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Political Parties Act (Parteiengesetz, ParteienG)

Long title: Gesetz über die politischen Parteien

As published on 24 July 1967 (Federal Law Gazette I, Page 773); amended version published on 31 January 1994 (Federal Law Gazette I, Page 149)

The above translation was published by Inter Nationes. Reproduced with kind permission. 


Table of Contents 

Section I General Provisions

Article 1 Constitutional Status and Functions of the Parties
Article 2 Definition of the Term “Political Party”
Article 3 Active and Passive Legitimation
Article 4 Designation
Article 5 Equality of Treatment

Section II Internal Organization

Article 6 Statutes and Programme
Article 7 Organization
Article 8 Organs
Article 9 Members’ and Delegates’ Assemblies (Convention, General Assembly)
Article 10 Members’ Rights
Article 11 Executive Committees
Article 12 General Party Committees
Article 13 Composition of Delegates’ Assemblies
Article 14 Party Arbitration
Article 15 Decision-making in Party Organs
Article 16 Measures against Regional Organizations

Section III Nomination of Candidates for Election

Article 17 Nomination of Candidates

Section IV Public Financing

Article 18 Principles and Extent of Public Financing
Article 19 Assessment Procedure
Article 20 Advance Payments
Article 21 Provision and Disbursement of Federal Funds
Article 22 Internal Party Financing

Section V Presentation of Accounts

Article 23 Statutory Obligation to Publish Accounts
Article 23a Illegal Donations
Article 24 Statement of Income and Expenditure
Article 25 Donations
Article 26 Definition of Income
Article 27 Individual Sources of Income
Article 28 Obligation to Keep Accounts
Article 29 Audit of Statement of Accounts
Article 30 Audit Report and Certificate
Article 31 Auditors

Section VI Implementation of Bans on Unconstitutional Parties

Article 32 Execution
Article 33 Banning of Substitute Organizations

Section VII Final Provisions

Article 34 Amendment to Income Tax Law
Article 35 Amendment to Corporate Tax Law
Article 36 Application of Tax Regulations
Article 37 Non-applicability of Civil Code Provisions
Article 38 The Federal Returning Officer’s Instruments of Enforcement
Article 39 Final Settlement
Article 40 Transitional Rules
Article 41 Entry into Force


Section I General Provisions

Article 1. Constitutional Status and Functions of the Parties

(1) Political parties form a constitutionally integral part of a free and democratic system of government. Their free and continuous participation in the formation of the political will of the people enables them to discharge the public tasks which are incumbent upon them pursuant to the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) and which they undertake to fulfil to the best of their ability.

(2) The parties shall participate in the formation of the political will of the people in all fields of public life, in particular by:

bringing their influence to bear on the shaping of public opinion; inspiring and furthering political education;

promoting an active participation by individual citizens in political life; training talented people to assume public responsibilities;

participating in Federal, Land and Local Government elections by nominating candidates;

exercising an influence on political trends in parliament and the government;

initiating their defined political aims in the national decision-making processes;

and

ensuring continuous, vital links between the people and the public authorities.

(3) The parties shall define their aims in the form of political manifestos.

(4) The parties shall use their funds exclusively for the fulfilment of their obligations under the Basic Law and this Law.

Article 2. Definition of the Term “Political Party”

(1) Parties are associations of citizens who set out to influence either permanently or for a lengthy period of time the formation of political opinions at Federal or Land level and to participate in the representation of the people in the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) or regional parliaments (Landtage) provided that they offer sufficient guarantee of the sincerity of their aims in the general character of their circumstances and attendant conditions, particularly in regard to the size and strength of their organization, the number of registered members and their public image. Party members may only be natural persons.

(2) An organization loses its legal status as a party if it has not participated for a period of six years in either a Federal election or a Landtag election with electoral proposals of its own.

(3) Political organizations are not deemed to be parties if:

1. most of their members or the members of their executive committees are foreigners; or

2. the registered seat of business is located outside the purview of the present Law.

Article 3. Active and Passive Legitimation

A political party may institute legal proceedings in its own name and lawsuits may be brought against it. The same applies to its regional organizations at their highest level unless the party statutes contain provisions to the contrary.

Article 4. Designation

(1) The name of a party must be clearly distinguishable from that of any existing party; this is also applicable to acronyms. In election campaigns and the elections themselves, only the registered name or acronym may be used; supplementary designations may be omitted.

(2) Regional organizations bear the name of the party plus the designation of their organizational status. This supplementary designation in connection with the name of regional organizations is only permissible if it is placed after the name of the party. The supplementary designation may be omitted in general publicity and election activities.

(3) Regional organizations which withdraw from a party lose the right to continue to use that party’s name. A newly chosen name may not merely consist of a simple addendum to the previous name. The same applies to acronyms.

Article 5. Equality of Treatment

(1) Where a public authority provides facilities or other public services for use by a party, it must accord equal treatment to all other parties. The scale of such facilities and services may be graduated to conform with the importance of the parties to the minimum extent needed for the achievement of their aims. The importance of a party is judged in particular from the results of previous elections for central or regional government. In the case of a party represented in the Bundestag by a Parliamentary Party, the significance accorded to it must amount to at least half that granted to any other party.

(2) As regards the granting of public services in connection with an election Para. (1) applies only for the duration of the election campaign to parties which have submitted election proposals.

(3) The public services referred to in Para. 1 may be made dependent upon certain preconditions which all parties have to fulfil.

(4) Section IV shall remain unaffected.

Section II Internal Organization

Article 6. Statutes and Programme

(1) A party must have written statutes (articles of association) and a written programme. Regional organizations conduct their affairs on the basis of their own statutes provided that the statutes of their immediately superior regional organization do not contain any provisions bearing on this matter.

(2) The statutes must contain provisions on:

1. The name and acronym (if used), the registered seat and the activities of the party

2. The admission and resignation of members.

3. The rights and duties of members.

4. Admissible disciplinary measures against members and their exclusion from the party (Article 10, Paras. 3 to 5).

5. Admissible disciplinary measures against regional organizations.

6. The general organization of the party.

7. Composition and powers of the executive committee and other organs.

8. Matters which may only be decided upon by a meeting of members and representatives pursuant to No. 9.

9. The preconditions, form and time limit for convening meetings of members and representatives and the official recording of resolutions.

10. Regional organizations and organs which are authorized to submit or sign election proposals for elections to parliaments inasmuch as there are no relevant legal provisions.

11. An overall vote by members and the procedure to be adopted when the party convention has passed a resolution to dissolve the party or a regional organization or to merge with another party or parties pursuant to Article 9, Para. 3. The result of the overall vote determines whether the resolution is confirmed, amended or rescinded.

12. The form and content of a financial structure which satisfies the rules of Section V of this Law.

(3) The executive committee informs the Federal Returning Officer of:

1. The party’s statutes and programme

2. The names of the members of the executive committee of the party and its regional organizations together with their duties.

3. The dissolution of the party or a regional organization. Amendments to sentence 1 (1) and (2) above must be notified by 31 December of the given calendar year. The relevant documents are held by the Federal Returning Officer and made available to the public for perusal and inspection. On request, copies of the documents are provided free of charge.

(4) Parties whose organization is restricted to the territory of a Land are governed by the provisions set out in the present Law for parties as a whole.

Article 7. Organization

(1) Parties are subdivided into regional organizations. The size and scope of these units are determined in the statutes. The regional structure of the party must be developed to a sufficient degree to enable individual members to participate to a suitable extent in the forming of political opinions within the party. Where the organization of a party is limited to the territory of a city-state, there is no requirement that regional organizations should be set up; it constitutes a party within the meaning of the present Law. It is permissible to merge several regional organizations for organizational purposes if they do not substantially impair the structure of the party as an organization.

(2) Where there are no Land organizations in a party, the provisions of the present Law applicable to Land organizations are valid for the next level of regional organization below that of the party itself.

Article 8. Organs

(1) The members’ meeting and executive committee constitute the essential organs of the party and its regional organizations. The statutes may provide that in supra-local organizations the members’ meeting may be replaced by a meeting of representatives whose members are elected for a maximum of two years at meetings of members or representatives in subordinate organizations. Land parties without any regional organizations (Article 7, Para. 1, sentence 4) may replace the members’ meeting with a representatives’ meeting if they have more than 250 members. Representatives’ meetings may also be convened for local organizations which have more than 250 members or which cover a wide geographical area.

(2) The statutes may also provide for other institutions or bodies which help to form policy at regional organization level. They must be explicitly designated in the statutes as such.

Article 9. Members’ and Delegates’ Assemblies (Convention, General Assembly)

(1) The assemblies of members or delegates (convention, general assembly) constitute the supreme organ in a given regional organization. In high-level regional organizations, these are designated as party conventions and, at lower levels, as general assemblies. The provisions set out hereafter for the party conventions shall apply also to the general assembly. Party conventions are convened at least every second calendar year.

(2) Pursuant to the statutes, members of the executive committee and members of other bodies in a regional organization as well as persons falling within the group of people designated in Article 11, Para. 2, may participate in a delegates’ assembly. However, in this case they may only be given voting rights on a scale corresponding to one fifth of the total number of members at the assembly who are entitled to vote.

(3) Within the framework of the competencies of a regional organization in the party, the party convention decides on programmes, statutes, subscriptions, arbitration procedure, dissolution of the party and merging with other parties.

(4) The party convention elects the chairman of the regional organization, his representatives and the other members of the executive committee, the members of any other bodies that may be established and representatives on the organs of higher-level regional organizations inasmuch as the present Law does not permit any other procedure.

(5) The party convention receives a progress report from the executive committee at least every two years and adopts resolutions in regard thereto. Prior to its general dissemination, the financial part of the report is verified by auditors appointed by the party convention.

Article 10. Members’ Rights

(1) Pursuant to the detailed provisions of the statutes, the competent bodies of the party freely decide on the admission of new members. No justification need be given for refusing an application for membership. Neither general nor temporary embargoes on new members are permissible. Persons who have been deprived by judicial decision of the right to vote or to be elected may not become members of a party.

(2) Members of the party and representatives in the party bodies have equal voting rights. The statutes may stipulate that the exercise of voting rights is dependent on a member paying subscription fees. A member may at any time resign from the party without notice.

(3) The statutes contain provisions governing:

1. admissible disciplinary measures against members

2. reasons for such measures;

3. those bodies within the party which may initiate disciplinary measures.

If a member is deprived of party offices or qualification to hold them, the justification for such a decision must be stated.

(4) A member may only be expelled from the party if he or she deliberately infringes the statutes or acts in a manner contrary to the principles or discipline of the party and thus seriously impairs its standing.

(5) The arbitration court competent in accordance with the arbitration procedure code decides upon expulsion from the party. The right to appeal to a higher court is guaranteed. Decisions must be justified in writing. In urgent and serious cases, the executive committee of the party or a regional association may exclude a member from exercising rights until such time as the arbitration court has reached a decision.

Article 11. Executive Committee

(1) The executive committee must be elected at least every second calendar year. It must comprise at least three members.

(2) Pursuant to the statutes, the executive committee may include members of parliament and other high-ranking persons in the party if they hold office or mandate as the result of an election. The proportion of members not elected under the provisions of Article 9 (4), may not exceed one-fifth of the total number of executive committee members. The chairman and the treasurer of a party may not exercise comparable functions in any political foundation associated with the party.

(3) The executive committee manages the regional organization and conducts its affairs in accordance with the law and the statutes as well as the resolutions of the supreme bodies of the party.

It represents the regional organization pursuant to Art. 26, Para. 2, of the Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) unless the statutes provide otherwise.

(4) An executive presiding committee may be formed from the members of the executive committee to implement the resolutions of the latter and to carry out regular and particularly urgent executive committee business. Its members may also be elected by the executive committee or stipulated in the statutes.

Article 12. General Party Committees

(1) Members of general party committees and similar bodies endowed pursuant to the statutes with wide powers to deliberate or decide on questions of party policy and organization may also be elected by subordinate regional organizations.

(2) The chairman and members of the group of persons named in Article 11, Para. 2, may also belong to such a body by virtue of the terms of the statutes. The proportion of non-elected members may not exceed one third of the total membership of this body; it may be augmented by the election of non-voting members with advisory functions, but in this case it must still represent under half of the total number of members.

(3) The tenure of office of members elected to the bodies named in Para. 1 is a maximum of two years.

Article 13. Composition of Delegates’ Assemblies

The composition of a delegates’ assembly or that of any other body wholly or partly comprising representatives from regional organizations is laid down in the statutes. The number of representatives from a regional organization is primarily calculated on the basis of the number of represented members. The statutes may provide that the composition of the rest of the representatives from the regional organization, at most one half of the total, shall be determined in accordance with the proportion of votes polled at regional organization level in previous parliamentary elections. The exercise of the right to vote may be made dependent on the payment of the regional organization’s subscription fees.

Article 14. Party Arbitration

(1) The party and the highest-level regional organizations set up courts of arbitration to settle and decide disputes between the party or a regional organization and individual members as well as differences of opinion about the interpretation and implementation of the statutes. Joint courts of arbitration may be set up to serve a number of regional organizations at district level.

(2) The members of these courts of arbitration may only be elected for a maximum period of four years. They may not be members of the executive committee of the party or a regional organization or be in the employment of the party or a regional organization or draw regular emoluments from them. They are independent and not bound by any instructions.

(3) The statutes may provide that the courts of arbitration, in general or in a particular case, comprise associate judges nominated on a parity basis by the litigants.

(4) The functions of the court of arbitration are governed by a court of arbitration code designed to ensure that litigants are given a fair hearing and to guarantee the rejection of any prejudiced member of the court of arbitration.

Article 15. Decision-Making in Party Organs

(1) The party organs adopt their resolutions on the basis of a simple majority vote inasmuch as a higher majority vote is not stipulated by law or by the statutes.

(2) The ballots for members of the executive committee and representatives to delegates’ assemblies as well as to the bodies of higher-level regional organizations are secret. Voting at other elections is not secret unless voters object when asked to confirm such procedure.

(3) The statutory provisions governing the submission of motions must be such as to ensure the democratic forming of opinions and in particular adequate discussion of the proposals put forward by minorities. At the delegates’ assemblies of higher-level regional organizations, at least the representatives of the regional organizations at the next two lower levels must be granted the right to introduce motions. No commitment to the resolutions of other bodies is permissible at elections and polls.

Article 16. Measures against Regional Organizations

(1) The dissolution and exclusion of subordinate regional organizations or the termination of whole regional organization bodies are permissible only in cases of serious infringement of party principles or discipline. The statutes stipulate:

1. the reasons justifying the measures

2. which higher-level regional organization and which regional organization body may adopt such measures.

(2) In order to implement a measure in pursuance of Para. 1, the executive committee of the party or a higher-level regional organization must receive the confirmation of a more senior body. The measure is invalid if it is not confirmed at the next party convention.

(3) An appeal to a court of arbitration against measures adopted under Para. (1) is permissible.

Section III Nomination of Candidates for Election

Article 17. Nomination of Candidates

Candidates for election to parliament must be chosen by secret ballot. The nomination procedure is governed by the election laws and the party statutes.

Section IV Public Financing

Article 18. Principles and Extent of Public Financing

(1) The State shall grant the parties funds to partly finance their general activities pursuant to the Basic Law. The criteria for the distribution of public funds shall be the parties’ performance in European, Bundestag and Landtag (state parliament) elections, the sum of its membership contributions and the amount of donations received.

(2) The maximum annual amount of public funds which may be granted to all parties together shall be DM 230 million (absolute limit) at the time of entry into force of this provision.

(3) The parties shall receive each year

1. DM 1.00 for each valid vote cast for the party list or

2. DM 1.00 for each vote cast for the party in a constituency where in the state concerned a list for that party was not permissible, and

3. DM 0.50 for each DM received from other sources (members’ subscriptions or lawful donations); only amounts up to DM 6,000 per person are taken into account.

In derogation of numbers 1 and 2 above, the parties shall receive DM 1.30 per vote up to five million valid votes.

(4) Parties who according to the final result of the most recent European or Bundestag election have polled at least 0.5 % or, in a state election, 1 % of the valid votes cast for the party lists shall be entitled to public funds in accordance with Para. 3, Nos. 1 and 3; in order to qualify for payments under Para. 3, Sentence 1 No. 1 and Sentence 2, a party must meet these requirements in the election concerned. Parties who according to the final election result have obtained 10 % of the valid votes cast in a constituency have a right to public funds under Para. 3, No. 2. The first and second sentences do not apply to parties of national minorities.

(5) The amount of public funds may not exceed the party’s own annual income (relative limit, Article 24, Para. 2, Nos. 1 to 5 and 7). The amount of funds made available to all parties together may not exceed the absolute limit.

(6) Upon the entry into force of this Law the Federal President shall appoint a committee of independent experts. This committee shall initially draw up a “basket” of goods and services that represent typical party expenditure. Using this as a basis the committee shall each year, beginning in 1995 and relating to 1991, determine the increase in the prices of party-relevant items. The committee shall submit the results to the President of the German Bundestag. The committee shall be appointed for the duration of the term of office of the Federal President.

(7) Before making any changes in the structure and amount of public financing in excess of the price increases established in accordance with Para. 6, the committee referred to in Para. 6 shall submit recommendations to the German Bundestag. This applies especially to the assessment whether conditions have changed considerably and whether, therefore, an adjustment of the total volume or a change in the structure of public financing is called for.

(8) If a party is dissolved or banned it shall from then on receive no public funds.

Article 19. Assessment Procedure

(1) The parties must write to the President of the German Bundestag by 30 September of each year requesting that the public fund entitlement be established and disbursed. Applications submitted after that date shall not be considered.

(2) The President of the German Bundestag shall on 1 December determine the amount of public funds for each entitled party for the current year.

(3) The basis for assessing the amount of public funds is the number of valid votes which the parties concerned have polled in the most recent European, Bundestag and state election up to 31 October of the current year and the payments received and published in the statements of income and expenditure (Article 18, Para. 3, No. 3) for the previous year. The President of the German Bundestag records the valid votes of each party which qualify for public funds according to Article 18, Para. 4, in a “vote account” which is carried forward.

(4) If a party’s statement of income and expenditure for the previous year is received too late for consideration under Para. 2, the payments received and recorded in the previous statement of accounts shall be used as a temporary basis for assessment. If the statement has not been submitted by 31 December the final assessment shall be made without consideration of payments to the party that has failed to submit its statement of accounts. Any discrepancy between the temporary and the final amount shall be credited or debited as the case may be.

(5) The calculation of the relative ceiling (Article 18, Para. 5) shall be based on the party’s own income for the preceding year as indicated in the statement of accounts.

(6) First the absolute limit (Article 18, Para. 2) shall be determined and then the relative limit for each party (Article 18, Para. 5). Should the total public funds thus calculated exceed the absolute limit the parties shall only be entitled to public funds in the amount corresponding to their proportion of that sum.

(7) Advance payments pursuant to Article 20 shall be deducted from the full amount to be established.

(8) Public funds payable for valid votes in state elections shall be made to the party’s state organization at the rate of 1 DM per vote; reductions under Para. 6 shall not be taken into consideration. The payment of the remaining public funds shall be made to the party’s national organization or, if the party is only represented at state level, to the state organization.

Article 20. Advance Payments

(1) Parties entitled to public funds shall upon application be granted advance payments. Such payments shall be calculated on the basis of the funds allocated in the previous year. Advance payments shall be made on 15 February, 15 May and 15 August; they may not exceed in each case 25 % of the total amount allocated to the party concerned for the preceding year. Should there be reason to believe that a party may eventually be obliged to repay funds, a security deposit may be demanded.

(2) Applications for advance payments must be submitted in writing to the President of the German Bundestag by the 15th of the previous month. Applications made after that date shall not be considered. An application may be made for several advance annual payments simultaneously.

(3) Advance payments shall be repaid if they exceed the allocated amount or the party fails to qualify for public funds.

(4) Article 19, Para. 8, shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 21. Provision and Disbursement of Federal Funds

(1) The funds provided for in Articles 18 and 20 shall in the case of Article 19, Para. 8, first sentence, be disbursed by the Länder, in other cases by the Federal Government to the parties through the President of the German Bundestag.

The President of the German Bundestag shall bindingly inform the Länder of the amounts to which the party organizations at Land level are entitled.

(2) The Federal Audit Office shall examine whether the President of the German Bundestag as the agency administering the funds has determined and disbursed them in accordance with the provisions of this Section.

Article 22. Internal Party Financing

The national organizations of the parties shall make adequate arrangements for the distribution of funds to their Land organizations.

Section V Presentation of Accounts

Article 23. Statutory Obligation to Publish Accounts

(1) The executive committee of the party shall make a public statement of the origins and the use of funds received by its party within a calendar year (accounting year) as well as of the assets of the party in a statement of accounts.

(2) The statement of accounts must be scrutinized by a certified auditor or auditing company in accordance with Articles 29 to 31. In the case of parties who do not meet the requirements of Article 18, Para. 4, first sentence, the statement of accounts may be scrutinized by a chartered accountant. It must be submitted by 30 September of the year following the accounting year to the President of the German Bundestag and be circulated by the latter as a Bundestag paper. The President of the German Bundestag can extend the limit by up to a maximum of three months in extenuating circumstances. The party statement of accounts shall be submitted for discussion to the federal party convention following its publication.

(3) The President of the German Bundestag shall examine whether the statement of accounts is in accordance with the regulations of Section V. The result of the scrutiny shall be recorded in the report in accordance with Para. 5.

(4) The President of the German Bundestag may not determine a party’s allocation of public funds under Articles 18 and 19 so long as a statement of accounts in accordance with the provisions of Section V is still outstanding. Payments under Article 18 shall be based on the statement of accounts to be submitted for the preceding year, payments under Article 20 on the statement of accounts submitted for the preceding year. If a party fails to submit the report by 31 December of the following year it shall forfeit its claim to public funds; allocations and disbursements to the other parties shall remain unaffected.

(5) The President of the German Bundestag shall submit annually to the German Bundestag a report on the state of party finances and on the statements of accounts of the parties. The report shall be circulated as a Bundestag paper.

Article 23a. Illegal Donations

(1) Should a political party obtain donations illegally or use funds not in accordance with the regulations of this Law or fail to publicise them in the statement of accounts (Article 25, Para. 2), it shall forfeit public funds to an amount double the total sum illegally obtained or not publicised in accordance with the provisions of this Law. The illegally obtained donations shall be surrendered to the Presidium of the German Bundestag.

(2) Donations as set out in Article 25, Para., 1 sentence 2 shall be regarded as illegally obtained inasmuch as they are not immediately transferred to the Presidium of the German Bundestag in contravention of Article 25, Para. 3.

(3) The Presidium of the German Bundestag shall, at the beginning of the next calendar year, transfer such funds received within any calendar year to facilities or institutions serving charitable, church, religious or scientific purposes.

(4) The political parties shall incorporate in their statutes regulations to cover the event that measures are caused by regional organizations or their district organizations in accordance with Para. 1.

Article 24. Statement of Income and Expenditure

(1) The statement of accounts shall comprise accounts of income and expenditure and an account of assets. It shall be drawn up in accordance accepted bookkeeping principles and with due regard for the purposes of this Law. The statement of accounts of the political party in its entirety shall incorporate the statements of accounts separately showing federal and state organizations and the statements of accounts of the subordinate organizations of each respective state organization. The state organizations and their subordinate organizations shall attach to their statements of account a complete list of all donations together with the names and addresses of the donors. The party state organizations shall keep the partial reports of the district organizations subordinate to them in collective form in their own accounting documents.

(2) Income includes:

1. Members’ subscriptions and similar regular contributions

2. Donations from natural persons.

3. Donations from legal entities.

4. Income from assets.

5. Income from organized events, distribution of printed materials and published materials and other income-raising party activities.

6. Public funds.

7. Other income.

8. Grants from subdivisions.

9. Total income from items 1 to 8.

(3) Expenditures includes:

1. Staff

2. Current business activities.

3. General party work.

4. Elections.

5. Interest.

6. Other expenditures.

7. Allocations to subdivisions.

(4) The statement of assets comprises:

1. Property

II I. Capital assets

1. Real estate and land.

2. Equipment of premises.

3. Financial investments.

I II. Working capital

1. Claims on subdivisions.

2. Claims for public funds.

3. Monetary assets.

4. Other assets.

III. All property

2. Debts

II I. Reserves

1. Pensions.

2. Other reserves.

I II. Liabilities

1. Liabilities towards the subdivisions.

2. Liabilities towards credit institutes.

3. Other liabilities.

III. All debts

3. Net assets (positive or negative).

(5) The statement of accounts shall show separately the total contributions of natural persons up to DM 6,000 per person as well as the total contributions of natural persons which exceed the amount of DM 6,000.

(6) The report shall be preceded by a summary of:

1. income of the whole party in accordance with Paragraph 2, Nos. 1 to 7, and their total

2. expenditure of the whole party in accordance with Paragraph 3, Nos. 1 to 6 and their total,

3. any surplus or deficit,

4. property of the whole party in accordance with Paragraph 4, No. 1 I and II 2 to 4 and their total,

5. debts of the whole party in accordance with Paragraph 4, No. 2 I and II 2 and 3 and their total,

6. net assets of the whole party (positive or negative),

7. total income, total expenditure, surpluses or deficits as well as net assets of the three subdivisional levels: national organization, land organizations and district organizations.

In addition to the absolute figures for Nos. 1 and 2 the respective percentage of total income under No. 1 and total expenditure under No. 2 must be indicated.

(7) The number of members at the end of the year must be indicated.

(8) The party may attach brief explanations to the statement of accounts and especially to specific items.

(9) Public grants for party youth organizations shall not count towards the absolute and relative limits. They should be indicated in the party’s statement for information purposes but are not to be included in the statement of income and expenditure.

Article 25. Donations

(1) Political parties are entitled to accept donations. The following are excluded:

1. Donations from political foundations and parliamentary groups.

2. Donations from corporate bodies, associations of persons and estate which, under statutes, foundation rules or other constitutions and, by virtue of actual business procedure, are exclusively and directly intended for non-profit, charitable or church purposes Paras. 51 to 68 of the Taxation Code)

3. Donations from outside the sphere of validity of this Law unless:

a) they flow directly to a party from the assets of a German as defined by the Basic Law, a citizen of the European Union, or of a business enterprise whose shares are more than 50 percent owned by Germans as defined by the Basic Law;

b) they are donations to parties of national minorities, transferred from countries which are adjacent to the Federal Republic of Germany and where members of their ethnic group live, by that political party’s parliamentary group in the European Parliament or by a foreign member of the European Parliament, or

c) it is a donation by a foreigner not exceeding DM 1,000.

4. Donations from professional organizations which are made with the proviso that they be passed on to a political party.

5. Donations which, in each individual case, exceed DM 1,000 and whose donors cannot be determined or who are obviously merely passing on the donations of third parties not named. 6. Donations which are clearly made in the expectation of some specific economic or political advantage.

(2) Donations to a political party or to one or more of its regional organizations the total value of which in one calendar year (accounting year) exceeds DM 20,000 shall be recorded in the statement of accounts giving the names and addresses of the donors and the total amounts of the donations.

(3) Inadmissable donations as defined in Para. 1 (2) shall be passed on immediately by the political party to the Presidium of the German Bundestag.

Article 26. Definition of Income

(1) Where no special stipulation is made for individual types of income (Article 24 (2)), income is all monies or payments in money value made to the political party. Release from obligations arising in the usual manner and from the assumption of responsibility for functions and measures by others which explicitly canvass for a political party are also regarded as income.

(2) All receipts are entered in their full amount in the place provided. Article 27 (2) shall remain unaffected.

(3) Goods and services of a non-monetary nature are assessed at the prices normally paid in commercial transactions for identical or comparable services.

(4) Party work shall be voluntary. Any contributions in kind, practical work or services by members on a non-commercial basis and normally provided free of charge shall not be counted as income. Reimbursements for expenses shall not be taken into consideration.

