hand, announced his resignation in , it only came into effect the following year, a mere three months before the scheduled end of his term and after the expedited election of his successor.
Back in Karl Arnold , at the time Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia and President of the Bundesrat, also acted as head of state for a few days: after the Basic Law had come into effect and he himself was elected as President of the Bundesrat, the first President of Germany was not yet elected and the office therefore vacant.
None of these three presidents of the Bundesrat acting as head of state, has used any of the more important powers of the president, as for example vetoing a law or dissolving the Bundestag , although they would have been entitled to do so under the same conditions as the president.
While in office, the president enjoys immunity from prosecution and cannot be voted out of office or recalled. The only mechanism for removing the president is impeachment by the Bundestag or Bundesrat for willfully violating German law.
Once the Bundestag impeaches the president, the Federal Constitutional Court is charged with determining if they are guilty of the offence.
If the charge is sustained, the court has the authority to remove the president from office. The official residence of the president is Bellevue Palace in Berlin.
The president's second official residence is the Hammerschmidt Villa in Bonn , the former capital city of West Germany.
The Office of the President Bundespräsidialamt is a supreme federal authority. It organizes the president's work, supports the president in the performance of his duties as Head of State and coordinates his working relationships with other parts of the German government and administration.
Its top official, who takes precedence over all other German state secretaries , is the Head of the Office of the President Chef des Bundespräsidialamts.
The office and its staff advise the president, informs them of all developments in domestic and foreign affairs and carries out the instructions of the president or forwards these to the corresponding ministry or authority.
The president's car is usually black, made in Germany and has the numberplate "0 — 1" with the presidential standard on the right wing of the car.
When the president is on board, the flight's callsign is "German Airforce ". The standard of the president of Germany was adopted on 11 April , and used in this design until A slightly modified version also existed from , that was used in addition to the version.
In , these versions were both replaced by another modified version, that was used until The Weimar-era presidential standard from was adopted again as presidential standard by a decision by President Theodor Heuss on 20 January , when he also formally adopted other Weimar-era state symbols including the coat of arms.
The eagle Reichsadler , now called Bundesadler in the design that was used in the coat of arms and presidential standard in the Weimar Republic and today was originally introduced by a decision by President Friedrich Ebert on 11 November The modern-day position of German president is significantly different from the Reich President of the Weimar Republic — a position which held considerable power and was regarded as an important figure in political life.
In Germany the new head of state was called the Reichspräsident. The office effectively came to an end upon Hindenburg's death in and its powers merged with those of chancellor.
Adolf Hitler now ruled Germany as " Führer und Reichskanzler ", combining his previous positions in party and government. However, he did officially become President;  the office was not abolished though the constitutionally mandated presidential elections every seven years did not take place in the Nazi era and briefly revived at the end of the Second World War when Hitler appointed Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor as "President of Germany".
Dönitz agreed to the surrender to the Allies and was arrested a few days later. The Weimar Constitution created a semi-presidential system in which power was divided between the president, a cabinet and a parliament.
The president enjoyed far greater power than the current president and had an active political role, rather than a largely ceremonial one.
The influence of the president also increased greatly as a result of the instability of the Weimar period. The president had authority to appoint the chancellor and could dismiss the entire cabinet at any time.
However, it was also necessary for the cabinet to enjoy the confidence of the Reichstag parliament because it could be removed by a vote of no confidence.
The president also had authority to dissolve the Reichstag, conduct foreign affairs, and command the armed forces.
Article 48 of the constitution also provided the president sweeping powers in the event of a crisis. If there was a threat to "public order and security" he could legislate by decree and suspend civil rights.
The Weimar constitution provided that the president be directly elected and serve a seven-year term. The election involved a form of the two-round system.
However the first president was elected by the National Assembly and subsequently only two direct presidential elections actually occurred.
These were the election of Paul von Hindenburg in and his re-election in The system created by the Weimar constitution led to a number of problems.
In particular, the fact that the president could appoint the cabinet, while the Reichstag had only a power of dismissal, created a high cabinet turn-over as ministers were appointed by the president only to be dismissed by the Reichstag shortly afterwards.
Eventually Hindenburg stopped trying to appoint cabinets that enjoyed the confidence of the Reichstag and ruled by means of three "presidential cabinets" Präsidialkabinette.
Hindenburg was also able to use his power of dissolution to by-pass the Reichstag. If the Reichstag threatened to censure his ministers or revoke one of his decrees he could simply dissolve the body and be able to govern without its interference until elections had been held.
This led to eight Reichstag elections taking place in the 14 years of the Republic's existence; only one parliamentary term, that of —, was completed without elections being held early.
Socialist East Germany established the office of a head of state with the title of President of the Republic German: Präsident der Republik in , but abandoned the office with the death of the first president, Wilhelm Pieck , in in favour of a collective head of state.
All government positions of the East German socialist republic, including the presidency, were appointed by the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany.
With the promulgation of the Grundgesetz in , the office of President of the Federal Republic in German: Bundespräsident was created in West Germany.
Partly due to the misuse of presidential powers in the Weimar Republic, the office's powers were significantly reduced. Not only is he indirectly elected, but most of the real power was transferred to the chancellor.
Because the reunification of Germany in was accomplished by the five East German states joining the Federal Republic, the president became the president of all German states without the establishment of a new presidential office.
Twelve persons have served as President of the Federal Republic of Germany. Only four presidents Heuss, Lübke, von Weizsäcker, Köhler have been re-elected for a second five-year-term and only two of those Heuss, von Weizsäcker served the full ten years.
Christian Wulff served the shortest tenure 1 year, 7 months and 18 days of all presidents. The president is according to Art.
This has happened three times:. In Germany, former presidents are usually referred to as Altbundespräsidenten President emeritus. There are three living former German presidents:.
Horst Köhler age 77 since Christian Wulff age 61 since Joachim Gauck age 80 since From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article is about the position of President of Germany in the current Federal Republic of Germany.
Head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany. Main article: Federal Convention Germany. Main article: President of Germany — Main article: President of East Germany.
See also: List of presidents of Germany. German Institutions. Volume 3. Retrieved Article Articles 67 and Spiegel Online.