The new German Bundestag has started work. A month after the elections, Wolfgang Schaeuble, the MP with the longest tenure in the lower house of parliament, opened the meeting. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel sat down in the visitor gallery.
79-year-old Wolfgang Schaeuble, who is also the current president of the Bundestag, welcomed federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel among the guests, who will shortly receive a certificate of resignation and will be acting chancellor until a new government is formed. Merkel was asked to fulfill these duties on Tuesday by President Steinmeier.
Appeal for reform of the electoral law
The Bundestag has more MPs than ever before, and instead of the standard 598 there are 736. Therefore, in his inaugural speech, Schaeuble called for an urgent reform of the electoral law. He also spoke about the “bitter experiences” of the failure of the electoral reform in the recent legislative period.
Schaeuble thanked parliamentary groups for their support over the past four years and asked that his successor, Baerbel Bas, also be treated in the same way.
After Schaeuble’s speech was over, the MPs stood up and applauded him. Schaeuble looked clearly agitated. “Please don’t touch me too much,” he said.
President Steinmeier asked Chancellor Merkel to continue to lead the government until a new chancellor is elected. This was reported by the Office of the Federal President. This is a customary move if a new head of government has not yet been elected at the time the Bundestag is convened.
Officially, the term of office of the chancellor and federal ministers ends with the inaugural session of the parliament on Tuesday. The President’s Chancellery announced that Steinmeier will present members of the federal government with revocation certificates on Tuesday at Bellevue Palace in Berlin.
Main photo source: CLEMENS BILAN / PAP / EPA