(5) Transitory items of money and services as well as members’ contributions and other receipts earmarked from the beginning for a pro rata apportionment amongst several regional organizations are shown in the accounts at the place where they will finally be entered.

Article 27. Individual Income Sources

(1) Members’ contributions shall only be regular payments made on the basis of the statutes. Donations shall be any payments above such contributions, especially admission fees, special assessments and collections as well as money payments of all kinds to the extent that they are not normally provided free of charge by members on a non-commercial basis.

(2) The amounts in the sources of income named in Article 24 (2), Nos. 4 and 5, shall be entered as net amounts. The requirement to disclose this information pursuant to Article 24 (2), Nos. 2 and 3 and Para. 5 shall not be affected. Other income under Article 24 (2), No. 7 shall be broken down and explained in so far as they exceed 5 percent of the total income pursuant to Nos. 1 to 6 in the case of one of the subdivisions listed in Article 24 (1).

(3) The statement of income may disregard contributions in kind, practical work or services which are normally provided free of charge by party members on a non-commercial basis or which individually do not exceed the value of DM 1,000. Sentence 1 applies mutatis mutandis to the organization of meetings and party canvassing measures.

Article 28. Obligation to Keep Accounts

Political parties shall keep books in respect of their accountable income and expenditure and of their assets. These shall be kept in accordance with the principles of orderly accounting and with regard for the purpose of the present Law. Accounts shall be preserved for five years. The period for which the accounts must be preserved shall commence at the end of the accounting year.

Article 29. Audit of the Statement of Accounts

(1) The audit referred to in Article 23 (2), sentence 1 and Para. 3 applies to the party’s national organization and its state organizations and, following the appointment of the auditor, at least four subordinate regional organizations.

(2) The auditor may require the executive committees and their authorized representatives to furnish any information and proof they may need to fulfil their auditing assignment with due care. To this extent, the auditor is allowed to examine the records required for the compilation of the statement of accounts, the books and documents as well as the contents of cash boxes and other assets.

(3) The executive committee of the regional organization shall assure the auditor in writing that the statement of accounts contains all the obligatory items of revenue, expenditure and assets. Reference may be made to the assurances given by the executive committees of subordinate regional organizations. It is sufficient if the member of the executive committee who is responsible for financial affairs renders such an assurance.

Article 30. Audit Report and Certificate

(1) The results of the audit shall be set out in writing in an audit certificate which is delivered to the executive committee of the party and that of the audited regional organization.

(2) If the auditor has no objections to make after completing the audit, this is certified by a note to the effect that:

following a duly thorough examination of the party’s books and documents and the information and evidence furnished by the executive committees, the annual report corresponds to the extent of the audit Article 29 (1) with the provisions of the present Law.

Where objections are raised, the auditor refuses or qualifies the certification on the audit certificate. Any audited regional organizations must be named in the audit certificate.

(3) The audit certificate is appended to the annual report before the latter is surrendered and the full text is then published in accordance with Article 23 (2), Sentence 2.

Article 31. Auditors

(1) No one may be nominated as an auditor if he or she is a member of the executive committee or a general party committee, the appointed accountant or an employee of the audited party or one of its regional associations or if he or she held such a position during the three years prior to appointment.

(2) The auditors, their assistants and the legal representatives of an auditing firm participating in the audit are obliged to discharge their duties in a conscientious and impartial manner and to observe due discretion and secrecy. Art. 168 of the Joint Stock Companies Law (Corporation Law) applies mutatis mutandis.

Section VI Implementation of Bans on Unconstitutional Parties

Article 32. Execution

(1) Where a party or a party organization is declared to be unconstitutional pursuant to Art. 21, Para. 2 of the Basic Law (No. 1), the appropriate authorities appointed by the state governments adopt within the framework of the laws any measures needed to carry out the judgement and any additional execution procedure ordered by the Federal Constitutional Court. To this end, the supreme state authorities possess an unlimited right to issue mandatory instructions to such state authorities and agencies as are responsible for maintaining public security or order.

(2) Where the organization or activities of the party or that section of the party declared to be unconstitutional extend beyond the territorial borders of a state, the Federal Minister of the Interior issues the necessary orders needed to ensure their uniform execution.

(3) Pursuant to Art. 35 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court, the latter may carry out the execution of a judgement in a different manner to that prescribed in Paras. (1) and (2).

(4) Neither objections to a writ of execution nor an action to set it aside has any suspending effect. Where the proceedings of an administrative court pertain to a matter which is of basic importance for the execution of a judgement, the proceedings are discontinued and a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court obtained. The Federal Constitutional Court also decides upon objections to the manner in which the executory measures it has ordered are carried out.

(5) In a case of seizure of assets, Arts. 10 to 13 of the Law on Associations (Vereinsgesetz), of 5 August 1964 (Federal Law Gazette, Part I, p. 593) are applied mutatis mutandis. The authority issuing the ban on unconstitutional parties is the supreme state authority; in the case of Para. 2, this is the Federal Minister of the Interior.

Article 33. Banning of Substitute Organizations

(1) It is prohibited to set up organizations which pursue the unconstitutional aims of a party banned pursuant to Art. 21, Para. 2 of the Basic Law in conjunction with Art. 46 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court in lieu of the said banned party (substitute) organizations, or to continue existing organizations as substitute organizations.,

(2) Where the substitute organization is a party which already existed prior to the ban on the original party or where it is represented in the Bundestag or a Landtag, the Federal Constitutional Court passes a declaratory judgement that it is a banned substitute organization; Arts. 38, 41, 43, 44 and 46, Para. 3 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court and Art. 32 of the present Law apply mutatis mutandis.

(3) Art. 8, Para. 2 of the Law on Associations is applied mutatis mutandis to other parties and organizations which, within the meaning of Art. 2 of that law, constitute substitute organizations of a banned party.

Section VII Final Provisions

Article 34. Amendment to Income Tax Law

Article 35. Amendment to Corporate Tax Law

Article 36. Application of Tax Regulations

Article 37. Non-Applicability of Civil Code Provisions

Art. 54 sentence 2, and Arts. 61 to 63 of the Civil Code are not applicable to political parties.

Article 38. The Federal Returning Officer’s Instruments of Enforcement

The Federal Returning Officer may require the executive committee of the party to carry out the actions designated in Article 6, Para. 3, by means of a fine. The provisions of the Administrations Enforcement Law apply mutatis mutandis; to this extent, the Federal Returning Officer acts as the enforcing and executory agency. The fine amounts to at least DM 500 and at most DM 3,000.

Article 39. Final Settlement

(1) Reimbursement of election campaign costs and equality adjustment payments under the Law on Political Parties as amended on 31 December 1993 and in accordance with the European Election Law as at 31 December 1993 shall be completed as follows:

1. Parties and other political associations as well as list groupings who, by virtue of their results in the last election for the European Parliament, the Bundestag or state parliament have received advance payments on the basis of Article 28 of the European Election Law, Article 20 of the Law on Political Parties or on the basis of state regulations within the framework of the hitherto applicable Article 22 of the Law on Political Parties shall on request receive final payments. The final payments shall be calculated in such a way that, together with the advance payments, they do not exceed, in the case of a four-year electoral period, 25 % or, in the case of a five-year electoral period, 20 % of the amount most recently fixed for reimbursement of election campaign costs for each year of the current electoral period up to 31 December 1993; in this connection the proportion attributable to the basic amount under the hitherto applicable Article 18 (6) of the Law on Political Parties shall not be taken into consideration. Any payments made over and above the limit ensuing from this calculation shall be repaid. Election periods beginning in 1993 shall not be considered.

2. Equality of opportunity payments shall be made for the last time for 1993.

3. Applications for a final payment must be submitted to the President of the German Bundestag by 30 September 1994; any applications arriving after that date shall not be taken into consideration. The final payment shall be made four weeks after receipt of the application

4. Final payments to all parties shall be reduced in proportion to the amounts to which they are entitled if, together with the reimbursements for election campaign costs already granted in the years 1991 to 1993, they exceed DM 690 million.

5. The envisaged limitation of election campaign cost reimbursements under Article 18 (7) of the Law on Political Parties shall be based on the years 1990 to 1992. Should the ensuing limit be exceeded the excess amounts shall be repaid. The repayments shall be made to the Federal Government and the Länder in proportion to their actual payments.

6. Sub-paragraphs 1 and 3 to 5 shall apply to list groupings within the meaning of Article 2 of the Tenth Law amending the Federal Election Law of 8 October 1990 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 2141), as amended by the law of 21 July 1993 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1217, 1594).

7. Final and opportunity equalization payments shall not be counted towards the absolute limit (Article 18 (2) in conjunction with Article 19 (6)).

8. Final payments on the basis of advance payments for state elections shall be made by the Länder to the party Land associations, otherwise by the Federal Government through the President of the German Bundestag to the parties. Article 21 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) Regional arrangements on the basis of the previously applicable Article 22, sentence 1, of the Law on Political Parties have no further validity.

Article 40. Transitional arrangements

(1) The following applies to the allocation of public funds for 1994:

1. The calculation pursuant to Article 18 (3), No. 3 in conjunction with Article 19 (3) shall be based on 60 % of the average amount of members’ contributions and donations as indicated in the statements of account submitted for the years 1991 and 1992.

2. The establishment of the relative upper limit under Article 18 (5) shall be based on the average of a party’s own income as indicated in the statements of account for the years 1991 and 1992.

3. Sub-paragraph 1 shall apply to the calculation of advance payments pursuant to Article 20

4. The only precondition for the disbursement of public funds for the year 1994 is a statement of accounts which meets the requirements of the Law as applicable until 31 December 1993.

(2) In derogation of Article 24 (1), sentence 4, the statements of account for 1994 until 1997 need not contain the names and addresses of donors of amounts up to DM 200 provided an assurance is given that the payments per donor do not exceed the limits of tax deductibility.

Article 41. (Entry into Force)

This HTML edition by Lawrence Schäfer and © 2000 Gerhard Dannemann. The contents of this page may be downloaded and printed out in single copies for individual use only. Making multiple copies without permission is prohibited.

13th Law to Amend the Federal Electoral Law (13. Gesetz zur Änderung des Bundewahlgesetzes)

Note: The provisions of Articles 1 (1) and (2) of the 13th Law to amend the Federal Electoral Law have not yet entered into force. They shall not apply to the elections to the 14th Bundestag and are therefore printed separately. The 13th Law to amend the Federal Electoral Law of 15 November 1996 (Federal Gazette I p. 1712) is worded as follows:

This translation was first published by Inter Nationes as part of: Federal Electoral Law, 3rd ed. 1998, ed. by Sigrid Born, translated by Gerard Finan and Janet Barton and produced by Ilona Orthen. Reproduced with kind permission.


Table of Contents

Section 1 Amendment of the Federal Electoral Law
Section 2 Determination of the Constituency Delimitation for 299 Constituencies
Section 3 Publicising the Re-Delimitation of Constituencies
Section 4 Entry into Force


The German Bundestag has enacted the following law:

Section 1 Amendment of the Federal Electoral Law

The Federal Electoral Law in the version promulgated on 23 July 1993 (Federal Gazette, I p. 1288, 1594) as well as on 30 March 1994 (Federal Gazette I, p. 680) and 15 September 1994 (Federal Gazette I, p. 2417), most recently amended by the law of 10 May 1994 (Federal Gazette I, p. 993) shall be amended as follows:

1. In Article 1, Paragraph (1) the number “656” shall be replaced by the number “598”; in Article1, Paragraph (2) the number “328” shall be replaced by the number “299”.

2. Article 3 shall be amended as follows:

a) Paragraph (1) shall be worded as follows:“(1) The following principles shall be observed when the constituency delimitations are being drawn up:1. The Länder boundaries shall be respected.2. The number of constituencies in the respective Länder should as far as possible reflect the latter’s share of the total populaton.

3. The population of a constituency should not deviate from the mean population of the constituencies by more than 15 per cent in either direction; where the deviation constitutes more than 25 per cent, a re-delimitation shall be made.

4. Each constituency should form a coherent area.

5. Wherever possible, the boundaries of municipalities, districts and towns independent of district administration should be respected.

In the determination of population figures, aliens (Article 1, Paragraph (2) of the Aliens Law) shall not be taken into account.”

b) The previous Paragraph (1) shall become Paragraph (2).

c) Paragraph (3) shall be worded as follows“(3) The Constituency Delimitation Commission shall have the task of reporting on population changes in the electoral area and of explaining whether it considers alterations in the delimation of constituencies to be necessary in the light of such changes and what alterations should be made. In its report it may submit re-delimitation proposals for other reasons as well. In presenting its proposals for the delimitation of constituencies, the Commission shall bear in mind the principles listed in Paragraph (1).

d) The previous Paragraphs (3) and (4) shall become Paragraphs (4) and (5).

3. The constituencies listed in the Annex to this Law will be divided and described as shown in the Annex to Article 2, Paragraph (2).

Section 2 Determination of the Constituency Delimitation for 299 Constituencies

The delimitation into 299 constituencies shall be determined until the end of the 13th legislative period of the Bundestag in a Law amending the Federal Electoral Law attached as an Annex to Article 2, Paragraph (2); this shall not apply if the 13th legislative period ends prematurely. In this connection the principles listed in Section 1, No. 2 shall be respected.

Section 3 Publicising the Re-Delimitation of Constituencies

In the Annex to the Federal Electoral Law The Federal Ministry of the Interior is authorised to re-delimit constituencies on the basis of changes in areas or names at the local authority level and to publicise this in the Federal Gazette.

Section 4 Entry into Force

(1) Section 1 No. 1 shall enter into force on the same day as the Law named in Section 2 enters into force. The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall publish the date of entry into force in the Federal Gazette.

(2) Section 1 No. 2 shall enter into force on the day of the constituting session of the 14th German Bundestag. The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall publish the date of entry into force in the Federal Gazette.

(3) The remaining provisions shall enter into force one day after promulgation.

© 1998 Inter Nationes. This HTML edition © 1998 Gerhard Dannemann. The contents of this page may be downloaded and printed out in single copies for individual use only. Making multiple copies without permission is prohibited.

Federal Electoral Law (Bundewahlgesetz, BWG)

Federal Electoral Law (Bundeswahlgesetz, BWG)

Federal Electoral Law

Enacted on 7 May 1956 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 383)

In the version promulgated on 23 July 1993 (Federal Gazette II p. 1288, 1594) most recently amended by the law of 15 November 1996 (Federal Gazette I p. 1712)

This translation was first published by Inter Nationes as part of: Federal Electoral Law, 3rd ed. 1998, ed. by Sigrid Born, translated by Gerard Finan and Janet Barton and produced by Ilona Orthen. Reproduced with kind permission.


Table of Contents

Section I Electoral SystemArticle 1 Composition of the German Bundestag and Principles of Franchise
Article 2 Division of the Electoral Area
Article 3 Constituency Delimitation Commission and Division into Constituencies
Article 4 Votes
Article 5 Polling in the Constituencies
Article 6 Election by Land List
Article 7 Combined Lists

Section II Electoral BodiesArticle 8 Organization of Electoral Bodies
Article 9 Appointment of Electoral Bodies
Article 10 Electoral Committees and Electoral Boards
Article 11 Honorary Posts

Section III Franchise and EligibilityArticle 12 Franchise
Article 13 Disqualification from Voting
Article 14 Exercising the Right to Vote
Article 15 Eligibility to Stand for Parliament
Article 16 Election Day
Article 17 Voters’ Register and Polling Cards
Article 18 Right to Nominate Candidates, Notification of Participation
Article 19 Submitting Nominations
Article 20 Content and Form of Constituency Nominations
Article 21 Selection of Party Candidates
Article 22 Spokesmen/Spokeswomen
Article 23 Withdrawal of Constituency Nominations
Article 24 Alteration of Constituency Nominations
Article 25 Remedying Errors and Defects
Article 26 Acceptance of Constituency Nominations
Article 27 Land Lists
Article 28 Acceptance of the Land List
Article 29 Exclusion from the Combination of Land Lists
Article 30 Ballot Papers

Section V The PollArticle 31 Public Character of the Poll
Article 32 Inadmissible Electioneering and Collection of Signatures, Inadmissible Publication of Opinion Polls
Article 33 Preserving the Secrecy of the Ballot
Article 34 Casting the Vote by Means of Ballot Papers
Article 35 Casting the Vote by Means of Voting Machines
Article 36 Postal Ballot

Section VI Establishment of the Election ResultArticle 37 Establishment of the Result in the Polling Districts
Article 38 Establishment of the Result of the Postal Ballot
Article 39 Invalid Votes, Rejection of Postal Ballot Letters, Rules for Establishing Invalidity
Article 40 Decision of the Electoral Board
Article 41 Establishment of the Election Result in the Constituency
Article 42 Establishment of the Election Result for the Land Lists

Section VII Special Regulations for By-Elections and Repeat ElectionsArticle 43 By-Elections
Article 44 Repeat Elections

Section VIII Attaining and Losing Membership of the BundestagArticle 45 Attaining Membership of the Bundestag
Article 46 Loss of Membership of the Bundestag
Article 47 Decision on Loss of Membership
Article 48 Appointment of Successors from the Lists and Replacement Elections

Section IX Final ProvisionsArticle 49 Contestation
Article 49a Regulatory Offences
Article 49b Government Funds for other Constituency Nominations
Article 50 Costs of the Election
Article 51 Election Statistics
Article 52 Federal Election Regulations
Article 53 Transitional Provisions
Article 54 Time Limits and Dates
Article 55 Entry into Force


Section I Electoral System

Article 1 Composition of the German Bundestag and Principles of Franchise

(1) Subject to variations resulting from this Law, the German Bundestag shall consist of 656 members. They shall be elected in a general, direct, free, equal and secret ballot by the Germans entitled to vote, in accordance with the principle of proportional representation combined with the personal election of candidates.

(2) Of the members, 328 shall be elected from nominations in the constituencies and the rest from Land nominations (Land lists).

Article 2 Division of the Electoral Area

(1) The area in which this Law applies shall be the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany.

(2) The division of the electoral area into constituencies shall be as shown in the Annex to this Law.

(3) Each constituency shall be divided into polling districts for the purpose of voting.

Article 3 Constituency Delimitation Commission and Division into Constituencies

(1) The Federal President shall appoint a permanent Constituency Delimitation Commission. It shall consist of the President of the Federal Statistical Office, a judge of the Federal Administrative Court, and five other members.

(2) The Commission shall have the task of reporting on population changes in the electoral area and of explaining whether it considers alterations in the delimitation of constituencies to be necessary in the light of such changes and what alterations should be made. In its report it may submit re-delimitation proposals for other reasons as well. In presenting its proposals for the delimitation of constituencies, the Commission shall bear in mind the following principles :1. The Länder boundaries shall be respected. 
2. The population of a constituency should not deviate from the average population of the constituencies by more than 25 per cent in either direction ; where the deviation constitutes more than 33 1/3 per cent, a re-delimitation shall be made. 
3. The number of constituencies in the respective Länder should as far as possible correspond to the latter’s share of the total population. 
4. Each constituency should form a coherent area. 
5. Wherever possible, the boundaries of municipalities, districts and towns independent of district administration should be respected.

In the determination of population figures, aliens (Article 1, Paragraph (2) of the Aliens Law) shall not be taken into account.

(3) The report of the Constituency Delimitation Commission shall be rendered to the Federal Ministry of the Interior within fifteen months after the beginning of the legislative term of the Bundestag. The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall immediately forward it to the Bundestag and shall publish it in the Federal Official Bulletin. At the request of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Constituency Delimitation Commission shall render a supplementary report ; in this case the second sentence shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(4) Should Land boundaries be altered in accordance with statutory provisions governing procedures for other changes in the territory of the Länder pursuant to Article 29, Paragraph (7) of the Basic Law, the boundaries of the constituencies affected shall also be altered correspondingly. Should two or more constituencies be affected in the incorporating Land, or should an exclave of a Land be formed, the new territory shall belong to the constituency to which belongs the municipality, the municipal district, or the non-municipal area to which it has been added. Changes in Land boundaries which are made after the thirty-second month after the beginning of the legislative term shall not affect the division into constituencies until the following legislative term.

Article 4 Votes

Each voter shall have two votes, a first vote to be cast for a Member of Parliament representing a constituency and a second vote be cast for a Land list.

Article 5 Polling in the Constituencies

In each constituency one member shall be returned to Parliament. The candidate obtaining the majority of the votes cast shall be deemed elected. Where two or more candidates obtain the same number of votes, the election shall be settled by the Constituency Returning Officer drawing lots.

Article 6 Election by Land List

(1) For the distribution of the seats to be occupied on the basis of Land lists, the second votes cast for each Land list shall be added up. In cases where a successful candidate in a constituency is one who has been nominated in accordance with Article 20, Paragraph (3), or by a party not entitled to submit a Land list in the Land in question, the second votes of those voters whose first votes were cast for him shall be disregarded. There shall be deducted from the total number of Members of Parliament (Article 1, Paragraph (1)) the number of successful constituency members referred to in the second sentence above or nominated by parties which, in accordance with Paragraph (6) of the present Article, are not to be taken into consideration.

(2) The remaining seats pursuant to the third sentence of Paragraph (1) shall be distributed among the Land lists on the basis of the second votes to be taken into account according to the first and second sentences of Paragraph (1), as follows. The total number of seats remaining shall be multiplied by the number of second votes cast for each Land list in the election area and the product divided by the sum total of second votes for all Land lists to be taken into account. First, each Land list shall receive one seal for each whole number attributed to it. The remaining seats shall be allocated in the descending sequence of decimal fractions resulting from the calculation according to the second sentence of this Paragraph. In case of equal fractions the assignment of the last seat shall be decided by the Federal Returning Officer drawing lots.

(3) If according to the distribution described in Paragraph (2) a Land list that has attracted more than one half of the total number of second votes of all Land lists to be taken into account does not receive more than one half of the seats available it shall, notwithstanding the fourth and fifth sentences of Paragraph (2), be allocated an additional seat. The seats then remaining shall be distributed according to the fourth and fifth sentences of Paragraph (2).

(4) From the number of members thus arrived at for each Land list shall be deducted the number of seats won by the party in question in the constituencies of the respective Land. The remaining seats shall be filled from the Land list concerned in the order laid down therein. Candidates who have been elected in a constituency shall be disregarded in the Land list. Should more seats be assigned to a land list than there are candidates nominated in it, these seats shall remain vacant.

(5) A party shall retain all the seats it has gained in the constituencies even if they exceed the number arrived at in accordance with Paragraphs (2) and (3). In this event the total number of seats (Article 1, Paragraph (1)) shall be increased by the difference in the numbers ; renewed calculation as under Paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Article shall not take place.

(6) In distributing the seats among the Land lists, only such parties shall be taken into consideration as have obtained at least five per cent of the valid second votes cast in the electoral area or have won a seat in at least three constituencies. The first sentence shall not apply to lists submitted by parties representing national minorities.

Article 7 Combined Lists

(1) Unless it is declared that one or more Land lists concerned are to be excluded from the combination of lists, Land lists of the same party shall be deemed to be combined.

(2) In the distribution of seats, combined lists shall be considered to be a single list in relation to the other lists.

(3) The seats assigned to a combined list shall be distributed among the Land lists concerned in accordance with Article 6, Paragraph (2). Article 6, Paragraphs (4) and (5), shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Section II Electoral Bodies

Article 8 Organization of Electoral Bodies

(1) Electoral bodies shall be

the Federal Returning Officer and the Federal Electoral Committee for the Electoral Area,

a Land Returning Officer and a Land Electoral Committee for each Land,

a Constituency Returning Officer and a Constituency Electoral Committee for each constituency,

an Electoral Officer and an Electoral Board for each polling district, and

at least one Electoral Officer and an Electoral Board in each constituency to establish the results of the postal ballot. The number of Electoral Boards necessary to complete the counting of the postal votes on election day shall be determined by the Constituency Returning Officer.

(2) For several neighbouring constituencies a Joint Constituency Returning Officer may be appointed and a Joint Electoral Committee formed ; the order shall be made by the Land Returning Officer.

(3) To establish the results of the postal ballot, Electoral Officers and Electoral Boards need not be appointed for every constituency but for one or several municipalities or for each district in the constituency. The order shall be made by the Land Government or the agency designated by it.

Article 9 Appointment of Electoral Bodies

(1) The Federal Returning Officer and his Deputy shall be appointed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior ; the Land Returning Officers, Constituency Returning Officers and Electoral Officers and their Deputies shall be appointed by the Land Government or the agency designated by it.

(2) The Federal Electoral Committee shall be composed of the Federal Returning Officer as Chairman and eight persons entitled to vote appointed by him as Committee Members. The other Electoral Committees shall be composed of the Returning Officer as Chairman and of six persons entitled to vote appointed by him as Committee Members. The Electoral Boards shall be composed of the Electoral Officer as Chairman, of his Deputy and of another three to five persons entitled to vote appointed as Board Members by the Electoral Officer ; the Land Government or the agency designated by it may order that the members of the Electoral Board shall be appointed by the local authority and the members of the Electoral Board for the establishment of the results of the postal ballot by the Constituency Returning Officer, in the event of an order pursuant to Article 8, Paragraph (3), by the local authority or county authority alone or in consultation with the Electoral Officer. In appointing Committee Members and Board Members, regard shall as far as possible be paid to the political parties represented in the polling district concerned.

(3) No person may be a member of more than one electoral body. Candidates standing for election, spokesmen/spokeswomen for nominations and deputy spokesmen/spokeswomen may not be appointed to membership of an electoral body.

Article 10 Electoral Committees and Electoral Boards

(1) The Electoral Committees and Electoral Boards shall meet, confer and reach their decisions in public session. When otherwise not stipulated by this Law, decisions shall be taken by majority vote ; in the case of a tie the Chairman shall have the casting vote.

(2) The members of the electoral bodies, their deputies and the keeper of the minutes shall be bound to perform the duties of their offices impartially and to maintain secrecy regarding information to which they have access as a result of their official duties.

Article 11 Honorary Posts

The Members of the Electoral Committees and the Members of the Electoral Boards shall perform their functions in an honorary capacity. Every person entitled to vote shall be bound to accept this honorary post if it is offered to him or her. The honorary post may be refused only on substantial grounds.

Section III Franchise and Eligibility

Article 12 Franchise

(1) All Germans within the meaning of Article 116, Paragraph (1) of the Basic Law shall be entitled to vote, provided that on the day of the election they1. have reached the age of 18 years, 
2. have had a domicile or have otherwise been permanently resident for at least three months in the Federal Republic of Germany, and 
3. are not disqualified from voting under Article 13.

(2) Also entitled to vote, provided they fulfill the other conditions, are Germans within the meaning of Article 116, Paragraph (1) of the Basic law who, on the day of the election,1. as civil servants, soldiers, employees and workers in the public service are domiciled or otherwise permanently resident outside the Federal Republic of Germany by order of their employer, and the members of their households, 
2. reside in the territories of the other member states of the Council of Europe and, prior to leaving the Federal Republic, have since 23 May 1949 had a domicile or otherwise been permanently resident for at least three months continuously within the Federal Republic of Germany, 
3. reside in other territories outside the Federal Republic of Germany, provided that, prior to leaving that area, they have had a domicile or otherwise been permanently resident for at least three months continuously within the Federal Republic of Germany, and provided that no more than ten years have elapsed since they left. This applies mutatis mutandis to seamen on vessels not flying the Federal Flag, as well as the members of their households.

Upon their return to the Federal Republic of Germany, the period of three months provided for in Paragraph (1), No. 2 above shall not apply. For the application of Nos. 2 and 3, a previous domicile or residence in the area stipulated in Article 3 of the Unification Treaty is to be taken into account.

(3) For the purposes of this Law, a domicile shall be any enclosed space which is used for dwelling or sleeping. Caravans and house-boats, however, shall only be considered to be domiciles if they are not or only occasionally moved.

(4) To the extent that any of the persons mentioned hereunder does not have or has not had a domicile in the Federal Republic of Germany, the following shall be considered a domicile within the meaning of Paragraph (1). No. 2 or Paragraph (2), Nos. 2 and 3 :1. for seamen and the members of their households, the ship occupied by them if the ship is entitled to fly the Federal Flag under the Flag Law (in the version promulgated on 4 July 1990, Federal Law Gazette 1, p. 1342) in the version applicable at the time, 
2. for boatmen in inland navigation and the members of their households, the vessel occupied by them if the vessel is enrolled in a ship’s register within the Federal Republic of Germany, 
3. for persons serving a term of imprisonment imposed by a court of law as well as for other persons accommodated in an institution, the detention establishment or the respective institution.

(5) In calculating the three-month period pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 1 and Paragraph (2), Nos. 2 and 3, the day on which the domicile is occupied or the residence is begun shall be included.

Article 13 Disqualification from Voting

A person shall be disqualified from voting if1. he or she is not entitled to vote owing to a judicial decision. 
2. a custodian has been appointed not only through a restraining order to attend to all his or her affairs ; this also applies when the custodian’s sphere of duties does not include the affairs set forth in Article 1896, Paragraph (4) and Article 1905 of the Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch), 
3. he or she is accommodated in a psychiatric hospital under an order pursuant to Article 63 in conjunction with Article 20 of the Penal Code.

Article 14 Exercising the Right to Vote

(1) Only such persons as are entered in a voters’ register or have a polling card shall be permitted to vote.

(2) Anyone entered in a voters’ register may only vote in the polling district of the voters’ register in which he or she is entered.

(3) Anyone possessing a polling card may vote in the constituency in which the polling card was issueda) by casting his or her vote in any polling district of this constituency, or 
b) by postal ballot.

(4) Each person entitled to vote may vote only once and must do so personally.

Article 15 Eligibility to Stand for Parliament

(1) There shall be eligible to stand for parliament only such persons as, on election day,1. have been Germans within the meaning of Article 116, Paragraph (1) of the Basic Law for at least one year, and 
2. have reached the age of 18 years.

(2) A person shall be ineligible to stand for parliament if1. he or she is disqualified from voting under Article 13, 
2. he or she has been deprived by judicial decision of eligibility to stand for parliament or of qualification to hold public office, or 
3. without possessing German citizenship, he or she is a German within the meaning of Article 116, Paragraph (1) of the Basic Law and has attained this legal status by renouncing German citizenship under the Law for the Regulation of Questions of Citizenship of 22 February 1955 (Federal Law Gazette 1, p. 65). Section IV Preparations for the Election

Article 16 Election Day

The Federal President shall decide the day on which the general election is to take place (election day). The election day must fall on a Sunday or on a statutory public holiday.

Article 17 Voters’ Register and Polling Cards

(1) The local authorities shall maintain a register of persons entitled to vote for each polling district. The voters’ register shall be laid out on display for the general public on working days from the twentieth until the sixteenth day before the election.

(2) A person entitled to vote who is prevented from casting his or her vote in the polling district of the voters’ register in which he or she is entered, or has not been entered in the voters’ register for reasons outside his control, shall be issued with a polling card on application.

Article 18 Right to Nominate Candidates, Notification of Participation

(1) Nominations of candidates may be submitted by parties and, in accordance with Article 20, by persons entitled to vote.

(2) A party which has not been continuously represented by at least five representatives in the Bundestag or in a Landtag (state parliament) since the last election on the basis of nominations made by the party itself may only submit a nomination as a party if it has announced its intended participation in the election to the Federal Returning Officer in writing not later than the ninetieth day before the election and has been recognized as a party by the Federal Electoral Committee. Such notification must include the name to be used by the party in the election. It must be personally signed by at least three members of the national executive committee, including the chairman or his deputy. If a party does not have a national executive committee, the management committee of the party’s principle organization shall function in its place. The party’s written statutes and written programme as well as proof that the executive committee has been duly appointed in accordance with the statutes shall accompany the notification.

(3) The Federal Returning Officer shall examine the notification pursuant to Paragraph (2) immediately upon receiving it. If it is incomplete he shall inform the executive committee without delay, requesting that the missing information be furnished. After the time limit for the submission of such notification has expired, only deficiencies in otherwise valid notifications may be rectified. A notification shall not be deemed valid if1. the form or time-limit prescribed in Paragraph (2) has not been complied with, 
2. the name of the party has not been included, 
3. the valid signatures necessary pursuant to Paragraph (2) and the documents to be submitted with the notification are missing, unless such documents cannot be submitted in time as a result of circumstances for which the party cannot be held responsible, 
4. the members of the executive or management committee have not been properly designated, with the result that the names of the persons concerned have not been determined.

Once a decision recognizing a party has been taken, any further action to remove deficiencies shall be ruled out. The party’s executive committee may appeal to the Federal Electoral Committee against decisions by the Federal Returning Officer pertaining to the removal of deficiencies.

(4) The Federal Electoral Committee shall establish not later than the seventy-second day before the election the following, which shall be binding on all electoral bodies :1. which parties have been continuously represented in the Bundestag or in a Landtag since the last election to the one or the other by at least five representatives nominated by the party itself, and 
2. which associations, having announced their participation pursuant to Paragraph (2), shall be recognized as parties for the election. A two thirds majority is necessary to refuse recognition as a party for the election.

(5) A party may submit only one constituency nomination for each constituency and only one Land list for each Land.

Article 19 Submitting Nominations

Constituency nominations shall be submitted in writing to the Constituency Returning Officer, and Land lists to the Land Returning Officer not later than 6 p.m. on the sixty-sixth day before the election.

Article 20 Content and Form of Constituency Nominations

(1) A constituency nomination may only contain the name of one candidate. Each candidate may only be named in one constituency and there only in one nomination. A person may only be nominated if he or she has given his or her consent in writing ; such consent shall be irrevocable.

(2) Constituency nominations by parties must bear the personal and handwritten signatures of the executive committee of the Land party organization or, where such Land organizations do not exist, the personal and handwritten signatures of the executive committees of the next lower regional organizations (Article 7, Paragraph (2) of the Law on Political Parties) in whose area the constituency is situated. Constituency nominations by parties referred to in Article 18, Paragraph (2) above must in addition bear the personal and handwritten signatures of at least 200 persons entitled to vote from the constituency ; entitlement to vote must exist at the time of signing the nomination and proof thereof must be furnished with the nomination. The requirement to present 200 signatures shall not apply to constituency nominations by parties representing national minorities.

(3) Other constituency nominations must bear the personal and handwritten signatures of at least 200 persons entitled to vote from the constituency concerned. Paragraph (2), second sentence shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(4) Constituency nominations by parties must contain the name of the party submitting them as well as any shortened form of its name if such form is used by it ; other constituency nominations must show a distinctive code name.

Article 21 Selection of Party Candidates

(1) A person may only be named as candidate of a party in a constituency if he or she has been selected for this purpose in an assembly of party members for the selection of a constituency candidate or in a special or general assembly of party representatives. An assembly of party members for the selection of a constituency candidate shall be an assembly of members of the party who at the time of their meeting are entitled to vote in the election to the Bundestag within their constituency. A special assembly of party representatives shall be an assembly of delegates elected by such an assembly of party members from their own ranks. A general assembly of party representatives shall be an assembly appointed in general by such an assembly of party members from their own ranks in view of forthcoming elections in accordance with the statutes of the party concerned (Article 6 of the Law on Political Parties).

(2) Where districts and towns independent of district administration comprise several constituencies, the candidates for those constituencies of which the area does not intersect the boundary of the district or of the town independent of district administration may be selected in a joint assembly of members or representatives.

(3) The candidates and the representatives for the assemblies of representatives shall be selected by secret ballot. Elections may take place at the earliest thirty-two months, in the case of the representatives’ assembly at the earliest twenty-three months, after the beginning of the legislative term of the German Bundestag ; this shall not apply if the term ends prematurely.

(4) The executive committee of the Land party organization or, where such Land organizations do not exist, the executive committees of the next lower regional organizations (Article 7, Paragraph (2) of the Law on Political Parties) in whose area the constituency is situated, or another body provided for this purpose in the party’s statutes, may object to the decision of an assembly of members or delegates. If such objection is raised, the ballot shall be repeated. Its result shall be final.

(5) Further details regarding the election of representatives for the delegates’ assembly, the convening and the quorum of the assembly of members or delegates, as well as the procedure for the selection of the candidate, shall be regulated by the parties concerned in accordance with their statutes.

(6) One copy of the record of the selection of the candidate, with details as to the place and time of the assembly, the form of the invitation the number of members attending and the result of the ballot, shall be submitted together with the constituency nomination. In so doing, the chairman of the assembly and two participants designated by it shall give to the Constituency Returning Officer an assurance in lieu of an oath to the effect that the selection of the candidates has taken place by secret ballot. The Constituency Returning Officer shall have competence to administer such an assurance in lieu of an oath ; he shall be deemed to constitute an authority within the meaning of Article 156 of the Penal Code.

Article 22 Spokesmen/Spokeswomen

(1) In every constituency nomination a spokesperson and a deputy spokesperson should be designated. If such designation is not made, the first signatory shall be considered to be the spokesperson and the second to be his/her deputy.

(2) Unless provided otherwise in this Law only the spokesperson and his/her deputy each for himself/herself shall be entitled to make and receive binding statements concerning the constituency nomination.

(3) The spokesperson and his/her deputy may be removed from their posts and replaced by others through a written statement addressed to the Constituency Returning Officer by the majority of the signatories of the constituency nomination.

Article 23 Withdrawal of Constituency Nominations

A constituency nomination may be withdrawn by a joint written statement of the spokesperson and his/her deputy, provided no decision has yet been reached as to its acceptance. A constituency nomination signed by at least 200 persons entitled to vote may also be withdrawn by the majority of the signatories through a statement bearing their personal and handwritten signatures.

Article 24 Alteration of Constituency Nominations

After the expiration of the period for submitting nominations, a constituency nomination may be altered only through a joint statement in writing by the spokesperson and his/her deputy and only if the candidate has died or has become ineligible to stand for parliament. The procedure laid down in Article 21 need not be adhered to and the signatures as provided in Article 20, Paragraphs (2) and (3) shall not be required. After a decision has been made on the acceptance of a constituency nomination (Article 26, Paragraph (1), first sentence) alterations of any kind shall be excluded.

Article 25 Remedying Errors and Defects

(1) The Constituency Returning Officer shall examine constituency nominations immediately upon their receipt. If he discovers errors or defects in a constituency nomination he shall immediately notify the spokesperson and demand that such errors or defects as can be corrected be remedied in due time.

(2) After expiration of the period for submitting nominations, errors or defects may only be remedied in nominations which are otherwise valid. A nomination shall not be valid if1. the form and period prescribed under Article 19 have not been adhered to, 
2. the valid signatures required pursuant to Article 20, Paragraph (2), first and second sentences, and Paragraph (3), together with proof that the signatories are entitled to vote are missing, unless such proof cannot be furnished in time due to circumstances for which the person entitled to make the nomination is not responsible, 
3. in the case of a party nomination, the name of the party has been omitted, the necessary recognition of party status under Article 18, Paragraph (2) above has been refused, or the evidence required under Article 21 has not been furnished, 
4. the candidate is inadequately described, so that his or her identity cannot be established, 
5. the candidate’s written consent is lacking.

(3) After the decision has been made on the acceptance of a constituency nomination (Article 26, Paragraph (1), first sentence), no remedying of errors and defects shall be permissible.

(4) The spokesperson may appeal to the Constituency Electoral Committee against instructions given by the Constituency Returning Officer in proceedings for the remedying of errors and defects.

Article 26 Acceptance of Constituency Nominations

(1) The Constituency Electoral Committee shall decide on the acceptability of constituency nominations on the fifty-eighth day before the election. It shall reject nominations if they1. are submitted too late, or 
2. do not meet the requirements established by this Law and by the Federal Election Regulations, unless laid down otherwise in these provisions.

The decision shall be announced at the meeting of the Constituency Electoral Committee.

(2) If the Constituency Electoral Committee rejects a constituency nomination an appeal may be made to the Land Electoral Committee within three days after the announcement of the decision. The spokesperson for the constituency nomination, the Federal Returning Officer, and the Constituency Returning Officer shall be entitled to appeal. The Federal Returning Officer and the Constituency Returning Officer may also appeal against a decision by which a constituency nomination is accepted. The persons concerned attending the appeal proceedings shall be heard. The decision on the appeal must be taken not later than the fifty-second day before the election.

(3) The Constituency Returning Officer shall publish the accepted constituency nominations not later than the forty-eighth day before the election.

Article 27 Land Lists

(1) Land lists may only be submitted by political parties. They must bear the personal and handwritten signatures of the executive committee of the Land party organization or, where Land organizations do not exist, those of the executive committees of the next lower regional organizations (Article 7, Paragraph (2), of the Law on Political Parties) existing within the territory of the Land ; moreover, in the case of the political parties mentioned in Article 18, Paragraph (2), they must be so signed by one per thousand of the persons entitled to vote in the Land at the last elections to the Bundestag, but by not more than 2,000 persons entitled to vote. Persons signing the Land list of one of the parties referred to in Article 18, Paragraph (2) must be entitled to vote at the time of signing the list ; proof of this entitlement must also be furnished when submitting the Land lists. The requirement to present additional signatures shall not apply to Land lists of parties representing national minorities.

(2) Land lists must show the name of the party submitting them as well as any shortened form of its name if such form is used by it.

(3) The names of the candidates must be listed in recognizable sequence.

(4) A candidate may only be nominated in one Land, and there only in one Land list. Only such persons as have given their consent in writing may be named in a Land list ; such consent shall be irrevocable.

(5) Article 21, Paragraphs (1), (3), (5) and (6), as well as Articles 22 to 25 shall apply mutatis mutandis, provided that the assurance in lieu of an oath to be given under Article 21, Paragraph (6), second sentence shall also cover an assurance to the effect that the sequence of the names of candidates shown in the Land list has been laid down by secret ballot.

Article 28 Acceptance of the Land List

(1) The Land Electoral Committee shall decide on the acceptance of the Land lists on the fifty-eighth day before the election. It shall reject Land lists if they1. are submitted too late, or 
2. do not meet the requirements established by this Law and by the Federal Election Regulations, unless laid down otherwise in these provisions.

If a list fails to meet the requirements in respect only of individual candidates their names shall be deleted from the Land list. The decison shall be made public in the meeting of the Land Electoral Committee.

(2) If the Land Electoral Committee rejects a Land list wholly or in part, an appeal may be made to the Federal Electoral Committee within three days after the announcement of the decision. The spokesperson for the Land list and the Land Returning Officer shall be entitled to appeal. The Land Returning Officer may also appeal against a decision by which a Land list is accepted. The persons concerned attending the appeal proceedings shall be heard. The decision on the appeal must be taken not later than the fifty-second day before the election.

(3) The Land Returning Officer shall publish the accepted Land lists not later than the forty-eighth day before the election.

Article 29 Exclusion from the Combination of Land Lists

(1) Exclusion from the combination of Land lists (Article 7) shall be notified to the Federal Returning Officer by the spokesperson for the Land list concerned and his/her deputy by means of a joint written statement not later than 6 p.m. on the thirty-fourth day before the election.

(2) The Federal Electoral Committee shall decide on the statements under Paragraph (1) above not later than the thirtieth day before the election, Article 28, Paragraph (1) second sentence shall apply mutatis mutandis. The decision shall be made public in the meeting of the Federal Electoral Committee.

(3) Not later than the twenty-sixth day before the election the Federal Returning Officer shall publish the combinations of lists and the Land lists for which a statement has been made under Paragraph (1) above.

Article 30 Ballot Papers

(1) The ballot papers, their envelopes and the envelopes for the postal ballot (Article 36, Paragraph (1)) shall be officially manufactured.

(2) The ballot paper shall contain1. for the constituency elections, the names of the candidates of the accepted constituency nominations ; additionally, in the case of constituency nominations by parties, it shall show the names of these parties as well as any shortened form of their names if such form is used by them, while in respect of other constituency nominations it shall, moreover, bear the distinctive code name. 
2. for elections by Land lists, the names of the parties and any shortened form of their names if such form is used by them, as well as the names of the first five candidates on the Land lists accepted.

(3) The order of the Land lists of parties which were represented in the last Bundestag shall be determined by the number of second votes which each obtained at the last Bundestag election in the Land concerned. The remainder of the Land lists shall follow in the alphabetical order of the names of the parties. The order of the constituency nominations shall be the same as the order of the corresponding Land lists. Other constituency nominations shall follow in the alphabetical order of the names of the parties or of the code names.

Section V The Poll

Article 31 Public Character of the Poll

Polling shall be public. The electoral board may eject from the polling station any persons causing a disturbance.

Article 32 Inadmissible Electioneering and Collection of Signatures, Inadmissible Publication of Opinion Polls

(1) In and at the entrance to the building in which the polling station is located it shall be forbidden to influence voters in any way by word, sound, writing, or image or by collecting signatures.

(2) The results of opinion polls after votes have been cast may not be published before the expiry of the time prescribed for the election.

Article 33 Preserving the Secrecy of the Ballot

(1) Measures shall be taken to ensure that the voter cannot be observed while marking his or her ballot paper and placing it in the envelope. Ballot boxes for the reception of the envelopes must be such that they ensure the preservation of the secrecy of the ballot.

(2) A voter who is illiterate or who is prevented by a physical handicap from marking the ballot paper, from placing it in the envelope, from handing the envelope over to the Electoral Officer or from placing it into the ballot box himself or herself, may be aided by another person.

Article 34 Casting the Vote by Means of Ballot Papers

(1) Votes shall be cast by using official ballot papers in official envelopes.

(2) The voter shall1. cast his or her first vote by marking the ballot paper with a cross or other sign clearly indicating for which candidate the vote is intended, and 
2. cast his or her second vote by marking the ballot paper with a cross or other sign clearly indicating for which Land list the vote is intended.

Article 35 Casting the Vote by Means of Voting Machines

(1) In order to facilitate the casting and counting of votes, voting machines equipped with independent registers may be used instead of ballot papers, envelopes and ballot boxes.

(2) Voting machines within the meaning of Paragraph (1) above must guarantee the secrecy of voting. They must be officially licensed in their design to be used at elections to the Bundestag for individual elections or on a general scale. The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall decide on the licensing of a voting machine on the application of its manufacturer. The use of an officially licensed voting machine shall be subject to approval by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Such approval may be pronounced in respect of individual elections or with general effect.

(3) The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall be authorized to issue detailed regulations by statutory ordinance not requiring the approval of the Bundesrat (Länder chamber) concerning :1. the conditions for the official licensing of the design of voting machines as well as for the withdrawal and the revocation of the licence, 
2. the procedure governing the official licensing of the design, 
3. the procedure governing the examination of a voting machine as to the type corresponding to the officially licensed design, 
4. the public testing of a voting machine prior to its use, 
5. the procedure governing the official approval of the use as well as the withdrawal and the revocation of the approval, 
6. the particularities contingent upon the use of voting machines in relation to the election.

In the cases provided for in Nos. 1 and 3, the statutory ordinance shall be issued in agreement with the Federal Ministry of Economics.

(4) As regards the operation of a voting machine, Article 33, Paragraph (1), first sentence and Paragraph (2) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 36 Postal Ballot

(1) If voting by postal ballot, the voter shall send in a sealed postal ballot envelope to the Constituency Returning Officer of the constituency in which his or her polling card was issued :a) his or her polling card and, 
b) in a separate sealed envelope, his or her ballot paper,

early enough to ensure that the postal ballot letter will arrive not later than 6 p.m. on election day. Article 33, Paragraph (2) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) On the polling card the voter or assisting person shall give an assurance in lieu of an oath to the Constituency Returning Officer that the ballot paper has been marked either personally or in accordance with the declared intent of the voter. The Constituency Returning Officer shall have competence to administer such an assurance in lieu of an oath ; he shall be deemed to constitute an authority within the meaning of Article 156 of the Penal Code.

(3) In the event of an order by the Land government or by an agency designated by it pursuant to Article 8, Paragraph (3), the place of the Constituency Returning Officer referred in Paragraph (1), first sentence and in Paragraph (2) shall be taken by the local authority that has issued the voting cards or the administrative authority of the county in which the local authority is situated.

(4) Postal ballot letters may be posted as standard mail without any special form of dispatch, free of charge, if contained in official election envelopes. If the sender chooses a special form of dispatch he must pay the amount in excess of the otherwise applicable letter rate. The Federal Government shall pay the postal service department (POSTDIENST) of the Deutsche Bundespost the valid letter rate for every official election envelope forwarded by it, posted unstamped, or sent by special mail.

Section VI Establishment of the Election Result

Article 37 Establishment of the Result in the Polling Districts

After the closing of the poll the Electoral Board shall establish how many votes have been cast in the polling district for the individual constituency nominations and Land lists.

Article 38 Establishment of the Result of the Postal Ballot

The Electoral Board appointed for the postal ballot shall establish how many postal votes have been cast for the individual constituency nominations and Land lists.

Article 39 Invalid Votes, Rejection of Postal Ballot Letters, Rules for Establishing Invalidity

(1) Votes shall be invalid if the ballot paper1. has not been handed over in an official voting envelope, 
2. has been handed over in a voting envelope which evidently differs from the other envelopes in a manner endangering the secrecy of the ballot, or which contains a distinctly tangible object, 
3. has not been officially manufactured or is valid for another constituency, 
4. shows no marking, 
5. does not reflect the voter’s intent beyond any doubt, 
6. contains any addendum or reservation.

In the cases mentioned under Nos. 1 to 4, both votes shall be invalid.

(2) Several ballot papers contained in a voting envelope shall be considered to be one ballot paper if their wording is identical or if only one of them has been marked, otherwise they shall count as one ballot paper with two invalid votes.

(3) If the voting envelope has been handed over empty, both votes shall be considered to be invalid. Where only one vote has been cast on the ballot paper, the vote not cast shall be invalid.

(4) If voting is by postal ballot, postal ballot letters shall be rejected if1. the postal ballot letter has not arrived in time, 
2. no or no valid ballot paper is enclosed in the postal ballot envelope, 
3. no voting envelope is annexed to the postal ballot envelope, 
4. neither the postal ballot envelope nor the voting envelope is sealed, 
5. the postal ballot envelope contains several voting envelopes but not an equal number of valid polling cards bearing the prescribed assurance in lieu of an oath, 
6. the voter or the person of his or her confidence has failed to sign the prescribed assurance in lieu of an oath for the postal ballot on the polling card, 
7. no official voting envelope has been used, 
8. a voting envelope has been used which evidently differs from the other envelopes in a manner endangering the secrecy of the ballot, or which contains a distinctly tangible object.

The senders of postal ballot letters that are rejected shall not be counted as voters ; their votes shall be deemed not to have been cast.

(5) The votes of a voter having taken part in the postal ballot shall not become invalid if he dies before or on election day or is disqualified from voting pursuant to Article 13.

Article 40 Decision of the Electoral Board

The Electoral Board shall decide on the validity of the votes cast and on any queries and objections arising during the poll and during the counting of votes. The Constituency Electoral Committee shall have a right of verification.

Article 41 Establishment of the Election Result in the Constituency

(1) The Constituency Electoral Committee shall establish how many votes have been cast in the constituency for the individual constituency nominations and Land lists, and which candidate has been elected Deputy for the constituency.

(2) The Constituency Returning Officer shall notify the candidate who has been elected Deputy for the Constituency and shall invite him to state in writing within a week whether he accepts the election.

Article 42 Establishment of the Election Result for the Land Lists

(1) The Land Electoral Committee shall establish how many votes have been cast in the Land for the individual Land lists.

(2) The Federal Electoral Committee shall establish how many seats have been won by the individual Land lists and which candidates have been elected.

(3) The Land Returning Officer shall notify the elected candidates and invite them to state in writing within a week whether they accept the election.

Section VII Special Regulations for By-Elections and Repeat Elections

Article 43 By-Elections

(1) A by-election shall take place1. if an election has not been held in a constituency or a polling district, 
2. if a constituency candidate dies after the acceptance of his or her nomination but before the election.

(2) In the event of Paragraph (1), No. 1, the by-election should take place not later than three weeks after the date of the general elections. In the event of Paragraph (1), No. 2, the by-election should take place not later than six weeks after the date of the general elections. The date of the by-election shall be determined by the Land Returning Officer.

(3) The by-election shall be subject to the same regulations and shall take place on the same basis as the general elections.

Article 44 Repeat Elections

(1) If an election is declared wholly or partly invalid as a result of the scrutiny proceedings, it shall be repeated as required by the respective decision.

(2) The repeat election shall be subject to the same regulations as the general elections, it shall be held with the same nominations and, provided less than six months have passed since the general elections, on the basis of the same register of voters, unless the decision reached under the scrutiny procedure shall prescribe otherwise with regard to nominations of candidates and registers of voters.

(3) The repeat election must take place not later than sixty days after the decision by which the election was declared invalid has become legally effective. Where the election has been declared only partially invalid, there shall be no repeat election if it is certain that a new Bundestag will be elected within six months. The date of the repeat election shall be determined by the Land Returning Officer or, in the case of a repeat election for the whole electoral area, by the Federal President.

(4) The election results shall be newly established on the basis of the repeat election, in accordance with the regulations laid down in Section VI, Article 41, Paragraph (2) and Article 42, Paragraph (3) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Section VIII Attaining and Losing Membership of the Bundestag

Article 45 Attaining Membership of the Bundestag

An elected candidate shall attain membership of the Bundestag upon receipt by the appropriate Returning Officer of his letter of acceptance within the period and in the form prescribed in Article 41, Paragraph (2) or Article 42, Paragraph (3), but not before the expiration of the period of legislature of the last Bundestag and, in the case of Article 44, Paragraph (4), not before the withdrawal of the member elected as a result of the original election. If the elected candidate fails to send or does not in due form send a letter of acceptance before the expiration of the legally prescribed period, the election shall be considered accepted as at the time of expiration. An acceptance under reserve shall count as a refusal. Statements of acceptance and refusal shall be irrevocable.

Article 46 Loss of Membership of the Bundestag

(1) A deputy shall lose his or her membership of the Bundestag1. if the attainment of membership is invalid, 
2. if the election result is newly established, 
3. if he or she loses one of the prerequisites for permanent eligibility, 
4. by resigning, 
5. if the Federal Constitutional Court finds in accordance with Article 21, Paragraph (2), second sentence of the Basic Law that the political party or party section of which the deputy is a member is unconstitutional.

Any grounds for loss of membership as may be laid down in other statutory provisions shall not be affected.

(2) A deputy whose election in the constituency is invalid shall nevertheless retain his or her membership of the Bundestag if he or she was at the same time elected on a Land list but was disregarded pursuant to Article 6, Paragraph (4), third sentence.

(3) Resignation shall only be effective if it is declared in writing to the President of the Bundestag, to a German notary having his seat within the area of application of this Law, or to a member of a German mission abroad who is authorized to authenticate documents. The deputy shall be required to transmit to the President of the Bundestag the declaration of resignation attested by a notary or presented to a mission abroad. The resignation shall be irrevocable.

(4) If a party or section of a party is declared unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court in accordance with Article 21, Paragraph (2), second sentence of the Basic Law, the deputies shall lose their membership of the Bundestag, and their successors on the list shall lose their candidacy, if they have been members of that party or party section during the period between the filing of the application (Article 43 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court) and the pronouncement of the decision (Article 46 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court). To the extent that deputies having lost their membership in accordance with the first sentence above were elected in constituencies, the election of a constituency deputy shall be repeated in such constituencies, Article 44, Paragraphs (2) to (4) being applied mutatis mutandis ; in these cases the deputies who have lost their membership in accordance with the first sentence above shall not be allowed to appear as candidates. If deputies having lost their membership in accordance with the first sentence above were elected on the basis of a Land list of the party or section of a party declared unconstitutional, their seats shall remain vacant. Otherwise, Article 48, Paragraph (1) shall be applicable.

Article 47 Decision on Loss of Membership

(1) A decision on loss of membership under Article 46, Paragraph (1) shall be made1. in the case of No. 1, under the scrutiny procedure, 
2. in the case of Nos. 2 and 5, by a resolution of the Council of Senior Members of the Bundestag, 
3. in the case of No. 3, if eligibility has been lost as a result of a judicial decision, by a resolution of the Council of Senior Members of the Bundestag, otherwise under the scrutiny procedure, 
4. in the case of No. 4, by the President of the Bundestag issuing a confirmation of the declaration of resignation.

(2) If a decision on the loss of membership is made under the scrutiny procedure, the deputy concerned shall withdraw from the Bundestag as soon as the decision shall become legally effective.

(3) If the Council of Senior Members or the President of the Bundestag decides on the loss of membership, the deputy concerned shall withdraw from the Bundestag as soon as the decision has been taken. The decision shall be taken ex officio without delay. Within two weeks after the decision has been served upon him or her, the deputy concerned may apply for a decision on the loss of membership to be taken by the Bundestag under the scrutiny procedure. Such decision shall be served upon the applicant in accordance with the provisions of the Law on the Serving of Documents in Administrative Procedure.

Article 48 Appointment of Successors from the Lists and Replacement Elections

(1) If an elected candidate dies or refuses to accept election, or if a member dies or subsequently withdraws from the Bundestag for any other reason, the vacant seat shall be filled by an appointment from the Land list of that party for which the departed member stood at the election. In the selection of the successor those candidates on the list who have subsequently to the drawing up of the Land list resigned from the party concerned shall not be taken into consideration. If the list is exhausted, the seat shall remain vacant. The decision as to which candidate from the list is to succeed to the seat shall be taken by the Land Returning Officer. Article 42, Paragraph (3) and Article 45 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) If the departed member has been elected as the constituency member for a group of voters or a party which had not been allowed to submit a Land list in the Land, a replacement election shall be held in the constituency. The replacement election must be held not later than sixty days after the seat has become vacant. There shall be no replacement election if it is certain that a new Bundestag will be elected within six months. The replacement election shall be conducted according to the general regulations. The election date shall be determined by the Land Returning Officer. Article 41, Paragraph (2) and Article 45 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Section IX Final Provisions

Article 49 Contestation

Any decisions and measures directly affecting the electoral procedure may only be contested by means of the legal remedies provided by this Law and the Federal Election Regulations and by way of the scrutiny procedure.

Article 49a Regulatory Offences

(1) Any person who1. contrary to the provisions of Article 11 refuses an honorary post without sufficient reason or evades the responsibilities of such office without sufficient excuse 
or 
2. contrary to the provisions of Article 32, Paragraph (2), publishes the results of opinion polls of voters decisions after voting before the time prescribed for voting has expired, shall be guilty of a regulatory offence.

(2) A regulatory offence pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 1 may carry a fine of up to DM 1,000. A regulatory offence pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 2 may carry a fine of up to DM 100,000.

(3) The administrative authority within the meaning of Article 36, Paragraph (1), No. 1 of the Law on Regulatory Offences is1. for regulatory offences pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 1a) the Constituency Returning Officer, if a person eligible to vote unjustifiably refuses to accept the office of Electoral Officer, Deputy Electoral Officer or member of the Electoral Board or County Electoral Committee or evades the responsibilities of such office without sufficient reason, 
b) the Land Returning Officer, if a person eligible to vote refuses to accept the office of a member of the Land Electoral Committee or evades the responsibilities of such office without sufficient reason, 
c) the Federal Returning Officer, if a person eligible to vote refuses to accept the office of member of the Federal Electoral Committee or evades the responsibilities of such office without sufficient reason ;

2. for regulatory offences pursuant to Paragraph (1), No. 2, the Federal Returning Officer.

Article 49b Government Funds for other Constituency Nominations

(1) Candidates for a constituency nomination, submitted pursuant to Articles 18 and 20 by persons entitled to vote, who receive at least 10 per cent of the valid votes cast in a constituency shall receive DM 4.00 per valid vote cast. Provision is to be made in the Federal Budget for these funds.

(2) The candidate shall apply in writing for assessment and payment of the government funds to the President of the German Bundestag within two months of the first meeting of the German Bundestag; any applications received after this period shall not be considered. The sum shall be assessed and paid by the President of the German Bundestag.

(3) The provisions of the Party Law on the absolute and relative upper limit shall not apply.

Article 50 Costs of the Election

(1) The Federation shall reimburse the Länder for their own and their municipalities’ (municipality associations’) necessary expenditure arising from the election by the payment of a fixed amount for each person entitled to vote which shall be determined in relation to the size of each commune.

(2) The fixed amount shall be determined by the Federal Ministry of the Interior with the consent of the Bundesrat. In determining the amount, current staff and material costs and costs for the use of premises and facilities belonging to the Länder and municipalities (municipality associations) shall not be taken into consideration.

Article 51 Election Statistics

(1) The results of the German Federal Parliamentary Elections shall be statistically analysed.

(2) In polling districts to be selected by the Federal Returning Officer in consultation with the Land Returning Officers and the Land Statistical Offices, statistics shall also be worked out on the sex and age of the persons entitled to vote and of the voters taking into consideration the votes cast for the individual nominations. The division of the poll according to age-group and sex shall only be admissible if the secrecy of each vote cast is fully preserved.

Article 52 Federal Election Regulations

(1) The Federal Ministry of the Interior shall issue the Federal Election Regulations necessary for the implementation of this Law. It shall in particular include therein statutory provisions regarding1. the appointment of Returning Officers and Electoral Officers, the formation of Electoral Committees and Electoral Boards, and the activities, quorum and procedure of the electoral bodies, 
2. appointments to honorary electoral posts, the reimbursement of expenses to persons holding honorary electoral posts, and the procedure for imposing fines, 
3. the hours of the poll, 
4. the delimitation of polling districts and their notification to the public, 
5. the various preconditions for entry in the voters’ registers, the keeping of such registers, their public display, their correction and closing, objections to and complaints against a voters’ register and the notification of persons entitled to vote, 
6. the various preconditions for the granting of polling cards and their issuance, and regarding objections to and complaints against the refusal of polling cards, 
7. proof that the preconditions for possessing the right to vote are met, 
8. the procedure to be followed according to Article 18, Paragraphs (2) to (4), 
9. the submission, content and form of nominations and relevant documents, their examination, the elimination of errors and defects, their acceptance, complaints against decisions of the Constituency Electoral Committee and the Land Electoral Committee, as well as the publication of nominations, 
10. the form and content of the ballot paper and regarding the voting envelope, 
11. the provision, furnishing and notification to the public of the polling stations as well as devices ensuring the secrecy of the poll and voting booths, 
12. the casting of votes, including special arrangements to meet special conditions, 
13. the postal ballot, 
14. voting in hospitals and nursing institutions, monasteries and convents, residential premises and areas closed by public health authorities, as well as social therapy and penal institutions, 
15. the establishment of the election results, their onward reporting to the appropriate authorities, their public announcement, and the notification of the successful candidates, 
16. the conduct of by-elections, repeat elections and replacement elections as well the appointment of successors from the lists of candidates.

(2) The statutory provisions shall not require the consent of the Bundesrat,

(3) The Federal Ministry of the Interior is authorized, in the event that the Bundestag is dissolved, to shorten the periods prescribed in the Federal Electoral Law and in the Federal Election Regulations by means of an ordinance without the consent of the Federal Council.

Article 53 Transitional Provisions

Article 3, Paragraph (4) applies accordingly for changes in Land boundaries which are undertaken pursuant to Article 2, Paragraphs (2) and (3) of the Länder Establishing Act of 22 July 1990 (Federal Law Gazette 1, No. 51, p. 955).

Article 54 Time Limits and Dates

The time limits and dates provided for in this Law may not be extended or changed on account of the fact that the last day of the period in question or a particular date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, a statutory or state-protected public holiday. A reversal to the previous state shall be precluded.

Article 55 Entry into Force

… 
________

In 1998 the legislator plans to amend this provision to 25 years. At the time of publication the law had not yet been adopted. 

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Rules of Procedure of the Federal Constitutional Court (Geschäftsordnung des Bundesverfassungsgerichts, GO-BVerfG)

This translation was first published by Inter Nationes as part of: Law on the Federal Constitutional Court, ed. by Sigrid Born, translated by Martin Fry and produced by Ilona Orthen. Reproduced with kind permission.

Contents

Part A

Provisions on the Organisation and Administration of the Federal Constitutional Court   §§ 1 – 19

Part B

Supplementary Procedural Provisions  §§ 20 – 70

Title 1:  General Procedural Provisions §§ 20 – 37

Title 2:  Procedure in Cases of Substitution Pursuant to §§ 15 Section 2 Sentence 2, and 19 Section 4 BVerfGG [1]  § 38

Title 3:  Procedure in the Chambers Pursuant to §§ 81a and 93b to 93d BVerfGG  §§ 39 – 42

Title 4:  Procedure in the Committee Pursuant to § 14 Section 5 BVerfGG §§ 43 – 46

Title 5:  Procedure in the Plenary Pursuant to § 16 BVerfGG §§ 47 – 48

Title 6:  Procedure in the Plenary Pursuant to § 105 BVerfGG §§ 49 – 54

Title 7: Procedure for Filing a Separate Opinion Pursuant to § 30 Section 2 BVerfGG § 55

Title 8:  Procedure in the Plenary Pursuant to § 7a BVerfGG §§ 56 – 58

Title 9: Procedure in the Complaints Chamber Pursuant to § 97c BVerfGG §§ 59 – 62

Title 10: General Register of the Federal Constitutional Court §§ 63 – 65

Title 11: Final Provisions §§ 66 – 73


Part A

Provisions on the Organisation and Administration of the Federal Constitutional Court

§ 1

(1) The Plenary and the President shall work together in fulfilling the tasks of the Court.

(2) The Plenary shall deliberate and decide on the budget of the Court, on all questions directly concerning the members of the Court, their status as well as their working conditions, and, as required, on general principles relating to the administration of the Court.

(3) The President shall exercise the powers conferred upon him by law and execute the decisions of the Plenary on its behalf. He shall be in charge of the administration of the Court; he shall discuss questions of fundamental importance with the Plenary.

§ 2

(1) The Plenary shall be convened by the President as required, but at least once in spring and in autumn.

(2) The President shall convene the Plenary without delay if requested by the Vice-President, a committee or at least three Justices and if the intended subject of the meeting is stated.

(3) Plenary meetings shall take place four days after the invitation at the earliest.

(4) The Plenary shall have a quorum if two thirds of the Justices are present.

(5) The agenda and, if necessary, the documents required for the meeting shall be enclosed with the invitation.

(6) The President shall place any item that has been submitted no later than three days prior to the meeting on the agenda. The Plenary may, provided no objections are raised, add further items to the agenda. Items submitted by the President, Vice-President, a committee or at least three Justices cannot be removed from the agenda. The Plenary shall decide on the agenda at the start of its meeting.

(7) The President shall chair the meetings. Minutes shall be taken of the course of the proceedings; they shall be sent to all Justices without delay.

§ 3

(1) The Plenary shall set up the following standing committees:

a) a Committee on the Rules of Procedure,

b) a Protocol Committee,

c) a Committee on Budgetary and Personnel Matters,

d) a Library Committee.

Further committees may be set up as necessary.

(2) Members of the standing committees shall include two Justices from each Senate; the committees pursuant to section 1 letters a to c shall also include the President and the Vice-President.

(3) The Plenary shall appoint the committee members and their deputies for two judicial years.

(4) The President shall chair those committees of which he is a member. The other committees shall elect one of their members as chairperson.

(5) Any committee member may request a committee meeting if he or she indicates the intended subject of the meeting. The chairperson must convene the committee without delay.

(6) A committee shall have a quorum if more than half its members are present.

(7) The standing committees shall act on behalf of the Plenary, except when the Plenary, in individual cases, opts to deal with the matter itself or if a committee considers a plenary decision to be necessary. The Plenary may decide to bind a committee to its decisions in dealing with a matter. The Plenary may task standing committees with preparing individual matters for discussion and decision in the Plenary.

(8) The chairpersons shall report to the Plenary on their committees’ activities at least once a year.

§ 4

Within the Court the President shall be deputised for by the Vice-President or, if the latter is unable to do so, by the longest-serving member of the Court present, or, in case of the same duration of service, by the eldest member of the Court present.

§ 5

(1) The President shall represent the Court in its external relations. If he is unable to do so, he shall be deputised for by the Vice-President or, if this is not possible, by the longest-serving member of the Court present; or, in case of the same duration of service, by the eldest member of the Court present.

(2) It shall be the responsibility of the President in consultation with the Vice-President to present the Court’s views and to safeguard its interests vis-à-vis the Federal President, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal Government, and their committees. They may be deputised for or supported by other Justices.

§ 6

The President shall exercise proprietary powers whose exercise may be delegated to others by presidential decree.

§ 7

(1) The members of the Court shall be kept informed of any important matter that affects the Court.

(2) In general, the Protocol Committee shall decide whether invitations received by the Court are accepted and who shall represent the Court on such occasions. The Protocol Committee must be informed if the President decides in its stead.

(3) The same shall apply accordingly to visits to the Court.

§ 8

The duration of service of a member of the Court shall be determined by the date on which they first took the oath as Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court. In the case of identical duration of service, their age shall be the determining factor.

§ 9

Insofar as legislation that applies accordingly to members of the Court assigns administrative decisions to the supervisor, supervising official or head of a public authority, such decisions shall be taken by the President.

§ 10

Official travel by Justices must be notified to the President who, by countersigning the application form, shows that he does not have any objection to the trip being treated as official. Notwithstanding the provision in sentence 1, the participation of Justices in specialist conferences in Germany qualifies as official travel.

§ 11

The Justices shall, in advance and in good time, notify the President and the presiding Justice of their Senate of holiday plans, illness and absences from Karlsruhe of more than a week’s length. They shall deposit an address or other details to ensure that they can be contacted.

§ 12

(1) The Director and the head of the Judicial Administration Department shall assist the presiding Justices of the Senates in particular with conducting the respective Senate’s business.

(2) They must be eligible to hold judicial office. In matters relating to the Senate, they shall take instructions exclusively from the presiding Justice.

§ 13

(1) The judicial clerks shall assist the Justices to whom they have been assigned with their official duties and shall be bound by their instructions.

(2) The Justices are entitled to select their own judicial clerks and to assess their work. The presiding Justices of the Senates may attach their own assessments.

§ 14

(1) The President shall allocate the administrative tasks. He may generally assign certain tasks to the Director to be conducted by the latter on his own.

(2) Administrative decisions that concern the members of the Court and are not simple tasks of administrative routine shall be taken by the President himself.

§ 15

(1) The Director shall act as head of administration on behalf of the President. Further details are regulated by a presidential decree.

(2) Preparatory discussions or negotiations conducted by members of the administration with representatives of legislative bodies or ministries must adhere to the guidelines laid down by the Plenary or one of its committees or, should no such guidelines exist, must be conducted according to the President’s instructions.

§ 16

Incoming mail must be presented to the President and the Vice-President, unless they state otherwise. Whoever is appointed, by the President and the Vice-President, to assign mail relating to proceedings and mail to be processed in the General Register, has to be eligible to hold judicial office.

§ 17

(1) Official Court information shall be publicised by the Press Office.

(2) Official information appertaining to the Senates’ work requires prior consent by the presiding Justice before it may be distributed to the media.

(3) The Press Office coordinates the Court’s media relations.

§ 18

Archives shall be set up in the Court’s library for collecting all material concerning the Court.

§ 19

Insofar as nothing to the contrary results from the Court’s position as highest collegial constitutional organ, the Federal Constitutional Court Act and the Act on the Salaries of Members of the Federal Constitutional Court, from these Rules of Procedure or from special administrative regulations issued by the Court, the general administrative rules for Highest Federal Authorities shall apply.

Part B

Supplementary Procedural Provisions

Title 1

General Procedure

§ 20

(1) Before the start of a judicial year, each Senate shall decide, with effect from the start of that judicial year, on the principles on how cases are assigned to the Justices, including the presiding Justices, as reporting Justices. Deviations from these principles shall be permissible during the judicial year only if they become necessary due to excessive workloads or Justices being unable to perform their functions for an extended period.

(2) The presiding Justice shall determine the reporting Justice for a given case. In doubt, the relevant members of the Senate will be given the opportunity to submit statements. In general, disagreements are resolved by the Senate. If a matter is particularly important, the presiding Justice may, with the Senate’s consent, appoint a co-reporting Justice.

§ 21

(1) The Senates shall determine the weekdays on which they regularly meet for deliberations. Extraordinary meetings are subject to a decision by the Senate; in urgent cases the presiding Justice may convene an extraordinary meeting.

(2) The presiding Justice shall decide on the agenda in consultation with the Senate. The agenda shall reach the members of the Senate at least ten days before the meeting.

§ 22

(1) Decisions pursuant to §§ 24 and 81a BVerfGG may be taken without service of the application or request; the same applies when admission of a constitutional complaint is refused (§§ 93a. 93b BVerfGG).

(2) The application shall be served by the presiding Justice (§ 23 section 2 BVerfGG) at the suggestion of the reporting Justice.

(3) Furthering the course of the proceedings, in particular issuing appropriate decrees, is the responsibility of the reporting Justice, in consultation with the presiding Justice where required.

(4) Requests to Supreme Federal Courts or Supreme Laender Courts (§ 82 section 4 BVerfGG) shall be ordered by the presiding Justice of the Senate at the suggestion of the reporting Justice or of the Senate. Corresponding requests may also be ordered in cases other than those involving a specific judicial review of statutes (§ 13, no. 11 BVerfGG).

(5) At the suggestion of the reporting Justice or by decision of the Senate, the presiding Justice shall request persons with special knowledge of a specific subject to provide expert opinions on an issue material to the decision.

(6) All measures pertaining to the proceedings shall be recorded in the files.

§ 23

(1) For every case to be decided by the Senate the reporting Justice shall provide a written opinion. At the same time, the members of the Senate shall also receive the reference files containing all documents relevant to the proceedings and to the decision. In simple cases a draft decision with reasons may be provided instead of an opinion.

(2) There shall be a period of at least ten days between the distribution of the opinion and deliberations or the oral hearing.

§ 24

(1) The Senate shall decide whether to hold an oral hearing. It may issue rules supplementing § 17a BVerfGG concerning oral hearings and the pronouncement of judgments.

(2) In general, the structure of an oral hearing should be based on the outline that has been approved by the Senate and forwarded to the parties to the proceedings in good time prior to the oral hearing.

(3) The audio recording of the oral hearing (§ 25a, sentence 2 BVerfGG) shall be made available only at the Court and only to the members of the Court and to the parties to the proceedings. Copying or privately transmitting audio recordings is not permissible.

(4) The parties to the proceedings may receive copies of transcripts produced for the Court.

(5) Transcripts of statements may be approved for publication or analysis in an academic publication or a documentation of the hearings if this is justified as striking a fair balance between the public interest in publication, the concerns of the parties involved and of the authors of the statements. Should personal data be included in the transcripts, the provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act on transfer for research purposes shall apply.

(6) Before granting access to a statement contained in a transcript, its author shall be given an opportunity to confirm the accuracy of the transcript; he or she may also propose stylistic changes, as long as the content remains unchanged. The decision on approving changes shall rest with the presiding Justice of the Senate. Objections raised by the author that do not result in a change of the transcript shall be recorded in the files. Hearing the author may be dispensed with if this would require disproportionate effort.

(7) At the beginning of oral hearings, the provision of § 25a BVerfGG shall be brought to the attention of those present.

§ 25

Only Justices participating in a case may be present during the deliberations.

§ 26

(1) Any Justice who has participated in the decision may, until it is pronounced or drawn up in writing to be served, demand that the deliberations be continued if he or she intends to change his or her vote; any Justice may request that the deliberations be continued if he or she wishes to present aspects not discussed previously or if a separate opinion gives cause to do so.

(2) Decisions that are not taken on the basis of oral hearings shall be given the date on which they were finally taken.

§ 27

The Senate shall decide on the course of deliberations. Should the case raise several legal issues, votes shall, as a rule, be taken on each issue in turn before determining the operative part of the judgment.

§ 28

(1) The Justices who participated in a decision shall be listed in the caption by name, in order of duration of service, after the presiding Justice.

(2) Should a Justice who participated in a decision be prevented from signing, this fact is to be certified by the presiding Justice.

§ 29

Decisions to be published in the Federal Law Gazette shall be sent by the Director to the responsible Federal Ministry. Should the decision not be published in the Federal Law Gazette three months after pronouncement or service thereof, the Director shall inform the presiding Justice and the reporting Justice of this fact.

§ 30

If the decision is announced to the representative of a constitutional organ taking part in proceedings, it shall also be sent directly to that organ.

§ 31

(1) The decisions of the Plenary pursuant to Article 16 section 1 BVerfGG and of the Senates shall be published in a collection of decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court, authorised by the Court itself. The collection shall be published by the Justices under their own responsibility.

(2) The Plenary or the Senate may exclude a decision from publication in the collection. This decision shall be recorded on file.

(3) If a chamber decision pursuant to §§ 81 a, 93 b or 93 c BVerfGG is, in exceptional cases, of particular interest to the public, the Senate may, at the Chamber’s suggestion, have it published in the collection.

(4) The names of the Justices who took part in the decision shall also be published in the collection.

(5) Names of persons, associations and places shall in principle be abbreviated to the initial letter on publication.

(6) Any surplus resulting from publishing the authorised collection of Federal Constitutional Court decisions shall be used for the purposes of an association of members of the Federal Constitutional Court or for charitable purposes.

§ 32

(1) Official information on decisions that have been issued must be approved by both the reporting Justice of the Senate and the presiding Justice and cannot be published until it can be assumed that the decision has been received by the parties to the proceedings.

(2) The same shall apply to chamber decisions accordingly.

§ 33

The Federal Constitutional Court shall have a Documentation Office. It records and documents decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court and other important material. The members of the Court participate in choosing and analysing the documents concerned. The latter are stored in a publicly accessible database encompassing such material as provided by the Supreme Federal Courts and the Federal Patent Court. The Documentation Office is also responsible for archiving decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court and for making them available on the internet.

§ 34

Drafts of judgments, orders and decrees, respective preparatory documents, and documents relating to voting in deliberations do not form part of the case file. They are to be kept in a separate envelope with the files. Without prejudice to § 35b sec. 5 sentence 2 BVerfGG, they are not subject to access to records.

§ 35

(1) The presiding Justice, in consultation with the reporting Justice, shall decide on access to the files. In cases pursuant to § 63 sec. 2 letter c, the President shall decide. Access to files concerning proceedings in the General Register according to § 63 sec. 1 is decided upon by those responsible under § 65.

(2) After proceedings have been concluded, parties to the proceedings (§ 20 BVerfGG) may be granted access to the files under an application of § 35b sec. 1 sentences 1 and 2 BVerfGG.

(3) The provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act regarding the transfer of personal data shall apply.

§ 36

Decisions by the Federal Constitutional Court must be anonymised before being passed on to authorities, courts or private third parties. Further details shall be laid down in an order by the President.

§ 37

(1) The Court’s files relating to Senate decisions, including the documents mentioned in § 34, may be sent to the Federal Archives after ten years.

(2) Destruction of files relating to proceedings and of documents mentioned in § 34 is permissible only after thirty years. Files relating to proceedings and documents mentioned in § 34 shall be exempt from destruction if they pertain to decisions that have been chosen for publication by the Court.

Title 2

Procedure in Cases of Substitution Pursuant to §§ 15 Section 2 Sentence 2, and 19 Section 4 BVerfGG

§ 38

(1) In the cases mentioned in §§ 15 section 2 sentence 2, and 19 section 4 sentence 1, BVerfGG, the presiding Justice of the Senate in which substitution is required shall request lots to be drawn.

(2) The presiding Justice of the other Senate shall carry out the draw. The Justices of both Senates are to be informed of the time of the draw at which a registrar of the Court Registry shall be present. Minutes of the draw shall be added to the files on the proceedings. The result of the draw shall be communicated to all members of the Court.

(3) § 15 section 1 sentence 2, BVerfGG shall apply accordingly to the request for and implementation of the draw.

Title 3

Procedure in the Chambers Pursuant to §§ 81a and 93b to 93d BVerfGG

§ 39

The President and the Vice-President shall chair the Chambers to which they belong; in the other Chambers the presiding Justice shall be the longest-serving Justice, age deciding in the case of equal duration of service.

§ 40

(1) Within the scope of their competence, the Chambers shall decide – usually on the basis of a written opinion – in the proceedings that are assigned to one of their members as reporting Justice. Should a Justice be a member of several Chambers, the Senate shall determine, in its decision pursuant to Article 15 a section 2 BVerfGG, on how to distribute his or her proceedings to the Chambers.

(2) Should no unanimous vote be reached by the Chamber, the Senate shall also decide in cases pursuant to § 93d section 2 BVerfGG.

(3) If the Chamber refuses to admit a constitutional complaint for decision, any applications made in this matter for temporary injunctions shall become invalid.

§ 41

The reporting Justice may, prior to the Chamber’s decision on inadmissibility of a judicial review of a statute or non-admission of a constitutional complaint (§§ 81a, 93b BVerfGG), request statements from parties entitled to make statements (§ 82 in conjunction with §§ 77 and 94 BVerfGG) or from third parties, and may make requests to the courts referred to in § 82 section 4 BVerfGG.

§ 42

If, in proceedings on a constitutional complaint that was not admitted, files had been requested from the court against whose decision the complaint was directed, that court must be sent a copy of the decision on non-admission when the files are returned. The same shall apply if a constitutional organ or an authority, upon request, has made a statement on the complaint, or if the complaint was directed against the decision of a Supreme Federal Court.

Title 4

Procedure in the Committee Pursuant to § 14 Section 5 BVerfGG

§ 43

The committee established pursuant to § 14 section 5 BVerfGG shall consist of two Justices and two deputies elected from each Senate for one judicial year. The President shall be deputised for by the Vice-President; should the latter be unable to attend, the deputy shall be the longest-serving Justice on the committee, age deciding in the case of equal duration of service.

§ 44

(1) The presiding Justices of the two Senates shall be informed of all incoming cases that fall within the jurisdiction of the respective Senate. At the same time, they shall be made aware of doubts that may exist with regard to the Senate’s jurisdiction. The presiding Justice shall, if necessary, initiate a discussion on the matter in his or her Senate.

(2) A case may be transferred to the other Senate if the presiding and reporting Justices of both Senates agree to the transfer.

(3) Any member of the Court may request a meeting of the committee. The committee shall be convened without delay, usually within fourteen days. This does not apply if the Senate has already begun deliberations on the matter.

§ 45

The President shall appoint two reporting Justices from among the members of the committee, one belonging to each Senate. The reporting Justices may issue a written opinion on the matter of jurisdiction, either jointly or separately prior to the meeting.

§ 46

The committee’s decisions shall be recorded by the chairperson in a file note. No reasons shall be given. The decisions shall be communicated to all members of the Court and added to the files on the proceedings.

Title 5

Procedure in the Plenary Pursuant to § 16 BVerfGG

§ 47

(1) If a Senate intends to deviate in a point of law from the legal view contained in a decision by the other Senate or the Plenary, it shall refer the matter to the Plenary by Senate decision.

(2) The matter shall not be referred to the Plenary if the Senate, from whose decision the other Senate intends to deviate, states, upon enquiry, that it will not maintain its legal view.

§ 48

(1) The presiding Justices of the Senates shall each appoint a reporting Justice to prepare the decision of the Plenary. The latter shall each submit an opinion at least ten days before the plenary meeting.

(2) The plenary decision shall be issued with reasons. It shall be treated in the same way as decisions by the Senates.

Title 6

Procedure in the Plenary Pursuant to § 105 BVerfGG

§ 49

(1) The application to initiate proceedings pursuant to § 105 section 1 BVerfGG shall be made by at least six members of the Court; in the case of § 105 section 1 number 1 it can also be made jointly by the President and the Vice-President.

(2) The application, along with its reasons, shall be sent to all members of the Court in a confidential form, receipt of which must be acknowledged by signature.

§ 50

The Justice against whom the application is directed shall be given the opportunity to submit a written statement and to state his case orally before the Plenary.

§ 51

The decision to initiate proceedings requires the approval of at least eight Justices. The Plenary shall deliberate and decide in the absence of the Justice involved. No reasons shall be given for the decision; it shall be signed by the participating Justices and subsequently disclosed to the Justice concerned.

§ 52

Following initiation of proceedings, the Plenary shall appoint an investigating Justice from among its members. He or she shall hear the Justice concerned and shall carry out the necessary investigations; he or she shall summon the Justice concerned to evidentiary hearings. He or she shall inform the Plenary, in writing and in the oral hearings, of the results of the investigation; the report shall conclude with a proposal for a decision. The investigating Justice shall be debarred from participating in the deliberations and in the decision-making.

§ 53

The oral hearing shall take place in camera. Upon application by the Justice concerned, the public may, however, be admitted.

§ 54

(1) The proceedings on an application pursuant to § 105 section 1 BVerfGG shall be discontinued if the Justice against whom the application is directed has been dismissed pursuant to § 12 BVerfGG or if he or she retires due to the expiry of his or her term of office or upon his or her own request (§ 98 section 1, section 2 number 2 BVerfGG).

(2) Proceedings shall also be discontinued if the application is withdrawn prior to a decision pursuant to § 105 section 4 BVerfGG, except when the Plenary decides to initiate or continue it.

Title 7

Procedure for Filing a Separate Opinion Pursuant to § 30 Section 2 BVerfGG

§ 55

(1) The separate opinion in which a Justice states his or her deviating opinion on the decision or its reasoning as already expressed during the deliberations must be submitted to the presiding Justice of the Senate within three weeks of the decision being finalised. The Senate may extend this time-limit.

(2) Anyone intending to submit a separate opinion shall inform the Senate thereof as soon as the state of the deliberations permits.

(3) If the separate opinion is submitted with regard to a judgment, the presiding Justice shall announce this fact during the decision’s pronouncement. The Justice concerned may then state the main points of the separate opinion.

(4) The decision and the separate opinion shall be publicised together.

(5) The separate opinion shall be annexed to the decision published in the the collection of decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court and shall bear the name of the Justice concerned.

(6) The above provisions shall apply accordingly to separate opinions on decisions of the Plenary.

Title 8

Procedure in the Plenary Pursuant to § 7a BVerfGG

§ 56

Any member of the Court may suggest candidates for the Plenary’s proposal pursuant to § 7a BVerfGG. These suggestions must be submitted, with reasons, no later than one week before the meeting of the Plenary; the suggestion must state whether the candidate agrees to being nominated in the Plenary. If all members of the Court present agree, the deadline for suggesting candidates may be waived.

§ 57

(1) There shall be a secret ballot on the candidates after the debate. The quorum shall be governed by § 7a section 2, sentence 3, in conjunction with § 16 section 2 BVerfGG.

(2) The first round of voting shall take place using voting slips on which the candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Each Justice has as many votes as there are candidates. The Justices who receive at least the majority of the votes cast, in the order resulting from the number of votes, shall be elected.

(3) Should the first round of voting be partly or completely unsuccessful, the candidates shall be elected in special rounds using voting slips on which those entitled to vote shall write one name only. This procedure shall be repeated until one candidate receives the majority of the votes cast; in each round the candidate who receives the least votes shall be excluded.

§ 58

(1) If the election pursuant to § 57 does not result in a sufficient number of candidates to be proposed, the remaining positions to be filled shall be voted on in a second election. This election is to take place two calendar weeks after the end of the first election. New candidates may be nominated or former candidates re-nominated; the deadline pursuant to § 56, sentence 2 shall be reduced to three days. The Plenary may decide to only use the voting method referred to in § 57 section 3 in the new election.

(2) lf, in the case of section 1 sentence 1 candidates for the new election are suggested during the Plenary meeting itself, the members of the Court present can unanimously decide to immediately hold the second election. Should only candidates be nominated that already had been suggested for the first election, that decision may be taken by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Court present.

Title 9

Procedure in the Complaints Chamber Pursuant to § 97c BVerfGG

§ 59

(1) Each year, the Plenary shall appoint the members of the Complaints Chamber for a two-year term of office: one Justice from each Senate and one deputy each. Immediate re-election is not permissible. The President and the Vice-President cannot be members of the Complaints Chamber.

(2) For the Complaints Chamber’s first term, starting in 2012, the Plenary shall appoint one Justice from each Senate for three years each. The same shall apply to the members of the Court designated as deputies.

§ 60

If a member of the Chamber is debarred from being involved in the proceedings pursuant to § 97c section 2 BVerfGG or is unable to perform his or her functions due to other reasons, the Justice shall be deputised for by the member of the Court designated by the Plenary to serve as that Justice’s deputy. Should this Justice also be unable to perform his or her functions, the longest-serving member of the Senate to which the member of the Chamber belongs shall deputise for him or her. The same shall apply for the remaining term of office if a member of the Complaints Chamber leaves the Court.

§ 61

The Complaints Chamber shall be chaired by its longest-serving member.

§ 62

(1) In general, a statement pursuant to § 97d section 1 BVerfGG shall only be submitted upon request of the reporting Justice of the Complaints Chamber. He or she may request the files of the initial proceedings if access to the records is not precluded by § 34.

(2) The presiding Justice of the Complaints Chamber, with the consent of the Chamber’s reporting Justice, shall decide whether the parties to the proceedings may access the files.

Title 10

General Register of the Federal Constitutional Court

§ 63

(1) Submissions to the Federal Constitutional Court that neither concern administrative matters of the Court nor are formally admissible under the provisions of the Federal Constitutional Court Act shall be recorded in the General Register and treated as matters of judicial administration. In particular, these shall include:

a) inquiries on jurisprudence of the Federal Constitutional Court and on proceedings that are pending or have been concluded,

b) submissions containing neither a specific request nor the assertion of a claim falling within the jurisdiction of the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) The following may also be registered in the General Register:

a) constitutional complaints whose admission for decision (§ 93a BVerfGG) is out of the question, since they are clearly inadmissible or, with due regard to the jurisprudence of the Federal Constitutional Court, clearly have no prospect of success,

b) other applications to institute proceedings that are clearly inadmissible,

c) proceedings for which the jurisdiction of either Senate cannot be immediately determined.

§ 64

(1) The decision on whether a matter is to be recorded in the General Register shall be taken by the presiding Justice of the relevant Senate. The presiding Justices may generally delegate the power of decision to those members of staff appointed to assign mail pursuant to § 16.

(2) A matter that has been recorded in the General Register pursuant to § 63 section 2, letter a, shall be transferred to the Register of Proceedings if the submitter, on being informed of the legal situation, requests a judicial decision.

(3) If a matter is to be transferred from the General Register to the Register of Proceedings, it must be sent to the desk officer of the General Register.

(4) The files of the proceedings registered in the General Register that have not been transferred to the Register of Proceedings shall be destroyed according to § 35b section 7 BVerfGG five years after the last decision in the matter. The matters submitted prior to the entry into force of this provision shall, in principle, be destroyed ten years after their receipt.

§ 65

The General Register shall act via the head of the Judicial Administration Department on behalf of the Court. He or she shall be assisted by desk officers of the General Register who are authorised to sign and who have to be eligible to hold judicial office.

Title 11

Final Provisions

§ 66

For the purposes of the present Rules of Procedure, members of the Court shall include Justices who continue to fulfil their functions after expiration of their term of office (§ 4 section 4 BVerfGG).

§ 67

During oral hearings the Justices shall wear a gown and cap.

§ 68

The judicial year of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be the calendar year.

§ 69

(1) Data on the work of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be collected for statistical purposes.

(2) The Court’s workload shall be recorded in monthly statistics and, at the end of the judicial year, in annual statistics.

§ 70

Notwithstanding § 19, the Court building shall fly flags during oral hearings, the pronouncement of judgments, and on the President’s special order.

§ 71

(1) Any Justice may apply for an amendment to these Rules of Procedure. The application must be made in writing, and must contain the wording of the proposed amendment as well as the reasons for the proposal.

(2) The decision by the Plenary may be taken no earlier than one month after the application was filed.

(3) During a state of defence (Articles 115a section 1, 115g of the Basic Law, Grundgesetz – GG), these Rules of Procedure may be amended by a majority of the Justices present, should this be necessary to maintain the Court’s working order.

(4) Should a female President, Vice-President or Director assume office, the sex-specific terms of the Rules of Procedure shall be changed accordingly.

§ 72

These Rules of Procedure shall be published in the Federal Law Gazette.

§ 73

These Rules of Procedure shall enter into force on the day after their publication; at the same time, the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Constitutional Court of 15 December 1986 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 2529), last amendment made pursuant to Article 1 of the publication of the amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Constitutional Court dating of 7 January 2002 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1171), shall expire.

© 1996 Inter Nationes. This HTML edition © 1998 Gerhard Dannemann. The contents of this page may be downloaded and printed out in single copies for individual use only. Making multiple copies without permission is prohibited.

Federal Constitutional Court Act (Bundesverfassungsgerichts-Gesetz, BVerfGG)

Long title: Law on the Federal Constitutional Court (Gesetz über das Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfGG)

of 12 March 1951 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 243); as published on 11 August 1993 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1473); last amended by Article 8 of the Regulation of 31 August 2015 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1474)

Translation with kind permission by the Federal Constitutional Court

Part I

Constitution and Jurisdiction 
of the Federal Constitutional Court

§ 1

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall be a federal court of justice, unaffiliated with, and independent of, all other constitutional organs.

(2) The seat of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be Karlsruhe.

(3) The Federal Constitutional Court shall establish rules of procedure, which shall be adopted by the Plenary.

§ 2

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall consist of two Senates.

(2) Eight Justices shall be elected to each Senate.

(3) Three Justices of each Senate shall be elected from among the judges of the Supreme Federal Courts. Only judges who have served at least three years with one of the Supreme Federal Courts should be elected.

§ 3

(1) The Justices must be 40 years of age, be eligible for election to the Bundestag, and must have stated in writing that they are willing to become a member of the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) They must be eligible for judicial office pursuant to the German Judiciary Act or must have acquired, on or before 3 October 1990, the qualification of a Diplomjurist in the territory named in Art. 3 of the Unification Treaty and must be allowed, pursuant to the Unification Treaty, to work in a regulated legal profession.

(3) They may not be members of the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal Government, or of any of the corresponding organs of a Land. Upon their appointment they shall cease to be members of such organs.

(4) The office of a Justice shall preclude any other professional occupation save that of a professor of law at a German university. The judicial office at the Federal Constitutional Court shall take precedence over service as a professor.

§ 4

(1) The term of office of the Justices shall be twelve years, notwithstanding the age of retirement.

(2) Immediate or subsequent re-election of Justices shall not be permissible.

(3) A Justice shall reach retirement age at the end of the month in which he or she turns 68 years of age.

(4) Upon expiration of their terms of office, the Justices shall continue to fulfil their functions until a successor is appointed.

§ 5

(1) One half of each Senate’s Justices shall be elected by the Bundestag, the other half by the Bundesrat. Of those Justices to be selected from among the judges of the Supreme Federal Courts, one shall be elected by one of the electoral organs and two by the other; of the remaining Justices, three shall be elected by one organ and two by the other.

(2) The Justices shall be elected no earlier than three months before the expiration of their predecessors’ terms of office or, if the Bundestag is dissolved at the time, within one month of the first meeting of the Bundestag.

(3) If a Justice leaves office prematurely, the successor shall within one month be elected by the same federal organ that elected the Justice who left office.

§ 6

(1) The Justices who are to be elected by the Bundestag shall without prior debate be elected by secret ballot and upon a proposal by the Electoral Committee pursuant to section 2. To be elected, a Justice must obtain a two-thirds majority of the votes cast and at least a majority among the members of the Bundestag.

(2) The Bundestag shall, pursuant to the principles of proportional representation, elect an Electoral Committee for the Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court which consists of twelve members of the Bundestag. Each parliamentary group may propose a list of candidates for the Committee. The number of candidates elected from each list shall be calculated from the total number of votes cast for each list pursuant to the d’Hondt method. The members shall be elected in the order in which their names appear on the list. A member of the Electoral Committee who leaves office or is unable to perform his or her functions shall be replaced by the member who was proposed next on the same list.

(3) The eldest member of the Electoral Committee shall without delay call a meeting of the Electoral Committee, subject to a one week notification period, and shall chair the meeting, which shall continue until proposals for all Justices to be elected have been passed.

(4) The members of the Electoral Committee are obliged to maintain confidentiality concerning the candidates’ personal circumstances which become known to them as a result of their work in the Committee, as well as about the Committee’s discussions on this issue and the casting of votes.

(5) A proposal shall require at least eight votes in the Electoral Committee to pass.

§ 7

The Justices who are to be elected by the Bundesrat shall be elected by two thirds of the votes of the Bundesrat.

§ 7a

(1) If, within two months of the expiration of a Justice’s term of office or his or her early departure from office, no successor has been elected pursuant to § 6, the eldest member of the Electoral Committee shall without delay request the Federal Constitutional Court to propose candidates for election.

(2) The Plenary of the Federal Constitutional Court shall decide with a simple majority whom to propose as a candidate. If only one Justice is to be elected, the Federal Constitutional Court shall propose three candidates; if several Justices are to be elected simultaneously, the Federal Constitutional Court shall propose twice as many candidates as Justices are to be elected. § 16 sec. 2 shall apply accordingly.

(3) If the Justice is to be elected by the Bundesrat, sections 1 and 2 shall apply with the stipulation that the tasks of the Electoral Committee’s eldest member shall be executed by the President of the Bundesrat or the President’s deputy.

(4) The electoral organ’s right to elect a candidate not proposed by the Federal Constitutional Court shall not be affected.

§ 8

(1) The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection shall compile a list of all federal judges who meet the requirements of § 3 secs.1 and 2.

(2) The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection shall keep another list in which it shall enter all candidates who were proposed by a Bundestag parliamentary group, the Federal Government or a Land government for the office of a Federal Constitutional Court Justice, and who meet the requirements of § 3 secs.1 and 2.

(3) The lists shall be continually updated; at least one week before an election, they shall be forwarded to the Presidents of the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

§ 9

(1) The Bundestag and the Bundesrat shall alternately elect the President and the Vice-President of the Federal Constitutional Court. The Vice-President shall be elected from the Senate of which the President is not a member.

(2) In the first election, the Bundestag shall elect the President and the Bundesrat the Vice-President.

(3) §§ 6 and 7 shall apply accordingly.

§ 10

The Federal President shall appoint the elected Justices.

§ 11

(1) On assuming office, the Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court shall take the following oath before the Federal President:

“I swear that I shall, as an impartial judge, at all times faithfully observe the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, and that I shall faithfully perform my judicial duties towards everyone. So help me God.”

If the oath is taken by a female Justice, the words “als gerechter Richter” (as an impartial judge) are replaced by the words “als gerechte Richterin”.

(2) If a Justice adheres to a religious denomination whose members are permitted by law to use a different form of affirmation, the Justice may do so.

(3) The oath may be taken without the religious affirmation.

§ 12

The Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court may at any time request to be discharged from office. The discharge shall be declared by the Federal President.

§ 13

The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide

1. on the forfeiture of fundamental rights (Art. 18 of the Basic Law),

2. on the unconstitutionality of political parties (Art. 21 sec. 2 of the Basic Law),

3. on complaints against decisions of the Bundestag relating to the validity of an election or to the acquisition or loss of a seat in the Bundestag (Art. 41 sec. 2 of the Basic Law),

3a. on complaints by groups of individuals regarding their non-recognition as a political party for an election to the Bundestag (Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 4c of the Basic Law),

4. on the impeachment of the Federal President by the Bundestag or the Bundesrat (Art. 61 of the Basic Law),

5. on the interpretation of the Basic Law in the event of disputes concerning the extent of the rights and obligations of one of the highest federal organs or of other parties who have been vested with own rights by the Basic Law or by the rules of procedure of one of the highest federal organs (Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 1 of the Basic Law),

6. in case of disagreements or doubts regarding the formal or substantive compatibility of federal or Land law with the Basic Law, or the compatibility of Land law with other federal law, upon request by the Federal Government, a Land government, or one quarter of the members of the Bundestag (Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 2 of the Basic Law),

6a. in case of disagreements over whether a law complies with the requirements of Art. 72 sec. 2 of the Basic Law, upon request by the Bundesrat, a Land government or a Land parliament (Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 2a of the Basic Law),

6b. on the question of whether in the case referred to in Art. 72 sec. 4 of the Basic Law, a federal regulation pursuant to Art. 72 sec. 2 is no longer necessary, or whether in the cases referred to in Art. 125a sec. 2 sentence 1 of the Basic Law, a law could no longer be passed as federal law, upon request by the Bundesrat, a Land government or a Land parliament (Art. 93 sec. 2 of the Basic Law),

7. in case of disagreements over the rights and obligations of the Federation and the Laender, particularly with regard to the implementation of federal law by the Laender and the exercise of federal supervision (Art. 93 sec.1 no. 3 and Art. 84 sec. 4 sentence 2 of the Basic Law),

8. in other public-law disputes between the Federation and the Laender, between different Laender, or within a Land, unless there is recourse to other courts (Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 4 of the Basic Law),

8a. on constitutional complaints (Art. 93 sec. 1 nos. 4a and 4b of the Basic Law),

9. on the impeachment of federal and Land judges (Art. 98 secs. 2 and 5 of the Basic Law),

10. on constitutional disputes within a Land if the decision is assigned to the Federal Constitutional Court by Land legislation (Art. 99 of the Basic Law),

11. on the compatibility of a federal or Land statute with the Basic Law, or the compatibility of a Land statute or other Land law with a federal statute, at the request of a court (Art. 100 sec. 1 of the Basic Law),

11a. on the question of whether a decision by the Bundestag to institute a committee of inquiry is compatible with the Basic Law, upon referral pursuant to § 36 sec. 2 of the Committees of Inquiry Act,

12. in case of doubt whether a rule of public international law is part of federal law and whether it directly creates rights and obligations for individuals, at the request of the court (Art. 100 sec. 2 of the Basic Law),

13. if the constitutional court of a Land, in interpreting the Basic Law, intends to deviate from a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court or the constitutional court of another Land, at the request of that constitutional court (Art. 100 sec. 3 of the Basic Law),

14. in case of disagreements whether law continues to be valid as federal law (Art. 126 of the Basic Law),

15. such other cases that are assigned to it by federal law (Art. 93 sec. 3 of the Basic Law).

§ 14

(1) The First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be competent for judicial review proceedings (§ 13 nos. 6 and 11) in which the main issue is a provision’s alleged incompatibility with fundamental rights or with the rights under Arts. 33, 101, 103, and 104 of the Basic Law; it shall also be competent for constitutional complaints, with the exception of constitutional complaints pursuant to § 91 and those concerning electoral law. The same applies if a Land government files an application for judicial review (§ 13 no. 6) pursuant to sentence 1, together with an application pursuant to § 13 nos. 6a or 6b.

(2) The Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be competent in the cases referred to in § 13 nos. 1 to 5, 6a to 9, 11a, 12, and 14, as well as for judicial review proceedings and constitutional complaints not assigned to the First Senate.

(3) In the cases referred to in § 13 nos. 10 and 13, the competence of the Senates shall be governed by the provisions of sections 1 and 2.

(4) The Plenary of the Federal Constitutional Court may, effective from the beginning of the next judicial year, regulate the Senates’ competences in a way that deviates from sections 1 to 3 if this becomes imperative due to a not merely temporary work overload in one of the Senates. This regulation shall also apply to pending proceedings in which an oral hearing or deliberations have not yet taken place. The respective order shall be published in the Federal Law Gazette.

(5) Cases in which it is unclear which Senate is competent shall be decided by a committee consisting of the President, the Vice-President and four Justices, of which each Senate shall appoint two for the duration of a judicial year. In the event of a tied vote, the presiding Justice shall have a casting vote.

§ 15

(1) The President and the Vice-President of the Federal Constitutional Court shall preside over their respective Senates. Their deputies shall be the most senior Justice of those present in the respective Senate, or in case of the same seniority the eldest Justice.

(2) Each Senate shall have a quorum if at least six Justices are present. If, in a particularly urgent case, a Senate does not have a quorum, the presiding Justice shall order a drawing of lots to designate Justices of the other Senate as substitutes until the quorum is reached. The presiding Justices of the Senates cannot be designated as substitutes. Further details shall be governed by the rules of procedure.

(3) Once deliberations on a case have begun, no other Justices may join. If the Senate loses quorum, the deliberations must begin anew after substitute Justices have joined the Senate.

(4) In proceedings pursuant to § 13 nos. 1, 2, 4, and 9, a two-thirds majority among the members of the Senate is required for any decision to the disadvantage of the respondent. Unless the law provides otherwise, all other cases shall be decided by a majority of the Senate members who participated in the decision. In the event of a tied vote, the Court cannot establish a violation of the Basic Law or other federal law.

§ 15a

(1) The Senates shall appoint several Chambers for the duration of one judicial year. Each Chamber shall consist of three Justices. The composition of a Chamber should not remain unchanged for more than three years.

(2) Before each judicial year, the Senate shall, for the duration of that year, decide the following issues: the division of proceedings pursuant to § 80 and of constitutional complaints pursuant to §§ 90 and 91 among the reporting Justices; the number and composition of the Chambers; as well as their substitute members.

§ 16

(1) Should a Senate intend to deviate in a point of law from the legal view contained in a decision by the other Senate, the matter shall be decided by the Plenary of the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) The Plenary shall have a quorum if two thirds of the Justices of each Senate are present.

Part II

Constitutional Court Procedure

First Section. General Procedural Regulations

§ 17

Unless this Act provides otherwise, with regard to admission of the public, police powers in court, the language of the court, deliberations, and the casting of votes, Titles 14 to 16 of the Courts Constitution Act shall apply accordingly.

§ 17a

(1) In deviation from § 169 sentence 2 of the Courts Constitution Act, TV and radio broadcasts as well as filming and sound recording for public presentation or for the publication of its contents shall be permissible

1. during oral hearings, until the Court has established that the parties are present,

2. during public pronouncements of decisions.

(2) In order to protect legitimate interests of the parties or of third parties, and to ensure the proper course of proceedings, the Federal Constitutional Court may completely or partially prohibit making or transmitting recordings pursuant to section 1, or may subject them to conditions.

§ 18

(1) A Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be debarred from exercising his or her duties if the Justice

1. is a party to the case or is or was married to a party, is or was living in a civil partnership with one of the parties, is related to one of the parties by blood or marriage in the direct line, by blood up to the third degree or by marriage up to the second degree in the collateral line, or

2. has already been involved in the same case due to the Justice’s office or profession.

(2) A Justice who has an interest in the outcome of the proceedings because of his or her marital status, profession, descent, membership in a political party, or because of a similarly general consideration, shall not be regarded as a party to the case.

(3) Involvement for the purposes of section 1 no. 2 shall not include

1. participating in the legislative procedure,

2. expressing a scholarly opinion on a point of law that may be relevant to the case.

§ 19

(1) If a Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court is challenged on grounds of possible bias, the Court shall decide in that Justice’s absence; if the votes are tied, the presiding Justice shall have a casting vote.

(2) The reasons for the challenge shall be stated. The challenged Justice shall express him- or herself on the challenge. A challenge shall not be considered if made after the beginning of the oral hearing.

(3) If a Justice who has not been challenged recuses him- or herself, section 1 shall apply accordingly.

(4) If the Federal Constitutional Court has declared a challenge or recusal to be well-founded, lots shall be drawn to select a Justice from the other Senate as a substitute. The presiding Justices of the Senates cannot be designated as substitutes. Further details shall be set out in the rules of procedure.

§ 20

The parties shall have access to the files.

§ 21

If a group of individuals initiates the proceedings, or if proceedings are initiated against such a group, the Federal Constitutional Court may order that the group exercise its rights, especially its right to attend hearings, by appointing one or more representatives.

§ 22

(1) At any stage of the proceedings, the parties may be represented by an attorney or a professor of law who is eligible to hold judicial office, and who teaches at a state or state-recognised institution of higher education of a member state of the European Union, another member state of the European Economic Area, or Switzerland; in the oral hearing before the Federal Constitutional Court, the parties must be represented in this manner. Legislative bodies and those parts of them that their rules of procedure or the Constitution have endowed with own rights may also be represented by their members. The Federation, the Laender and their constitutional organs may also be represented by their civil servants, provided that they are eligible to hold judicial office or are qualified for higher administrative service by having passed the required state examinations. The Federal Constitutional Court may also permit another person to act as adviser to a party.

(2) The powers of attorney shall be granted in writing. They must relate expressly to the proceedings at hand.

(3) If an authorised representative has been duly appointed, all notifications by the Court shall be addressed to him or her.

§ 23

(1) Applications which initiate proceedings shall be submitted to the Federal Constitutional Court in writing. They must be substantiated and must list the necessary evidence.

(2) The presiding Justice or, in case of a decision pursuant to § 93c, the reporting Justice, shall without delay serve the following parties with the application, requesting that they submit a statement on the matter within a period specified by him or her: the respondent, other parties to the case, and third parties that have been given the opportunity to submit a statement pursuant to § 27a.

(3) The presiding or reporting Justice may order any party to submit, within a period specified by him or her, the necessary number of copies of the briefs and of the challenged decisions for the Court and the other parties.

§ 24

Inadmissible or clearly unfounded applications may be dismissed by unanimous order of the Court. No further reasons for this order need to be stated if the applicant was previously made aware of the concerns regarding the admissibility or the question whether the application is well-founded.

§ 25

(1) In the absence of provisions to the contrary, the Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the basis of oral hearings, unless all parties expressly waive them.

(2) Decisions based on oral hearings shall be issued as judgments; decisions rendered without oral hearings as orders.

(3) Decisions on part of an action and interim decisions shall be permitted.

(4) The decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be issued “in the name of the people.”

§ 25a

Written minutes shall be taken of oral hearings. The hearings shall also be recorded on tape; further details shall be set out in the rules of procedure.

§ 26

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall take the evidence necessary to establish the truth. Outside of oral hearings, it may assign this task to a member of the Court, or may ask another court to do so with regard to specific facts and individuals.

(2) If so decided by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Court, the Court may refrain from requesting or using documents if their use would endanger national security.

§ 27

All courts and administrative authorities shall provide the Federal Constitutional Court with legal and inter-administrative assistance. If the Federal Constitutional Court asks for the files of initial proceedings, they shall be submitted directly to the Court.

§ 27a

The Federal Constitutional Court may give expert third parties the opportunity to submit statements.

§ 28

(1) With regard to the examination of witnesses and experts, the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure shall apply in the cases referred to in § 13 nos. 1, 2, 4, and 9; in all other cases, the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure shall apply.

(2) If a witness or expert may only be examined with the consent of a superior authority, such consent may only be refused if this is necessary for the welfare of the Federation or a Land. The witness or expert may not plead an obligation to maintain secrecy if the Federal Constitutional Court with a two-thirds majority of its members declares that the refusal to grant permission to testify is unfounded.

§ 29

The parties shall be notified of all evidentiary hearings and may attend them. They may ask the witnesses and experts questions. If a question is objected to, the Court shall decide.

§ 30

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide in secret deliberations at its own discretion and according to its conviction that results from the proceedings and the evidence taken. The decision shall be put in writing, shall give reasons, and shall be signed by the participating Justices. If an oral hearing has been held, the decision as well as the main reasons for it shall be publicly pronounced. The date of pronouncement may be announced during the oral hearing or may be set after deliberations; in the latter case, it shall be notified to the parties without delay. No more than three months should lie between the end of the oral hearing and the pronouncement of the decision. The date may be altered by an order of the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) If, during deliberations, a Justice expressed a differing view on the decision or its reasoning, the Justice may set forth these views in a separate opinion; the separate opinion shall be annexed to the decision. The Senates may disclose in their decisions the proportions of votes. Further details shall be set out in the rules of procedure.

(3) All decisions shall be notified to the parties.

§ 31

(1) The decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be binding upon federal and Land constitutional organs as well as on all courts and administrative authorities.

(2) In the cases referred to in § 13 nos. 6, 6a, 11, 12, and 14, the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court shall have the force of law. This shall also apply in the cases referred to in § 13 no. 8a if the Federal Constitutional Court declares a law to be compatible or incompatible with the Basic Law or if it voids the law. If a law is declared to be compatible or incompatible with the Basic Law or other federal law, or if it is voided, the relevant operative part of the decision shall be published in the Federal Law Gazette by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. This shall apply accordingly to the operative part of the decision in the cases referred to in § 13 nos. 12 and 14.

§ 32

(1) In a dispute, the Federal Constitutional Court may provisionally decide a matter by way of a preliminary injunction if this is urgently required to avert severe disadvantage, prevent imminent violence, or for other important reasons in the interest of the common good.

(2) The preliminary injunction may be issued without an oral hearing. In particularly urgent cases, the Federal Constitutional Court may refrain from giving the parties to the principal proceedings, the parties entitled to join, or the parties entitled to submit statements the opportunity to submit statements.

(3) A protest may be lodged if the preliminary injunction is issued or refused by an order of the Court. This shall not apply to the complainant in constitutional complaint proceedings. The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the protest after an oral hearing. The hearing shall be held within two weeks of receiving the reasons for the protest.

(4) A protest against a preliminary injunction shall not have suspensive effect. The Federal Constitutional Court may stay the execution of the preliminary injunction.

(5) The Federal Constitutional Court may announce its decision on the preliminary injunction or on the protest without giving reasons. In this case, the reasons shall be separately notified to the parties involved.

(6) The preliminary injunction shall cease to have effect after six months. It may be renewed with a two-thirds majority of the votes.

(7) If a Senate does not have a quorum, a preliminary injunction may be issued in particularly urgent cases if at least three Justices are present and the decision is taken unanimously. The preliminary injunction shall cease to have effect after one month. If it is confirmed by the Senate, it shall cease to have effect six months after the date of issue.

§ 33

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court may suspend proceedings until a case pending before another court is concluded, if the findings or the decision of that court might be of relevance to its own decision.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court may base its decision on the findings of facts of a final judgment rendered in a case in which the truth was to be established ex officio.

§ 34

(1) The proceedings before the Federal Constitutional Court shall be free of charge.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court may charge a fee of up to EUR 2,600 if lodging the constitutional complaint or the complaint pursuant to Art. 41 sec. 2 of the Basic Law is abusive, or if an application for a preliminary injunction (§ 32) is made in an abusive way.

(3) § 59 sec. 1 of the Federal Budget Code shall apply accordingly to the collection of the fee.

§ 34a

(1) If an application for the forfeiture of fundamental rights (§ 13 no. 1) or the impeachment of the Federal President (§ 13 no. 4) or a judge (§ 13 no. 9) proves to be unfounded, the respondent or the accused shall be reimbursed the necessary expenses, including the costs of the defence.

(2) If a constitutional complaint proves to be well-founded, the complainant shall be reimbursed for the necessary expenses, either completely or in part.

(3) In all other cases, the Federal Constitutional Court may order the full or partial reimbursement of expenses.

§ 35

The Federal Constitutional Court’s decision may specify who is to execute it; in individual cases, it may also specify the method of execution.

Second Section. Access to Files Outside of Proceedings

§ 35a

Applications for information from or access to files of the Federal Constitutional Court that are filed outside of proceedings and that concern personal data shall be governed by the Federal Data Protection Act unless the provisions set out below stipulate otherwise.

§ 35b

(1) Information from or access to files of the Federal Constitutional Court may be provided to:

1. public entities, to the extent necessary for the administration of justice, or if the requirements set out in § 14 sec. 2 no. 4, and nos. 6 to 9 of the Federal Data Protection Act are met,

2. individuals and other non-public entities, to the extent that they can prove a legitimate interest; information from and access to files shall be denied if the party concerned has a legitimate interest in the information not being released. § 16 sec. 3 of the Federal Data Protection Act shall not apply; each release of information as well as each case of access to the files shall be recorded in the files. Information from or access to files may also be provided to the extent that the party concerned has consented.

(2) Access to files shall only be granted if reasons are given to establish that merely disclosing information would be insufficient for the public entity that made the request (sec. 1 no. 1) to fulfil its tasks, or that the legitimate interests of the individual or other non-public entity that made the request (section 1 no. 2) would not be satisfied, or if providing information would require an unreasonable effort.

(3) Information from files that were requested by the Court but not made part of the case file may only be disclosed if the party requesting the files is able to demonstrate the consent of the entity whose files are at issue; the same applies to access to such files.

(4) The files of the Federal Constitutional Court shall not be forwarded. They may, however, be forwarded to public entities if access to the files may be granted pursuant to section 2 or if, due to special circumstances, an individual is to be permitted to access the files at that public entity.

(5) Access to files of the Federal Constitutional Court that are kept at or by the Federal Archives as temporarily archived documents shall be governed by the archive laws beginning 30 years after the conclusion of the proceedings. After 60 years, these laws shall apply to drafts of judgments, orders and decrees as well as to preparatory works, and to documents relating to the casting of votes. The Federal Constitutional Court shall retain the right to claim transferred documents which are kept at the Federal Archives with preferential access and at any time if required for internal or procedural purposes. Upon request and for this purpose, they are to be sent to it immediately.

(6) Files on Chamber decisions that are not intended for publication, including drafts of decisions and decrees, as well as preparatory works, and documents relating to the casting of votes, may be destroyed 30 years after the last decision in the matter if the Federal Archives consents.

(7) Files on matters that have been recorded in the General Register and have not been transferred to the Register of Proceedings may be destroyed five years after the last decision in the matter if the Federal Archives consents.

§ 35c

The Federal Constitutional Court may use personal data filed in a case before the Court for subsequent proceedings.

Part III

Specific Types of Proceedings

First Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 1

[Forfeiture of Fundamental Rights]

§ 36

The Bundestag, the Federal Government, or the government of a Land may request a decision pursuant to Art. 18 sentence 2 of the Basic Law.

§ 37

The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the respondent the opportunity to submit a statement within a specified period, after which it shall decide whether the application must be rejected as inadmissible or as insufficiently substantiated, or whether it must conduct proceedings.

§ 38

(1) After receiving the application, the Federal Constitutional Court may order a seizure or search pursuant to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court may order a preparatory investigation to prepare the oral hearing. The preparatory investigation shall be conducted by a Justice of the Senate that is not responsible for the principal proceedings.

§ 39

(1) If the application proves to be well-founded, the Federal Constitutional Court shall declare which fundamental rights the respondent has forfeited. It may limit the forfeiture to a specific period of time, the minimum being one year. It may also impose upon the respondent restrictions of clearly specified type and duration, provided that they do not adversely affect fundamental rights other than those which the respondent forfeited. To this extent, administrative authorities shall not require any further legal basis for action against the respondent.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court may, for the duration of the forfeiture of fundamental rights, deny the respondent the right to vote, the right to stand for election, and the capacity to hold public office and may, in the case of legal persons, order that they be dissolved.

§ 40

If the forfeiture is of unlimited duration or has been declared for a period of more than one year, and if two years have passed since the declaration of the forfeiture, the Federal Constitutional Court may, upon request of the former applicant or respondent, cancel the forfeiture completely or in part, or reduce its duration. The request may be repeated if one year has passed since the last decision by the Federal Constitutional Court.

§ 41

After the Federal Constitutional Court has decided an application on the merits, a second application against the same respondent may only be filed if it is based on new facts.

§ 42

(deleted)

Second Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 2

[Prohibition of Political Parties]

§ 43

(1) The Bundestag, the Bundesrat, or the Federal Government may apply for a decision on whether a political party is unconstitutional (Art. 21 sec. 2 of the Basic Law).

(2) A Land government may file an application only against such political parties whose organisational extent is limited to that Land’s territory.

§ 44

The representation of the political party shall be determined by the relevant legal provisions, or, in their absence, by the party’s bylaws. If the persons entitled to represent the party cannot be determined or do not exist, or if they have changed after the Federal Constitutional Court received the application, the last persons to actually manage the political party’s affairs during its activity that led to the application shall be regarded as entitled to represent it.

§ 45

The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the person entitled to represent the party (§ 44) the opportunity to submit a statement within a specified period, after which it shall decide whether the application must be rejected as inadmissible or as insufficiently substantiated, or whether it must conduct proceedings.

§ 46

(1) If the application proves to be well-founded, the Federal Constitutional Court shall declare that the political party is unconstitutional.

(2) The declaration may be limited to a legally or organisationally independent section of a political party.

(3) The declaration shall be accompanied by the dissolution of the political party or of its independent section, as well as by the prohibition of establishing substitute organisations. In this case, the Federal Constitutional Court may also declare that the property of the political party or its independent section be confiscated in favour of the Federation or the Land to be used for public benefit.

§ 47

§§ 38 and 41 shall apply accordingly.

Third Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 3

[Scrutiny of Elections]

§ 48

(1) Complaints against Bundestag decisions concerning the validity of elections, the violation of rights during elections or their preparation, to the degree that they are subject to electoral scrutiny pursuant to Art. 41 of the Basic Law, or against decisions concerning the loss of a seat in the Bundestag, may be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court within two months of the Bundestag decision by the representative whose seat is disputed, by an individual or group of individuals who are entitled to vote and whose objections the Bundestag rejected, by a parliamentary group, or by a minority in the Bundestag that comprises at least one tenth of the statutory number of representatives; reasons for the complaint must be given within this period of time.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court may refrain from conducting an oral hearing if it would not expedite the proceedings.

(3) If the examination of a complaint by an individual or a group of individuals who are entitled to vote shows a violation of their rights, the Federal Constitutional Court shall state this violation, unless it declares the election invalid.

Fourth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 4

[Impeachment of the Federal President]

§ 49

(1) Impeachment proceedings against the Federal President for intentional violations of the Basic Law or other federal law shall be initiated by submitting a motion for impeachment to the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) Following a decision by one of the two legislative bodies (Art. 61 sec. 1 of the Basic Law), the president of the entity in question shall prepare the motion for impeachment and send it to the Federal Constitutional Court within one month.

(3) The motion for impeachment must specify the act or omission for which impeachment proceedings are initiated, the evidence as well as the provision of the Constitution or law that allegedly was violated. It must state that the decision to initiate impeachment proceedings was taken by a two-thirds majority among of the statutory number of members of the Bundestag, or by two thirds of the votes of the Bundesrat.

§ 50

Impeachment proceedings may only be initiated within three months after the circumstances on which they are based became known to the entity having legal ability to file an application.

§ 51

The initiation and conduct of impeachment proceedings shall not be affected by the resignation of the Federal President, by him or her otherwise leaving office, by the dissolution of the Bundestag, or by the end of the legislative period.

§ 52

(1) Until the pronouncement of a judgment, the motion for impeachment may be withdrawn by a decision of the entity that filed the application. This decision must be approved of by the majority of the statutory number of members of the Bundestag, or the majority of the votes in the Bundesrat.

(2) The president of the entity that filed the application shall withdraw the motion for impeachment by sending a copy of the decision to the Federal Constitutional Court.

(3) The withdrawal of the motion for impeachment shall not take effect if the Federal President objects to it within one month.

§ 53

Following the initiation of impeachment proceedings, the Federal Constitutional Court may issue a preliminary injunction stating that the Federal President is precluded from exercising his or her duties.

§ 54

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court may order a preparatory investigation to prepare the oral hearing; it must issue the order if the representative of the entity initiating impeachment proceedings or the Federal President files an application to this end.

(2) The preparatory investigation shall be conducted by a Justice of the Senate that is not responsible for the principal proceedings.

§ 55

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the basis of an oral hearing.

(2) The Federal President shall be summoned to the oral hearing. The Federal President shall be informed in the summons that the hearing will take place in his or her absence should the Federal President remain absent without excuse or leave early without sufficient reason.

(3) During the oral hearing, the representative of the entity that filed the application shall first read out the motion for impeachment.

(4) Afterwards, the Federal President shall be given the opportunity to submit a statement on the impeachment.

(5) Thereupon, evidence shall be taken.

(6) Ultimately, the representative of the entity that initiated the impeachment proceedings shall present that entity’s motion, and the Federal President shall present his or her defence. The Federal President shall have the last word.

§ 56

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall declare in its judgment whether the Federal President is guilty of intentionally violating the Basic Law or a specific federal law.

(2) In the event of a conviction, the Federal Constitutional Court may declare that the Federal President has forfeited his or her office. Such forfeiture shall take effect with the pronouncement of the judgment.

§ 57

A copy of the judgment, including the reasons, shall be sent to the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, and the Federal Government.

Fifth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 9

[Impeachment of Judges]

§ 58

(1) If the Bundestag files a motion for the impeachment of a federal judge pursuant to Art. 98 sec. 2 of the Basic Law, §§ 49 to 55 with the exception of § 49 sec. 3 sentence 2, § 50, and § 52 sec. 1 sentence 2, shall apply accordingly.

(2) If the federal judge is accused of violating a law in his or her official capacity, the Bundestag shall not decide before a final decision has been taken in the judicial proceedings or, if formal disciplinary proceedings have been initiated for the same violation, until these proceedings are commenced. The motion for impeachment shall only be admissible within six months of the final completion of the judicial proceedings in which the federal judge was claimed to have committed the violation.

(3) Apart from the cases stated in section 2, a motion for impeachment pursuant to section 1 shall only be admissible within two years of the violation.

(4) A person commissioned by the Bundestag shall argue the motion for impeachment before the Federal Constitutional Court.

§ 59

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall order one of the measures stipulated in Art. 98 sec. 2 of the Basic Law, or acquittal.

(2) If the Federal Constitutional Court orders removal from office, the forfeiture of office shall take effect with the pronouncement of the judgment.

(3) If it is ordered that the federal judge be transferred to another office or retired, this order shall be carried out by the authority that is competent for the removal.

(4) A copy of the judgment, including the reasons, shall be sent to the Federal President, the Bundestag, and the Federal Government.

§ 60

As long as proceedings are pending before the Federal Constitutional Court, disciplinary proceedings pending before a disciplinary court that are based on the same facts shall be suspended. If the Federal Constitutional Court orders removal from office, transfer to another office, or retirement, the disciplinary proceedings shall be discontinued; otherwise, they shall be continued.

§ 61

(1) A case shall only be reopened on behalf of the convicted judge, and only upon his or her application or, after the decease of the convicted judge, upon application by his or her spouse, civil partner, or descendant, and under the conditions listed in §§ 359 and 364 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The application must state the legal reasons for reopening the case as well as the supporting evidence. The application to reopen the case shall not suspend the effect of the judgment.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the admissibility of the application without an oral hearing. §§ 368, 369 secs. 1, 2, and 4, as well as § 370 and § 371 secs. 1 to 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure shall apply accordingly.

(3) The new principal proceedings shall either uphold the previous judgment, or order a more lenient measure or acquittal.

§ 62

In so far as Land constitutional law which continues to apply pursuant to Art. 98 sec. 5 sentence 2 of the Basic Law does not provide otherwise, the provisions contained in this section shall also apply if the law of a Land contains a regulation for Land judges which corresponds to Art. 98 sec. 2 of the Basic Law.

Sixth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 5

[Disputes Between Constitutional Organs]

§ 63

Applicants and respondents may only be: the Federal President, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal Government, and such parts of these organs that are vested with own rights pursuant to the Basic Law or the rules of procedure of the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

§ 64

(1) The application shall only be admissible if the applicant asserts that an act or omission of the respondent violated or directly threatened the rights and obligations awarded to the applicant or to the applicant’s organ by the Basic Law.

(2) The application shall state the provision of the Basic Law which was violated by the respondent’s contested act or omission.

(3) The application must be filed within six months after the applicant gained knowledge of the contested act or omission.

(4) If the time limit expired before this act entered into force, the application may be filed within three months after the act’s entry into force.

§ 65

(1) The applicant and the respondent may be joined at any stage of the proceedings by other parties having legal ability to file an application and mentioned in § 63, if the decision is also relevant for delimiting their competences.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court shall notify the Federal President, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, and the Federal Government of the initiation of proceedings.

§ 66

The Federal Constitutional Court may join pending proceedings and separate joined ones.

§ 66a

The Federal Constitutional Court may decide without an oral hearing in proceedings pursuant to § 13 no. 5 in conjunction with § 2 sec. 3 of the Committees of Inquiry Act, as well as in proceedings pursuant to § 18 sec. 3 of the Committees of Inquiry Act, also in conjunction with §§ 19 and 23 sec. 2 of the Committees of Inquiry Act. The same applies to applications pursuant to § 14 of the Act on Parliamentary Oversight of Intelligence Activities by the Federal Government in conjunction with § 63.

§ 67

The Federal Constitutional Court shall declare in its decision whether the respondent’s contested act or omission violates a provision of the Basic Law. It shall specify the exact provision. In the operative part of the decision, the Federal Constitutional Court may at the same time decide on a point of law that is essential for interpreting the provision of the Basic Law on which the declaration referred to in sentence 1 depends.

Seventh Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 7

[Disputes Between the Federation and the Laender]

§ 68

Applicants and respondents may only be: for the Federation, the Federal Government; for a Land, the Land Government.

§ 69

§§ 64 to 67 shall apply accordingly.

§ 70

Decisions of the Bundesrat pursuant to Art. 84 sec. 4 sentence 1 of the Basic Law may only be challenged within one month.

Eighth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 8

[Other Public-Law Disputes Between the Federation and the Laender, among Laender, or within one Land]

§ 71

(1) Applicants and respondents may only be:

1. in public-law disputes between the Federation and the Laender pursuant to Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 4 of the Basic Law: the Federal Government and the Land governments;

2. in public-law disputes among Laender pursuant to Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 4 of the Basic Law: the Land governments;

3. in public-law disputes within a Land pursuant to Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 4 of the Basic Law:

the highest organs of the Land and those parts of these organs that are vested with own rights by the organ’s rules of procedure or by the Land constitution, if their rights or competences are directly affected by the dispute.

(2) § 64 sec. 3 shall apply accordingly.

§ 72

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court may declare in its decision:

1. an act to be permissible or impermissible;

2. the respondent to be obliged to desist from an act, to reverse it, to execute it, or to tolerate it;

3. the obligation to grant a benefit.

(2) In the proceedings pursuant to § 71 sec. 1 no. 3, the Federal Constitutional Court shall declare whether the respondent’s contested act or omission violates a provision of the Land constitution. § 67 sentences 2 and 3 shall apply accordingly.

Ninth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 10

[Constitutional Disputes Within a Land]

§ 73

(1) Only the highest organs of a Land and those parts of these organs that are vested with own rights by the organ’s rules of procedure or by the Land constitution may be parties to a constitutional dispute within a Land.

(2) § 64 sec. 3 shall apply accordingly in so far as Land law does not provide otherwise.

§ 74

If Land law does not stipulate possible contents and effects of the Federal Constitutional Court’s decision, § 72 sec. 2 shall apply accordingly.

§ 75

Concerning the proceedings, the general provisions of Part II of this Act shall apply accordingly.

Tenth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 nos. 6 and 6a

[Abstract Judicial Review of Statutes]

§ 76

(1) Applications pursuant to Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 2 of the Basic Law that are filed by the Federal Government, a Land government, or one quarter of the Bundestag members shall only be admissible if the applicant considers federal or Land law to be

1. void due to being formally or substantively incompatible with the Basic Law or other federal law, or

2. valid even though a court, an administrative authority, or a federal or Land organ did not apply the law because it deemed it to be incompatible with the Basic Law or other federal law.

(2) Applications pursuant to Art. 93 sec. 1 no. 2a of the Basic Law by the Bundesrat, a Land government or a Land parliament shall only be admissible if the applicant considers a federal law to be void for failing to meet the requirements of Art. 72 sec. 2 of the Basic Law; the application may also be based on the applicant’s opinion that the federal law is void because it fails to meet the requirements of Art. 75 sec. 2 of the Basic Law.

§ 77

The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the following entities the opportunity to submit statements within a specified period:

1. in the cases referred to in § 76 sec. 1, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, and the Federal Government; in case of disagreements concerning the validity of federal law also to the Land governments; and in case of disagreements over the validity of Land law, to the parliament and government of the Land in which the law was promulgated;

2. in the cases referred to in § 76 sec. 2, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal Government, and the parliaments and governments or the Laender.

§ 78

If the Federal Constitutional Court comes to the conclusion that federal law is incompatible with the Basic Law, or that Land law is incompatible with the Basic Law or other federal law, it shall void the law. If further provisions of the same law are incompatible with the Basic Law or other federal law for the same reasons, the Federal Constitutional Court may void them as well.

§ 79

(1) A case that was based on a law that was declared to be incompatible with the Basic Law or was voided pursuant to § 78, or that was based on an interpretation of a law that the Federal Constitutional Court declared to be incompatible with the Basic Law may be reopened pursuant to the provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure to challenge a final conviction.

(2) In all other cases, but subject to § 95 sec. 2 or to specific statutory provisions, non-appealable decisions based on a law that was voided pursuant to § 78 shall remain unaffected. The execution of such a decision is not permissible. Where compulsory execution is governed by the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, § 767 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall apply accordingly. Claims arising from unjust enrichment shall not be permissible.

Eleventh Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 nos. 11 and 11a

[Judicial Review of Statutes; Judicial Review of Decisions to Institute a Committee of Inquiry]

§ 80

(1) If the requirements of Art. 100 sec. 1 of the Basic Law are met, a court shall directly request a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) The court must indicate in which respect its decision depends on the validity of the legal provision in question, and which superior legal provision that provision is incompatible with. It shall also submit its files.

(3) The request of the court shall be independent of a party to the proceedings claiming that the legal provision is void.

§ 81

The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide solely on the relevant point of law.

§ 81a

The Chamber may, by unanimous order, declare a request pursuant to § 80 to be inadmissible. The decision shall pertain to the Senate if the request is made by a Land constitutional court or by a Supreme Federal Court.

§ 82

(1) §§ 77 to 79 shall apply accordingly.

(2) The constitutional organs named in § 77 may join the proceedings at any stage.

(3) The Federal Constitutional Court shall also give the parties to the initial proceedings the opportunity to submit a statement; it shall summon them to the oral hearing and give the floor to their authorised representatives.

(4) The Federal Constitutional Court may inquire with Supreme Federal Courts or with highest Land courts how and on the basis of which considerations they have hitherto interpreted the Basic Law regarding the question in dispute, whether and how they have applied the contested legal provision in their past decisions, and which related points of law are awaiting their decision. It may also ask them to explain their considerations on a point of law that is essential for the decision. The Federal Constitutional Court shall notify the parties entitled to submit statements of such statements.

§ 82a

(1) Subject to the provisions of sections 2 and 3, §§ 80 to 82 shall apply accordingly to an examination referred to the Court pursuant to § 36 sec. 2 of the Committees of Inquiry Act of whether a decision by the German Bundestag to institute a committee of inquiry is compatible with the Basic Law.
(2) Statements may be submitted by the Bundestag and the qualified minority pursuant to Art. 44 sec. 1 of the Basic Law, on whose application the decision to institute the committee of inquiry is based. Furthermore, the Federal Constitutional Court may give the Federal Government, the Bundesrat, the Land governments, the qualified minority pursuant to § 18 sec. 3 of the Committees of Inquiry Act, as well as individuals, as far as they are affected by the decision to institute the committee of inquiry, the opportunity to submit statements.
(3) The Constitutional Court may decide without an oral hearing.

Twelfth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 12

[Judicial Review of Public International Law]

§ 83

(1) In the cases referred to in Art. 100 sec. 2 of the Basic Law, the Federal Constitutional Court shall declare in its decision whether the rule of public international law in question is part of federal law, and whether it directly confers rights and obligations on individuals.

(2) Prior to this, the Federal Constitutional Court shall give the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, and the Federal Government the opportunity to submit a statement within a specified period. They may join the proceedings at any time.

§ 84

§§ 80 and 82 sec. 3 shall apply accordingly.

Thirteenth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 13

[Referral by a Land Constitutional Court]

§ 85

(1) If a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court must be obtained pursuant to Art. 100 sec. 3 sentence 1 of the Basic Law, the Land Constitutional Court shall submit its files to the Federal Constitutional Court and state its legal view.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the Bundesrat, the Federal Government and, if it intends to deviate from a decision by the constitutional court of a Land, that court the opportunity to submit a statement within a specified period.

(3) The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide solely on the relevant point of law.

Fourteenth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 14

[Continued Validity of Law as Federal Law]

§ 86

(1) The Bundestag, the Bundesrat, as well as the Federal and Land governments have legal ability to file an application.

(2) If there is a dispute before a court as to whether a law continues to apply as federal law, and this finding is essential for the court’s decision, that court shall apply § 80 accordingly and request a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court .

§ 87

(1) Applications by the Bundesrat, the Federal Government, or by a Land government shall only be admissible if the Federal Constitutional Court’s decision is essential for the legality of an already executed or immediately forthcoming act by a federal organ, a federal authority, or of a Land organ or authority.

(2) The application must show that the requirement of section 1 is met.

§ 88

§ 82 shall apply accordingly.

§ 89

The Federal Constitutional Court shall declare whether all or part of the law shall continue to apply as federal law in the entire or in a certain part of the federal territory.

Fifteenth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 8a

[Constitutional Complaint]

§ 90

(1) Any individual claiming a violation of one of his or her fundamental rights or of one of his or her rights under Art. 20 sec. 4, Arts. 33, 38, 101, 103, and 104 of the Basic Law by public authority may lodge a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) If legal recourse to other courts exists, the constitutional complaint may only be lodged after all remedies have been exhausted. However, the Federal Constitutional Court may decide on a constitutional complaint that was lodged before all remedies were exhausted if the complaint is of general relevance or if prior recourse to other courts were to the complainant’s severe and unavoidable disadvantage.

(3) The right to lodge a constitutional complaint with a Land constitutional court pursuant to the provisions of the Land constitution shall remain unaffected.

§ 91

Municipalities and associations of municipalities may lodge constitutional complaints claiming that federal or Land law violates Art. 28 of the Basic Law. A constitutional complaint may not be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court if Land law permits the complainant to lodge a complaint against the violation of the right to self-government with the Land constitutional court.

§ 91a

(deleted)

§ 92

The reasons for the complaint shall specify the right that was allegedly violated, as well as the act or omission of the organ or authority by which the complainant claims to have been harmed.

§ 93

(1) The constitutional complaint shall be lodged and substantiated within one month. This time period shall begin with the service or informal notification of the complete decision if, pursuant to the relevant procedural provisions, the decision must be served or notified ex officio. In other instances, the time period shall begin with the decision being pronounced or, if pronouncement is not required, with it being otherwise communicated to the complainant; if the complainant does not receive a copy of the complete decision, the time period pursuant to sentence 1 shall be suspended by the complainant’s request, either in writing or by making a statement recorded at the court office, for a copy of the complete decision. The suspension shall continue until the court has issued the complainant the complete decision, or until it has been served ex officio or by a party to the proceedings.

(2) If complainants were unable to comply with this time limit through no fault of their own, they shall, upon application, be granted reinstatement into their former procedural position. The application shall be filed within two weeks of the cause for their non-compliance ending. The request shall be substantiated in the application itself or during the proceedings. The omitted legal act shall be carried out within this period; complainants who do so may be granted reinstatement without a formal request. Applications made later than one year after the expiry of the time period are inadmissible. Errors by the complainants’ authorised representatives shall be considered to be those of the complainants.

(3) If the constitutional complaint challenges a law or another sovereign act against which legal recourse is not possible, the constitutional complaint may only be lodged within one year of the law entering into force or the sovereign act being issued.

(4) Constitutional complaints against laws that entered into force before 1 April 1951 may be lodged until 1 April 1952.

§ 93a

(1) A constitutional complaint shall be subject to admission for decision.

(2) It shall be admitted

a) in so far as it has general constitutional significance,

b) if it is appropriate in order to enforce the rights referred to in § 90 sec. 1; this may also be the case if the complainant would suffer a particularly severe disadvantage if the Court refused to decide on the complaint.

§ 93b

The Chamber may refuse to admit a constitutional complaint, or may admit it for decision in the cases referred to in § 93c. In all other cases, the decision on admission shall pertain to the Senate.

§ 93c

(1) If the requirements of § 93a sec. 2 letter b are met, and if the constitutional issue determining the outcome of the constitutional complaint has already been decided by the Federal Constitutional Court, the Chamber may grant the constitutional complaint if it is clearly well-founded. The order of the Chamber shall be considered equal to a decision by the Senate. A decision that, with the effect of § 31 sec. 2, declares a law to be incompatible with the Basic Law or with other federal law, or to be void, shall be reserved to the Senate.

(2) § 94 secs. 2 to 3 and § 95 secs. 1 to 2 shall apply to the proceedings.

§ 93d

(1) Decisions pursuant to § 93b and § 93c shall be issued without an oral hearing. They cannot be appealed. Refusal to admit the constitutional complaint for decision does not require reasons.

(2) As long and in so far as the Senate has not decided whether to admit the constitutional complaint for decision, the Chamber may issue all decisions involving the constitutional complaint proceedings. Preliminary injunctions that completely or partly suspend the application of a law may only be issued by the Senate; § 32 sec. 7 shall remain unaffected. The Senate shall also decide in the cases referred to in § 32 sec. 3.

(3) The Chamber’s decisions shall be adopted by unanimous vote. Admission by the Senate is granted if at least three Justices agree.

§ 94

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the federal or Land constitutional organ whose act or omission is challenged by the constitutional complaint the opportunity to submit a statement within a specified period of time.

(2) If the act or omission was committed by a minister or by a federal or Land authority, the competent minister shall be given the opportunity to submit a statement.

(3) If the constitutional complaint challenges a court decision, the Federal Constitutional Court shall also give the party in whose favour the decision was taken the opportunity to submit a statement.

(4) If the constitutional complaint directly or indirectly challenges a law, § 77 shall apply accordingly.

(5) The constitutional organs named in sections 1, 2, and 4 may join the proceedings. The Federal Constitutional Court may refrain from conducting an oral hearing if a hearing is unlikely to advance the proceedings, and if the constitutional organs that are entitled to submit statements and that have joined the proceedings waive their right to an oral hearing.

§ 95

(1) If the Court grants a constitutional complaint, the decision shall declare which provision of the Basic Law was violated and by which act or omission. The Federal Constitutional Court may simultaneously declare that any repetition of the contested act or omission would violate the Basic Law.

(2) If the Court grants a constitutional complaint that challenges a decision, the Federal Constitutional Court shall reverse the decision; in the cases referred to in § 90 sec. 2 sentence 1, it shall remand the matter to a competent court.

(3) If the Court grants a constitutional complaint that challenges a law, that law shall be voided. The same shall apply if the Court grants a constitutional complaint pursuant to section 2 because the reversed decision was based on an unconstitutional law. § 79 shall apply accordingly.

§ 95a

(deleted)

Sixteenth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 6b

[Examination of the Necessity of a Federal Regulation]

§ 96

(1) Applications pursuant to Art. 93 sec. 2 sentence 1 of the Basic Law need to show that the requirement of Art. 93 sec. 2 sentence 3 of the Basic Law is met.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the other entities having legal ability to file an application, as well as the Bundestag and the Federal Government, the opportunity to submit a statement within a specified period.

(3) Parties entitled to submit statements pursuant to section 2 may join the proceedings at any stage.

Seventeenth Section. Procedure in the Cases Referred to in § 13 no. 3a

§ 96a

(1) Complaints may be lodged by associations and political parties that were refused the recognition as political parties that are authorised to nominate candidates pursuant to § 18 sec. 4 of the Federal Elections Act.

(2) Complaints shall be lodged and substantiated within four days after the decision is announced in the session of the Federal Electoral Committee pursuant to § 18 sec. 4 of the Federal Elections Act.

(3) § 32 shall not apply.

§ 96b

The Federal Electoral Committee shall be given the opportunity to submit a statement.

§ 96c

The Federal Constitutional Court may decide without an oral hearing.

§ 96d

The Federal Constitutional Court may announce its decision without reasons. In this case, the reasons must be notified separately to the complainant and to the Federal Electoral Committee.

§ 97

(deleted)

Part IV

Formal Complaint Against Judicial Delay

§ 97a

(1) A party to proceedings before the Federal Constitutional Court, or to proceedings that were suspended in order to await a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court, who suffers a disadvantage due to excessive duration of the proceedings before the Federal Constitutional Court shall receive adequate compensation. Adequate duration of proceedings shall be established on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the Federal Constitutional Court’s tasks and position.

(2) A non-pecuniary disadvantage is assumed to exist if a case before the Federal Constitutional Court takes an excessively long time. Compensation for such a disadvantage may only be claimed if the circumstances of the individual case do not permit a different kind of redress, such as in particular a declaration that the duration of proceedings was excessive. Compensation pursuant to sentence 2 shall be EUR 1,200 for each year of delay. If, in individual cases, the amount pursuant to sentence 3 appears unreasonable, the Federal Constitutional Court may set a higher or lower amount.

§ 97b

(1) A decision on compensation and reparation requires a formal complaint against judicial delay with the Federal Constitutional Court (Verzoegerungsbeschwerde). The Verzoegerungsbeschwerde shall only be admissible if the complainant previously filed a formal objection to the judicial delay (Verzoegerungsruege) with the Federal Constitutional Court. The Verzoegerungsruege must be submitted in writing, explaining why the proceedings are considered to be excessively long. It is admissible no earlier than twelve months after the initial proceedings were brought before the Federal Constitutional Court. A decision on the Verzoegerungsruege is not necessary for the admissibility of a Verzoegerungsbeschwerde.

(2) The Verzoegerungsbeschwerde may be lodged no earlier than six months after lodging a Verzoegerungsruege; if the Federal Constitutional Court issued a decision, or the proceedings have otherwise been concluded, the Verzoegerungsbeschwerde must be lodged within three months. It must be in writing and, at the same time, be substantiated. Pending a final decision on the Verzoegerungsbeschwerde, the claim cannot be transferred.

§ 97c

(1) A Complaints Chamber, for which the Plenary shall appoints two Justices from each Senate, shall decide on the Verzoegerungsbeschwerde. The regular term of office shall be two years.

(2) Should the reporting Justice of the contested proceedings be a member of the Complaints Chamber, this Justice shall be debarred from involvement in the complaints proceedings.

(3) Further details, in particular regarding the appointment of a presiding Justice, the continuous succession of departing members of the Chamber, and rules on substitution within the Chamber, shall be set out in the rules of procedure.

§ 97d

(1) The reporting Justice of the contested proceedings should submit his or her statement within one month of receiving the reasons for the Verzoegerungsbeschwerde.

(2) The Complaints Chamber shall decide by majority. In the event of a tied vote, the Verzoegerungsbeschwerde shall be rejected. The Complaints Chamber shall decide without an oral hearing. The Complaints Chamber is not required to give reasons for its order on the Verzoegerungsbeschwerde.

(3) The decision cannot be appealed.

§ 97e

§§ 97a to 97d shall also apply to proceedings that were pending on 3 December 2011, as well as to completed proceedings whose duration is the subject of a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on 3 December 2011, or which could yet become the subject of such a complaint. § 97b sec. 1 sentences 2 to 5 do not apply to completed proceedings pursuant to sentence 1; § 97b sec. 2 applies with the stipulation that the Verzoegerungsbeschwerde may be lodged immediately and needs to be lodged by 3 March 2012 at the latest.

Part V

Final Provisions

§ 98

(1) Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court shall retire upon expiration of their term of office (§ 4 secs. 1, 3, and 4).

(2) Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be retired in the event of permanent incapacity for office.

(3) Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be retired upon request without proof of unfitness for office if they have held the post of Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court for at least six years and if they

1. have reached the age of 65 or

2. are severely disabled pursuant to § 2 sec. 2 of the Ninth Book of the Code of Social Law, and have reached the age of 60.

(4) In the cases referred to in section 3, § 4 sec. 4 shall apply accordingly.

(5) Retired Justices shall receive a pension. The pension shall be calculated on the basis of the last remuneration that the Justice was entitled to pursuant to the Act on the Remuneration of Members of the Federal Constitutional Court. Pensions for surviving dependents shall be calculated accordingly.

(6) § 70 of the Civil Servants’ Benefits Act shall apply accordingly.

§ 99

(deleted)

§ 100

(1) Should the term of office of a Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court end pursuant to § 12, the Justice shall, provided he or she has held the position for at least two years, receive transitional payments for one year that are equal to his or her remuneration pursuant to the Act on the Remuneration of Members of the Federal Constitutional Court. This does not apply in the case of retirement pursuant to § 98.

(2) The surviving dependents of a former Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court who received transitional payments at the time of his or her death shall receive death benefits as well as, for the remaining period of transitional payments, widows’ and orphans’ payments; death benefits as well as widows’ and orphans’ payments shall be calculated on the basis of the transitional payments.

§ 101

(1) Subject to § 70 of the German Judiciary Act, judges or civil servants who have been elected as Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court shall cease to exercise the functions of their previous offices upon their appointment. The rights and obligations from their status as civil servants or judges shall be suspended for the duration of their office as Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court. The right to curative treatment of civil servants or judges who were injured in an accident shall remain unaffected.

(2) When the office as Justice at the Federal Constitutional Court ends, the civil servants or judges shall, if no other office is assigned to them, retire from their positions as civil servants or judges and receive the pension they would have received in their former offices including their time of service as Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court. In the case of non-federal civil servants or judges, the Federation shall reimburse their employer for the pensions and surviving dependents’ pensions.

(3) Sections 1 and 2 shall not apply to professors of law at a German institution of higher education, who are civil servants. Their obligations as professors shall generally be suspended for the duration of their offices as Justices at the Federal Constitutional Court. Two-thirds of their remuneration as professors shall be credited against their remuneration as Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court. The Federation shall reimburse the professor’s employer for their actual expenditures arising from his or her replacement up to the amount credited.

§ 102

(1) If former Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court have a right to a pension pursuant to § 101, this right shall be suspended for the period during which they have a right to a pension or to transitional payments pursuant to §§ 98 or 100, up to the amount of this remuneration.

(2) If former Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court who receive transitional payments pursuant to § 100 are assigned another office in the civil service, the income from that office shall be credited against the transitional payments.

(3) If former Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court receive remuneration, emeritus payments or a pension from an employment as professor that began prior to or during the term of office as Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court, the pension or transitional payments from their office as Justice shall be suspended in so far as their total exceeds the remuneration for the office as professor plus the exempt amount pursuant to § 101 sec. 3 sentence 3; in addition to emeritus payments or to pensions from an employment as professor, the pension or transitional payments from their term of office as Justice shall be granted up to the amount of a pension calculated on the basis of the entire time of service relevant for pension purposes and the remuneration, plus the exempt amount pursuant to § 101 sec. 3 sentence 3.

(4) Sections 1 to 3 shall apply accordingly to surviving dependents. § 54 sec. 3 and sec. 4 sentence 2 of the Civil Servants’ Pensions Act shall apply accordingly.

§ 103

Unless §§ 98 to 102 provide otherwise, the regulations on benefits and health insurance subsidies for federal judges shall apply to Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court; periods of service that are beneficial to exercising the function of a Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court are periods within the meaning of § 11 sec. 1 no. 3 letter a of the Civil Servants’ Pensions Act. Decisions on benefits shall be taken by the President of the Federal Constitutional Court.

§ 104

(1) If an attorney is appointed as Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court, his or her rights arising from the admission to the Bar shall be suspended for the duration of the term of office.

(2) If a notary public is appointed as Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court, § 101 sec. 1 sentence 2 shall apply accordingly.

§ 105

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court may authorise the Federal President to

1. retire a Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court because of permanent incapacity for office;

2. remove a Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court from office if the Justice has been convicted by a final judgment for committing a dishonourable act or sentenced to more than six months’ imprisonment, or if the Justice has committed such a grave breach of duty that it is impossible for him or her to remain in office.

(2) The Plenary of the Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the initiation of proceedings pursuant to section 1.

(3) The General Procedural Regulations and § 54 sec. 1 and § 55 secs. 1, 2, and 4 to 6 shall apply accordingly.

(4) Authorisation pursuant to section 1 shall require the consent of two thirds of the Court’s members.

(5) After proceedings have been initiated pursuant to section 2, the Plenary of the Federal Constitutional Court may temporarily remove the Justice from office. The same shall apply if main criminal proceedings have been instituted against the Justice. The Justice’s temporary removal from office shall require the consent of two thirds of the Court’s members.

(6) Upon removal from office pursuant to section 1 no. 2, the Justice shall lose all rights arising from the office.

§ 106

(entry into force)

§ 107

(deleted)

Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz, GG)

Übersetzung durch: Professor Christian Tomuschat und Professor David P. Currie

Übersetzung überarbeitet durch: Professor Christian Tomuschat und Professor Donald P. Kommers in Kooperation mit dem Sprachendienst des Deutschen Bundestages

Translated by: Professor Christian Tomuschat and Professor David P. Currie

Translation revised by: Professor Christian Tomuschat and Professor Donald P. Kommers in cooperation with the Language Service of the German Bundestag

Stand: Die Übersetzung berücksichtigt die Änderung(en) des Gesetzes durch Gesetz vom 21.7.2010 (BGBl. I S. 944)

Version information: The translation includes the amendment(s) to the Act by the Act of 21.7.2010 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 944)

© 2012 juris GmbH, Saarbrücken


Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany

Full citation:  Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany in the revised version published in the Federal Law Gazette Part III, classification number 100-1, as last amended by the Act of 21 July 2010 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 944).

The Parliamentary Council, meeting in public session at Bonn am Rhein on 23 May 1949, confirmed that the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, which was adopted by the Parliamentary Council on 8 May 1949, was ratified in the week of 16 to 22 May 1949 by the parliaments of more than two thirds of the participating German Länder.

By virtue of this fact the Parliamentary Council, represented by its Presidents, has signed and promulgated the Basic Law.

The Basic Law is hereby published in the Federal Law Gazette pursuant to paragraph (3) of Article 145.

Preamble

Conscious of their responsibility before God and man, Inspired by the determination to promote world peace as an equal partner in a united Europe, the German people, in the exercise of their constituent power, have adopted this Basic Law. Germans in the Länder of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia have achieved the unity and freedom of Germany in free self-determination. This Basic Law thus applies to the entire German people.

I. Basic Rights

Article 1
[Human dignity – Human rights – Legally binding force of basic rights]

(1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.

(2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world.

(3) The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as directly applicable law.

Article 2
[Personal freedoms]

(1) Every person shall have the right to free development of his personality insofar as he does not violate the rights of others or offend against the constitutional order or the moral law.

(2) Every person shall have the right to life and physical integrity. Freedom of the person shall be inviolable. These rights may be interfered with only pursuant to a law.

Article 3
[Equality before the law]

(1) All persons shall be equal before the law.

(2) Men and women shall have equal rights. The state shall promote the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and take steps to eliminate disadvantages that now exist.

(3) No person shall be favoured or disfavoured because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith, or religious or political opinions. No person shall be disfavoured because of disability.

Article 4
[Freedom of faith and conscience]

(1) Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom to profess a religious or philosophical creed, shall be inviolable.

(2) The undisturbed practice of religion shall be guaranteed.

(3) No person shall be compelled against his conscience to render military service involving the use of arms. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 5
[Freedom of expression, arts and sciences]

(1) Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing and pictures, and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.

(2) These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honour.

(3) Arts and sciences, research and teaching shall be free. The freedom of teaching shall not release any person from allegiance to the constitution.

Article 6
[Marriage – Family – Children]

(1) Marriage and the family shall enjoy the special protection of the state.

(2) The care and upbringing of children is the natural right of parents and a duty primarily incumbent upon them. The state shall watch over them in the performance of this duty.

(3) Children may be separated from their families against the will of their parents or guardians only pursuant to a law, and only if the parents or guardians fail in their duties or the children are otherwise in danger of serious neglect.

(4) Every mother shall be entitled to the protection and care of the community.

(5) Children born outside of marriage shall be provided by legislation with the same opportunities for physical and mental development and for their position in society as are enjoyed by those born within marriage.

Article 7
[School system]

(1) The entire school system shall be under the supervision of the state.

(2) Parents and guardians shall have the right to decide whether children shall receive religious instruction.

(3) Religious instruction shall form part of the regular curriculum in state schools, with the exception of non-denominational schools. Without prejudice to the state’s right of supervision, religious instruction shall be given in accordance with the tenets of the religious community concerned. Teachers may not be obliged against their will to give religious instruction.

(4) The right to establish private schools shall be guaranteed. Private schools that serve as alternatives to state schools shall require the approval of the state and shall be subject to the laws of the Länder. Such approval shall be given when private schools are not inferior to the state schools in terms of their educational aims, their facilities, or the professional training of their teaching staff, and when segregation of pupils according to the means of their parents will not be encouraged thereby. Approval shall be withheld if the economic and legal position of the teaching staff is not adequately assured.

(5) A private elementary school shall be approved only if the educational authority finds that it serves a special pedagogical interest or if, on the application of parents or guardians, it is to be established as a denominational or interdenominational school or as a school based on a particular philosophy and no state elementary school of that type exists in the municipality.

(6) Preparatory schools shall remain abolished.

Article 8
[Freedom of assembly]

(1) All Germans shall have the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed without prior notification or permission.

(2) In the case of outdoor assemblies, this right may be restricted by or pursuant to a law.

Article 9
[Freedom of association]

(1) All Germans shall have the right to form corporations and other associations.

(2) Associations whose aims or activities contravene the criminal laws, or that are directed against the constitutional order or the concept of international understanding, shall be prohibited.

(3) The right to form associations to safeguard and improve working and economic conditions shall be guaranteed to every individual and to every occupation or profession. Agreements that restrict or seek to impair this right shall be null and void; measures directed to this end shall be unlawful. Measures taken pursuant to Article 12a, to paragraphs (2) and (3) of Article 35, to paragraph (4) of Article 87a, or to Article 91 may not be directed against industrial disputes engaged in by associations within the meaning of the first sentence of this paragraph in order to safeguard and improve working and economic conditions.

Article 10
[Privacy of correspondence, posts and telecommunications]

(1) The privacy of correspondence, posts and telecommunications shall be inviolable.

(2) Restrictions may be ordered only pursuant to a law. If the restriction serves to protect the free democratic basic order or the existence or security of the Federation or of a Land, the law may provide that the person affected shall not be informed of the restriction and that recourse to the courts shall be replaced by a review of the case by agencies and auxiliary agencies appointed by the legislature.

Article 11
[Freedom of movement]

(1) All Germans shall have the right to move freely throughout the federal territory.

(2) This right may be restricted only by or pursuant to a law, and only in cases in which the absence of adequate means of support would result in a particular burden for the community, or in which such restriction is necessary to avert an imminent danger to the existence or the free democratic basic order of the Federation or of a Land, to combat the danger of an epidemic, to respond to a grave accident or natural disaster, to protect young persons from serious neglect, or to prevent crime.

Article 12
[Occupational freedom]

(1) All Germans shall have the right freely to choose their occupation or profession, their place of work and their place of training. The practice of an occupation or profession may be regulated by or pursuant to a law.

(2) No person may be required to perform work of a particular kind except within the framework of a traditional duty of community service that applies generally and equally to all.

(3) Forced labour may be imposed only on persons deprived of their liberty by the judgment of a court.

Article 12a
[Compulsory military and alternative civilian service]

(1) Men who have attained the age of eighteen may be required to serve in the Armed Forces, in the Federal Border Police, or in a civil defence organisation.

(2) Any person who, on grounds of conscience, refuses to render military service involving the use of arms may be required to perform alternative service. The duration of alternative service shall not exceed that of military service. Details shall be regulated by a law, which shall not interfere with the freedom to make a decision in accordance with the dictates of conscience, and which shall also provide for the possibility of alternative service not connected with units of the Armed Forces or of the Federal Border Police.

(3) Persons liable to compulsory military service who are not called upon to render service pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this Article may, when a state of defence is in effect, be assigned by or pursuant to a law to employment involving civilian services for defence purposes, including the protection of the civilian population; they may be assigned to public employment only for the purpose of discharging police functions or such other sovereign functions of public administration as can be discharged only by persons employed in the public service. The employment contemplated by the first sentence of this paragraph may include services within the Armed Forces, in the provision of military supplies, or with public administrative authorities; assignments to employment connected with supplying and servicing the civilian population shall be permissible only to meet their basic requirements or to guarantee their safety.

(4) If, during a state of defence, the need for civilian services in the civilian health system or in stationary military hospitals cannot be met on a voluntary basis, women between the age of eighteen and fifty-five may be called upon to render such services by or pursuant to a law. Under no circumstances may they be required to render service involving the use of arms.

(5) Prior to the existence of a state of defence, assignments under paragraph (3) of this Article may be made only if the requirements of paragraph (1) of Article 80a are met. In preparation for the provision of services under paragraph (3) of this Article that demand special knowledge or skills, participation in training courses may be required by or pursuant to a law. In this case the first sentence of this paragraph shall not apply.

(6) If, during a state of defence, the need for workers in the areas specified in the second sentence of paragraph (3) of this Article cannot be met on a voluntary basis, the right of German citizens to abandon their occupation or place of employment may be restricted by or pursuant to a law in order to meet this need. Prior to the existence of a state of defence, the first sentence of paragraph (5) of this Article shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 13
[Inviolability of the home]

(1) The home is inviolable.

(2) Searches may be authorised only by a judge or, when time is of the essence, by other authorities designated by the laws, and may be carried out only in the manner therein prescribed.

(3) If particular facts justify the suspicion that any person has committed an especially serious crime specifically defined by a law, technical means of acoustical surveillance of any home in which the suspect is supposedly staying may be employed pursuant to judicial order for the purpose of prosecuting the offence, provided that alternative methods of investigating the matter would be disproportionately difficult or unproductive. The authorisation shall be for a limited time. The order shall be issued by a panel composed of three judges. When time is of the essence, it may also be issued by a single judge.

(4) To avert acute dangers to public safety, especially dangers to life or to the public, technical means of surveillance of the home may be employed only pursuant to judicial order. When time is of the essence, such measures may also be ordered by other authorities designated by a law; a judicial decision shall subsequently be obtained without delay.

(5) If technical means are contemplated solely for the protection of persons officially deployed in a home, the measure may be ordered by an authority designated by a law. The information thereby obtained may be otherwise used only for purposes of criminal prosecution or to avert danger and only if the legality of the measure has been previously determined by a judge; when time is of the essence, a judicial decision shall subsequently be obtained without delay.

(6) The Federal Government shall report to the Bundestag annually as to the employment of technical means pursuant to paragraph (3) and, within the jurisdiction of the Federation, pursuant to paragraph (4) and, insofar as judicial approval is required, pursuant to paragraph (5) of this Article. A panel elected by the Bundestag shall exercise parliamentary oversight on the basis of this report. A comparable parliamentary oversight shall be afforded by the Länder.

(7) Interferences and restrictions shall otherwise only be permissible to avert a danger to the public or to the life of an individual, or, pursuant to a law, to confront an acute danger to public safety and order, in particular to relieve a housing shortage, to combat the danger of an epidemic, or to protect young persons at risk.

Article 14
[Property – Inheritance – Expropriation]

(1) Property and the right of inheritance shall be guaranteed. Their content and limits shall be defined by the laws.

(2) Property entails obligations. Its use shall also serve the public good.

(3) Expropriation shall only be permissible for the public good. It may only be ordered by or pursuant to a law that determines the nature and extent of compensation. Such compensation shall be determined by establishing an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected. In case of dispute concerning the amount of compensation, recourse may be had to the ordinary courts.

Article 15
[Socialisation]

Land, natural resources and means of production may for the purpose of socialisation be transferred to public ownership or other forms of public enterprise by a law that determines the nature and extent of compensation. With respect to such compensation the third and fourth sentences of paragraph (3) of Article 14 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 16
[Citizenship – Extradition]

(1) No German may be deprived of his citizenship. Citizenship may be lost only pursuant to a law, and against the will of the person affected only if he does not become stateless as a result.

(2) No German may be extradited to a foreign country. The law may provide otherwise for extraditions to a member state of the European Union or to an international court, provided that the rule of law is observed.

Article 16a
[Right of asylum]

(1) Persons persecuted on political grounds shall have the right of asylum.

(2) Paragraph (1) of this Article may not be invoked by a person who enters the federal territory from a member state of the European Communities or from another third state in which application of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is assured. The states outside the European Communities to which the criteria of the first sentence of this paragraph apply shall be specified by a law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. In the cases specified in the first sentence of this paragraph, measures to terminate an applicant’s stay may be implemented without regard to any legal challenge that may have been instituted against them.

(3) By a law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat, states may be specified in which, on the basis of their laws, enforcement practices and general political conditions, it can be safely concluded that neither political persecution nor inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment exists. It shall be presumed that a foreigner from such a state is not persecuted, unless he presents evidence justifying the conclusion that, contrary to this presumption, he is persecuted on political grounds.

(4) In the cases specified by paragraph (3) of this Article and in other cases that are plainly unfounded or considered to be plainly unfounded, the implementation of measures to terminate an applicant’s stay may be suspended by a court only if serious doubts exist as to their legality; the scope of review may be limited, and tardy objections may be disregarded. Details shall be determined by a law.

(5) Paragraphs (1) to (4) of this Article shall not preclude the conclusion of international agreements of member states of the European Communities with each other or with those third states which, with due regard for the obligations arising from the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, whose enforcement must be assured in the contracting states, adopt rules conferring jurisdiction to decide on applications for asylum, including the reciprocal recognition of asylum decisions.

Article 17
[Right of petition]

Every person shall have the right individually or jointly with others to address written requests or complaints to competent authorities and to the legislature.

Article 17a
[Restriction of basic rights in specific instances]

(1) Laws regarding military and alternative service may provide that the basic right of members of the Armed Forces and of alternative service freely to express and disseminate their opinions in speech, writing and pictures (first clause of paragraph (1) of Article 5), the basic right of assembly (Article 8), and the right of petition (Article 17) insofar as it permits the submission of requests or complaints jointly with others, be restricted during their period of military or alternative service.

(2) Laws regarding defence, including protection of the civilian population, may provide for restriction of the basic rights of freedom of movement (Article 11) and inviolability of the home (Article 13).

Article 18
[Forfeiture of basic rights]

Whoever abuses the freedom of expression, in particular the freedom of the press (paragraph (1) of Article 5), the freedom of teaching (paragraph (3) of Article 5), the freedom of assembly (Article 8), the freedom of association (Article 9), the privacy of correspondence, posts and telecommunications (Article 10), the rights of property (Article 14), or the right of asylum (Article 16a) in order to combat the free democratic basic order shall forfeit these basic rights. This forfeiture and its extent shall be declared by the Federal Constitutional Court.

Article 19
[Restriction of basic rights – Legal remedies]

(1) Insofar as, under this Basic Law, a basic right may be restricted by or pursuant to a law, such law must apply generally and not merely to a single case. In addition, the law must specify the basic right affected and the Article in which it appears.

(2) In no case may the essence of a basic right be affected.

(3) The basic rights shall also apply to domestic artificial persons to the extent that the nature of such rights permits.

(4) Should any person’s rights be violated by public authority, he may have recourse to the courts. If no other jurisdiction has been established, recourse shall be to the ordinary courts. The second sentence of paragraph (2) of Article 10 shall not be affected by this paragraph.

II. The Federation and the Länder

Article 20
[Constitutional principles – Right of resistance]

(1) The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal state.

(2) All state authority is derived from the people. It shall be exercised by the people through elections and other votes and through specific legislative, executive and judicial bodies.

(3) The legislature shall be bound by the constitutional order, the executive and the judiciary by law and justice.

(4) All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available.

Article 20a
[Protection of the natural foundations of life and animals]

Mindful also of its responsibility toward future generations, the state shall protect the natural foundations of life and animals by legislation and, in accordance with law and justice, by executive and judicial action, all within the framework of the constitutional order.

Article 21
[Political parties]

(1) Political parties shall participate in the formation of the political will of the people. They may be freely established. Their internal organisation must conform to democratic principles. They must publicly account for their assets and for the sources and use of their funds.

(2) Parties that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their adherents, seek to undermine or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional. The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule on the question of unconstitutionality.

(3) Details shall be regulated by federal laws.

Article 22
[Federal capital – Federal flag]

(1) Berlin is the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Federation shall be responsible for representing the nation as a whole in the capital. Details shall be regulated by federal law.

(2) The federal flag shall be black, red and gold.

Article 23
[European Union – Protection of basic rights – Principle of subsidiarity]

(1) With a view to establishing a united Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany shall participate in the development of the European Union that is committed to democratic, social and federal principles, to the rule of law, and to the principle of subsidiarity, and that guarantees a level of protection of basic rights essentially comparable to that afforded by this Basic Law. To this end the Federation may transfer sovereign powers by a law with the consent of the Bundesrat. The establishment of the European Union, as well as changes in its treaty foundations and comparable regulations that amend or supplement this Basic Law, or make such amendments or supplements possible, shall be subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) of Article 79.

(1a) The Bundestag and the Bundesrat shall have the right to bring an action before the Court of Justice of the European Union to challenge a legislative act of the European Union for infringing the principle of subsidiarity. The Bundestag is obliged to initiate such an action at the request of one fourth of its Members. By a statute requiring the consent of the Bundesrat, exceptions from the first sentence of paragraph (2) of Article 42, and the first sentence of paragraph (2) of Article 52, may be authorised for the exercise of the rights granted to the Bundestag and the Bundesrat under the contractual foundations of the European Union.

(2) The Bundestag and, through the Bundesrat, the Länder shall participate in matters concerning the European Union. The Federal Government shall keep the Bundestag and the Bundesrat informed, comprehensively and at the earliest possible time.

(3) Before participating in legislative acts of the European Union, the Federal Government shall provide the Bundestag with an opportunity to state its position. The Federal Government shall take the position of the Bundestag into account during the negotiations. Details shall be regulated by a law.

(4) The Bundesrat shall participate in the decision-making process of the Federation insofar as it would have been competent to do so in a comparable domestic matter, or insofar as the subject falls within the domestic competence of the Länder.

(5) Insofar as, in an area within the exclusive competence of the Federation, interests of the Länder are affected, and in other matters, insofar as the Federation has legislative power, the Federal Government shall take the position of the Bundesrat into account. To the extent that the legislative powers of the Länder, the structure of Land authorities, or Land administrative procedures are primarily affected, the position of the Bundesrat shall be given the greatest possible respect in determining the Federation’s position consistent with the responsibility of the Federation for the nation as a whole. In matters that may result in increased expenditures or reduced revenues for the Federation, the consent of the Federal Government shall be required.

(6) When legislative powers exclusive to the Länder concerning matters of school education, culture or broadcasting are primarily affected, the exercise of the rights belonging to the Federal Republic of Germany as a member state of the European Union shall be delegated by the Federation to a representative of the Länder designated by the Bundesrat. These rights shall be exercised with the participation of, and in coordination with, the Federal Government; their exercise shall be consistent with the responsibility of the Federation for the nation as a whole.

(7) Details regarding paragraphs (4) to (6) of this Article shall be regulated by a law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 24
[Transfer of sovereign powers – System of collective security]

(1) The Federation may by a law transfer sovereign powers to international organisations.

(1a) Insofar as the Länder are competent to exercise state powers and to perform state functions, they may, with the consent of the Federal Government, transfer sovereign powers to transfrontier institutions in neighbouring regions.

(2) With a view to maintaining peace, the Federation may enter into a system of mutual collective security; in doing so it shall consent to such limitations upon its sovereign powers as will bring about and secure a lasting peace in Europe and among the nations of the world.

(3) For the settlement of disputes between states, the Federation shall accede to agreements providing for general, comprehensive and compulsory international arbitration.

Article 25
[Primacy of international law]

The general rules of international law shall be an integral part of federal law. They shall take precedence over the laws and directly create rights and duties for the inhabitants of the federal territory.

Article 26
[Securing international peace]

(1) Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional. They shall be made a criminal offence.

(2) Weapons designed for warfare may be manufactured, transported or marketed only with the permission of the Federal Government. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 27
[Merchant fleet]

All German merchant vessels shall constitute a unitary merchant fleet.

Article 28
[Land constitutions – Autonomy of municipalities]

(1) The constitutional order in the Länder must conform to the principles of a republican, democratic and social state governed by the rule of law, within the meaning of this Basic Law. In each Land, county and municipality the people shall be represented by a body chosen in general, direct, free, equal and secret elections. In county and municipal elections, persons who possess citizenship in any member state of the European Community are also eligible to vote and to be elected in accord with European Community law. In municipalities a local assembly may take the place of an elected body.

(2) Municipalities must be guaranteed the right to regulate all local affairs on their own responsibility, within the limits prescribed by the laws. Within the limits of their functions designated by a law, associations of municipalities shall also have the right of self-government according to the laws. The guarantee of self-government shall extend to the bases of financial autonomy; these bases shall include the right of municipalities to a source of tax revenues based upon economic ability and the right to establish the rates at which these sources shall be taxed.

(3) The Federation shall guarantee that the constitutional order of the Länder conforms to the basic rights and to the provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Article.

Article 29
[New delimitation of the federal territory]

(1) The division of the federal territory into Länder may be revised to ensure that each Land be of a size and capacity to perform its functions effectively. Due regard shall be given in this connection to regional, historical and cultural ties, economic efficiency, and the requirements of local and regional planning.

(2) Revisions of the existing division into Länder shall be effected by a federal law, which must be confirmed by referendum. The affected Länder shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard.

(3) The referendum shall be held in the Länder from whose territories or parts of territories a new Land or a Land with redefined boundaries is to be established (affected Länder). The question to be voted on is whether the affected Länder are to remain as they are or whether the new Land or the Land with redefined boundaries should be established. The proposal to establish a new Land or a Land with redefined boundaries shall take effect if the change is approved by a majority in the future territory of such Land and by a majority in the territories or parts of territories of an affected Land taken together whose affiliation with a Land is to be changed in the same way. The proposal shall not take effect if within the territory of any of the affected Länder a majority reject the change; however, such rejection shall be of no consequence if in any part of the territory whose affiliation with the affected Land is to be changed a two-thirds majority approves the change, unless it is rejected by a two-thirds majority in the territory of the affected Land as a whole.

(4) If in any clearly defined and contiguous residential and economic area located in two or more Länder and having at least one million inhabitants one tenth of those entitled to vote in Bundestag elections petition for the inclusion of that area in a single Land, a federal law shall specify within two years whether the change shall be made in accordance with paragraph (2) of this Article or that an advisory referendum shall be held in the affected Länder.

(5) The advisory referendum shall establish whether the changes the law proposes meet with the voters’ approval. The law may put forward not more than two distinct proposals for consideration by the voters. If a majority approves a proposed change of the existing division into Länder, a federal law shall specify within two years whether the change shall be made in accordance with paragraph (2) of this Article. If a proposal is approved in accordance with the third and fourth sentences of paragraph (3) of this Article, a federal law providing for establishment of the proposed Land shall be enacted within two years after the advisory ballot, and confirmation by referendum shall no longer be required.

(6) A majority in a referendum or in an advisory referendum shall consist of a majority of the votes cast, provided that it amounts to at least one quarter of those entitled to vote in Bundestag elections. Other details concerning referenda, petitions and advisory referenda shall be regulated by a federal law, which may also provide that the same petition may not be filed more than once within a period of five years.

(7) Other changes concerning the territory of the Länder may be effected by agreements between the Länder concerned or by a federal law with the consent of the Bundesrat, if the territory that is to be the subject of the change has no more than 50,000 inhabitants. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat and of a majority of the Members of the Bundestag. The law must provide affected municipalities and counties with an opportunity to be heard.

(8) Länder may revise the division of their existing territory or parts of their territory by agreement without regard to the provisions of paragraphs (2) to (7) of this Article. Affected municipalities and counties shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard. The agreement shall require confirmation by referendum in each of the Länder concerned. If the revision affects only part of a Land’s territory, the referendum may be confined to the areas affected; the second clause of the fifth sentence shall not apply. In a referendum under this paragraph a majority of the votes cast shall be decisive, provided it amounts to at least one quarter of those entitled to vote in Bundestag elections; details shall be regulated by a federal law. The agreement shall require the consent of the Bundestag.

Article 30
[Sovereign powers of the Länder]

Except as otherwise provided or permitted by this Basic Law, the exercise of state powers and the discharge of state functions is a matter for the Länder.

Article 31
[Supremacy of federal law]

Federal law shall take precedence over Land law.

Article 32
[Foreign relations]

(1) Relations with foreign states shall be conducted by the Federation.

(2) Before the conclusion of a treaty affecting the special circumstances of a Land, that Land shall be consulted in timely fashion.

(3) Insofar as the Länder have power to legislate, they may conclude treaties with foreign states with the consent of the Federal Government.

Article 33
[Equal citizenship – Public service]

(1) Every German shall have in every Land the same political rights and duties.

(2) Every German shall be equally eligible for any public office according to his aptitude, qualifications and professional achievements.

(3) Neither the enjoyment of civil and political rights, nor eligibility for public office, nor rights acquired in the public service shall be dependent upon religious affiliation. No one may be disadvantaged by reason of adherence or non-adherence to a particular religious denomination or philosophical creed.

(4) The exercise of sovereign authority on a regular basis shall, as a rule, be entrusted to members of the public service who stand in a relationship of service and loyalty defined by public law.

(5) The law governing the public service shall be regulated and developed with due regard to the traditional principles of the professional civil service.

Article 34
[Liability for violation of official duty]

If any person, in the exercise of a public office entrusted to him, violates his official duty to a third party, liability shall rest principally with the state or public body that employs him. In the event of intentional wrongdoing or gross negligence, the right of recourse against the individual officer shall be preserved. The ordinary courts shall not be closed to claims for compensation or indemnity.

Article 35
[Legal and administrative assistance and assistance during disasters]

(1) All federal and Land authorities shall render legal and administrative assistance to one another.

(2) In order to maintain or restore public security or order, a Land in particularly serious cases may call upon personnel and facilities of the Federal Border Police to assist its police when without such assistance the police could not fulfil their responsibilities, or could do so only with great difficulty. In order to respond to a grave accident or a natural disaster, a Land may call for the assistance of police forces of other Länder or of personnel and facilities of other administrative authorities, of the Armed Forces, or of the Federal Border Police.

(3) If the natural disaster or accident endangers the territory of more than one Land, the Federal Government, insofar as is necessary to combat the danger, may instruct the Land governments to place police forces at the disposal of other Länder, and may deploy units of the Federal Border Police or the Armed Forces to support the police. Measures taken by the Federal Government pursuant to the first sentence of this paragraph shall be rescinded at any time at the demand of the Bundesrat, and in any event as soon as the danger is removed.

Article 36
[Personnel of federal authorities]

(1) Civil servants employed by the highest federal authorities shall be drawn from all Länder in appropriate proportion. Persons employed by other federal authorities shall, as a rule, be drawn from the Land in which they serve.

(2) Laws regarding military service shall also take into account both the division of the Federation into Länder and the regional loyalties of their people.

Article 37
[Federal execution]

(1) If a Land fails to comply with its obligations under this Basic Law or other federal laws, the Federal Government, with the consent of the Bundesrat, may take the necessary steps to compel the Land to comply with its duties.

(2) For the purpose of implementing such coercive measures, the Federal Government or its representative shall have the right to issue instructions to all Länder and their authorities.

III. The Bundestag

Article 38
[Elections]

(1) Members of the German Bundestag shall be elected in general, direct, free, equal and secret elections. They shall be representatives of the whole people, not bound by orders or instructions, and responsible only to their conscience.

(2) Any person who has attained the age of eighteen shall be entitled to vote; any person who has attained the age of majority may be elected.

(3) Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 39
[Electoral term – Convening]

(1) Save the following provisions, the Bundestag shall be elected for four years. Its term shall end when a new Bundestag convenes. New elections shall be held no sooner than forty-six months and no later than forty-eight months after the electoral term begins. If the Bundestag is dissolved, new elections shall be held within sixty days.

(2) The Bundestag shall convene no later than the thirtieth day after the elections.

(3) The Bundestag shall determine when its sessions shall be adjourned and resumed. The President of the Bundestag may convene it at an earlier date. He shall be obliged to do so if one third of the Members, the Federal President or the Federal Chancellor so demand.

Article 40
[Presidency – Rules of procedure]

(1) The Bundestag shall elect its President, Vice-Presidents and secretaries. It shall adopt rules of procedure.

(2) The President shall exercise proprietary and police powers in the Bundestag building. No search or seizure may take place on the premises of the Bundestag without his permission.

Article 41
[Scrutiny of elections]

(1) Scrutiny of elections shall be the responsibility of the Bundestag. It shall also decide whether a Member has lost his seat.

(2) Complaints against such decisions of the Bundestag may be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court.

(3) Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 42
[Public sittings – Majority decisions]

(1) Sittings of the Bundestag shall be public. On the motion of one tenth of its Members, or on the motion of the Federal Government, the public may be excluded by a two-thirds majority. The motion shall be voted upon at a sitting not open to the public.

(2) Decisions of the Bundestag shall require a majority of the votes cast unless this Basic Law otherwise provides. The rules of procedure may permit exceptions with respect to elections to be conducted by the Bundestag.

(3) Truthful reports of public sittings of the Bundestag and of its committees shall not give rise to any liability.

Article 43
[Right to require presence, right of access and right to be heard]

(1) The Bundestag and its committees may require the presence of any member of the Federal Government.

(2) The members of the Bundesrat and of the Federal Government as well as their representatives may attend all sittings of the Bundestag and meetings of its committees. They shall have the right to be heard at any time.

Article 44
[Committees of inquiry]

(1) The Bundestag shall have the right, and on the motion of one quarter of its Members the duty, to establish a committee of inquiry, which shall take the requisite evidence at public hearings. The public may be excluded.

(2) The rules of criminal procedure shall apply mutatis mutandis to the taking of evidence. The privacy of correspondence, posts and telecommunications shall not be affected.

(3) Courts and administrative authorities shall be required to provide legal and administrative assistance.

(4) The decisions of committees of inquiry shall not be subject to judicial review. The courts shall be free to evaluate and rule upon the facts that were the subject of the investigation.

Article 45
[Committee on the European Union]

The Bundestag shall appoint a Committee on the Affairs of the European Union. It may authorise the committee to exercise the rights of the Bundestag under Article 23 vis-à-vis the Federal Government. It may also empower it to exercise the rights granted to the Bundestag under the contractual foundations of the European Union.

Article 45a
[Committees on Foreign Affairs and Defence]

(1) The Bundestag shall appoint a Committee on Foreign Affairs and a Defence Committee.

(2) The Defence Committee shall also have the powers of a committee of inquiry. On the motion of one quarter of its members it shall have the duty to make a specific matter the subject of inquiry.

(3) Paragraph (1) of Article 44 shall not apply to defence matters.

Article 45b
[Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces]

A Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces shall be appointed to safeguard basic rights and to assist the Bundestag in exercising parliamentary oversight over the Armed Forces. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 45c
[Petitions Committee]

(1) The Bundestag shall appoint a Petitions Committee to deal with requests and complaints addressed to the Bundestag pursuant to Article 17.

(2) The powers of the Committee to consider complaints shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 45d
[Parliamentary Control Panel]

(1) The Bundestag shall appoint a panel to scrutinise the intelligence activities of the Federation.

(2) Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 46
[Immunities of Members]

(1) At no time may a Member be subjected to court proceedings or disciplinary action or otherwise called to account outside the Bundestag for a vote cast or for any speech or debate in the Bundestag or in any of its committees. This provision shall not apply to defamatory insults.

(2) A Member may not be called to account or arrested for a punishable offence without permission of the Bundestag, unless he is apprehended while committing the offence or in the course of the following day.

(3) The permission of the Bundestag shall also be required for any other restriction of a Member’s freedom of the person or for the initiation of proceedings against a Member under Article 18.

(4) Any criminal proceedings or any proceedings under Article 18 against a Member and any detention or other restriction of the freedom of his person shall be suspended at the demand of the Bundestag.

Article 47
[Right of refusal to give evidence]

Members may refuse to give evidence concerning persons who have confided information to them in their capacity as Members of the Bundestag, or to whom they have confided information in this capacity, as well as evidence concerning this information itself. To the extent that this right of refusal to give evidence applies, no seizure of documents shall be permissible.

Article 48
[Candidature – Protection of membership – Remuneration]

(1) Every candidate for election to the Bundestag shall be entitled to the leave necessary for his election campaign.

(2) No one may be prevented from accepting or exercising the office of Member of the Bundestag. No one may be given notice of dismissal or discharged from employment on this ground.

(3) Members shall be entitled to remuneration adequate to ensure their independence. They shall be entitled to the free use of all publicly owned means of transport. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 49 [repealed]

IV. The Bundesrat

Article 50
[Functions]

The Länder shall participate through the Bundesrat in the legislation and administration of the Federation and in matters concerning the European Union.

Article 51
[Composition – Weighted voting]

(1) The Bundesrat shall consist of members of the Land governments, which appoint and recall them. Other members of those governments may serve as alternates.

(2) Each Land shall have at least three votes; Länder with more than two million inhabitants shall have four, Länder with more than six million inhabitants five, and Länder with more than seven million inhabitants six votes.

(3) Each Land may appoint as many members as it has votes. The votes of each Land may be cast only as a unit and only by Members present or their alternates.

Article 52
[President – Decisions – Rules of procedure]

(1) The Bundesrat shall elect its President for one year.

(2) The President shall convene the Bundesrat. He shall be obliged to do so if the delegates of at least two Länder or the Federal Government so demand.

(3) Decisions of the Bundesrat shall require at least a majority of its votes. It shall adopt rules of procedure. Its meetings shall be open to the public. The public may be excluded.

(3a) For matters concerning the European Union the Bundesrat may establish a Chamber for European Affairs, whose decisions shall be considered decisions of the Bundesrat; the number of votes to be uniformly cast by the Länder shall be determined by paragraph (2) of Article 51.

(4) Other members or representatives of Land governments may serve on committees of the Bundesrat.

Article 53
[Attendance of members of the Federal Government]

The members of the Federal Government shall have the right, and on demand the duty, to participate in meetings of the Bundesrat and of its committees. They shall have the right to be heard at any time. The Bundesrat shall be kept informed by the Federal Government with regard to the conduct of its affairs.

IVa. The Joint Committee

Article 53a
[Composition – Rules of procedure]

(1) The Joint Committee shall consist of Members of the Bundestag and members of the Bundesrat; the Bundestag shall provide two thirds and the Bundesrat one third of the committee members. The Bundestag shall designate Members in proportion to the relative strength of the various parliamentary groups; they may not be members of the Federal Government. Each Land shall be represented by a Bundesrat member of its choice; these members shall not be bound by instructions. The establishment of the Joint Committee and its proceedings shall be regulated by rules of procedure to be adopted by the Bundestag and requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

(2) The Federal Government shall inform the Joint Committee about its plans for a state of defence. The rights of the Bundestag and its committees under paragraph (1) of Article 43 shall not be affected by the provisions of this paragraph.

V. The Federal President

Article 54
[Election – Term of office]

(1) The Federal President shall be elected by the Federal Convention without debate. Any German who is entitled to vote in Bundestag elections and has attained the age of forty may be elected.

(2) The term of office of the Federal President shall be five years. Re-election for a consecutive term shall be permitted only once.

(3) The Federal Convention shall consist of the Members of the Bundestag and an equal number of members elected by the parliaments of the Länder on the basis of proportional representation.

(4) The Federal Convention shall meet not later than thirty days before the term of office of the Federal President expires or, in the case of premature termination, not later than thirty days after that date. It shall be convened by the President of the Bundestag.

(5) After the expiration of an electoral term, the period specified in the first sentence of paragraph (4) of this Article shall begin when the Bundestag first convenes.

(6) The person receiving the votes of a majority of the members of the Federal Convention shall be elected. If after two ballots no candidate has obtained such a majority, the person who receives the largest number of votes on the next ballot shall be elected.

(7) Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 55
[Incompatibilities]

(1) The Federal President may not be a member of the government or of a legislative body of the Federation or of a Land.

(2) The Federal President may not hold any other salaried office, or engage in any trade or profession, or belong to the management or supervisory board of any enterprise conducted for profit.

Article 56
[Oath of office]

On assuming his office, the Federal President shall take the following oath before the assembled Members of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat:

“I swear that I will dedicate my efforts to the well-being of the German people, promote their welfare, protect them from harm, uphold and defend the Basic Law and the laws of the Federation, perform my duties conscientiously, and do justice to all. So help me God.”

The oath may also be taken without religious affirmation.

Article 57
[Substitution]

If the Federal President is unable to perform his duties, or if his office falls prematurely vacant, the President of the Bundesrat shall exercise his powers.

Article 58
[Countersignature]

Orders and directions of the Federal President shall require for their validity the countersignature of the Federal Chancellor or of the competent Federal Minister. This provision shall not apply to the appointment or dismissal of the Federal Chancellor, the dissolution of the Bundestag under Article 63, or a request made under paragraph (3) of Article 69.

Article 59
[Representation of the Federation for the purposes of international law]

(1) The Federal President shall represent the Federation for the purposes of international law. He shall conclude treaties with foreign states on behalf of the Federation. He shall accredit and receive envoys.

(2) Treaties that regulate the political relations of the Federation or relate to subjects of federal legislation shall require the consent or participation, in the form of a federal law, of the bodies responsible in such a case for the enactment of federal law. In the case of executive agreements the provisions concerning the federal administration shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 59a
[repealed]

Article 60
[Appointment of civil servants – Pardon – Immunity]

(1) The Federal President shall appoint and dismiss federal judges, federal civil servants, and commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces, except as may otherwise be provided by a law.

(2) He shall exercise the power to pardon individual offenders on behalf of the Federation.

(3) He may delegate these powers to other authorities.

(4) Paragraphs (2) to (4) of Article 46 shall apply to the Federal President mutatis mutandis.

Article 61
[Impeachment before the Federal Constitutional Court]

(1) The Bundestag or the Bundesrat may impeach the Federal President before the Federal Constitutional Court for wilful violation of this Basic Law or of any other federal law. The motion of impeachment must be supported by at least one quarter of the Members of the Bundestag or one quarter of the votes of the Bundesrat. The decision to impeach shall require a majority of two thirds of the Members of the Bundestag or of two thirds of the votes of the Bundesrat. The case for impeachment shall be presented before the Federal Constitutional Court by a person commissioned by the impeaching body.

(2) If the Federal Constitutional Court finds the Federal President guilty of a wilful violation of this Basic Law or of any other federal law, it may declare that he has forfeited his office. After the Federal President has been impeached, the Court may issue an interim order preventing him from exercising his functions.

VI. The Federal Government

Article 62
[Composition]

The Federal Government shall consist of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers.

Article 63
[Election of the Federal Chancellor]

(1) The Federal Chancellor shall be elected by the Bundestag without debate on the proposal of the Federal President.

(2) The person who receives the votes of a majority of the Members of the Bundestag shall be elected. The person elected shall be appointed by the Federal President.

(3) If the person proposed by the Federal President is not elected, the Bundestag may elect a Federal Chancellor within fourteen days after the ballot by the votes of more than one half of its Members.

(4) If no Federal Chancellor is elected within this period, a new election shall take place without delay, in which the person who receives the largest number of votes shall be elected. If the person elected receives the votes of a majority of the Members of the Bundestag, the Federal President must appoint him within seven days after the election. If the person elected does not receive such a majority, then within seven days the Federal President shall either appoint him or dissolve the Bundestag.

Article 64
[Appointment and dismissal of Federal Ministers – Oath of office]

(1) Federal Ministers shall be appointed and dismissed by the Federal President upon the proposal of the Federal Chancellor.

(2) On taking office the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers shall take the oath provided for in Article 56 before the Bundestag.

Article 65
[Power to determine policy guidelines – Department and collegiate responsibility]

The Federal Chancellor shall determine and be responsible for the general guidelines of policy. Within these limits each Federal Minister shall conduct the affairs of his department independently and on his own responsibility. The Federal Government shall resolve differences of opinion between Federal Ministers. The Federal Chancellor shall conduct the proceedings of the Federal Government in accordance with rules of procedure adopted by the Government and approved by the Federal President.

Article 65a
[Command of the Armed Forces]

(1) Command of the Armed Forces shall be vested in the Federal Minister of Defence.

(2) [repealed]

Article 66
[Incompatibilities]

Neither the Federal Chancellor nor a Federal Minister may hold any other salaried office, or engage in any trade or profession, or belong to the management or, without the consent of the Bundestag, to the supervisory board of an enterprise conducted for profit.

Article 67
[Vote of no confidence]

(1) The Bundestag may express its lack of confidence in the Federal Chancellor only by electing a successor by the vote of a majority of its Members and requesting the Federal President to dismiss the Federal Chancellor. The Federal President must comply with the request and appoint the person elected.

(2) Forty-eight hours shall elapse between the motion and the election.

Article 68
[Vote of confidence]

(1) If a motion of the Federal Chancellor for a vote of confidence is not supported by the majority of the Members of the Bundestag, the Federal President, upon the proposal of the Federal Chancellor, may dissolve the Bundestag within twenty-one days. The right of dissolution shall lapse as soon as the Bundestag elects another Federal Chancellor by the vote of a majority of its Members.

(2) Forty-eight hours shall elapse between the motion and the vote.

Article 69
[Deputy Federal Chancellor – Term of office]

(1) The Federal Chancellor shall appoint a Federal Minister as his deputy.

(2) The tenure of office of the Federal Chancellor or of a Federal Minister shall end in any event when a new Bundestag convenes; the tenure of office of a Federal Minister shall also end on any other occasion on which the Federal Chancellor ceases to hold office.

(3) At the request of the Federal President the Federal Chancellor, or at the request of the Federal Chancellor or of the Federal President a Federal Minister, shall be obliged to continue to manage the affairs of his office until a successor is appointed.

VII. Federal Legislation and Legislative Procedures

Article 70
[Division of powers between the Federation and the Länder]

(1) The Länder shall have the right to legislate insofar as this Basic Law does not confer legislative power on the Federation.

(2) The division of authority between the Federation and the Länder shall be governed by the provisions of this Basic Law concerning exclusive and concurrent legislative powers.

Article 71
[Exclusive legislative power of the Federation]

On matters within the exclusive legislative power of the Federation, the Länder shall have power to legislate only when and to the extent that they are expressly authorised to do so by a federal law.

Article 72
[Concurrent legislative powers]

(1) On matters within the concurrent legislative power, the Länder shall have power to legislate so long as and to the extent that the Federation has not exercised its legislative power by enacting a law.

(2) The Federation shall have the right to legislate on matters falling within clauses 4, 7, 11, 13, 15, 19a, 20, 22, 25 and 26 of paragraph (1) of Article 74, if and to the extent that the establishment of equivalent living conditions throughout the federal territory or the maintenance of legal or economic unity renders federal regulation necessary in the national interest.

(3) If the Federation has made use of its power to legislate, the Länder may enact laws at variance with this legislation with respect to:

1.  hunting (except for the law on hunting licenses);

2.  protection of nature and landscape management (except for the general principles governing the protection of nature, the law on protection of plant and animal species or the law on protection of marine life);

3.  land distribution;

4.  regional planning;

5.  management of water resources (except for regulations related to materials or facilities);

6.  admission to institutions of higher education and requirements for graduation in such institutions.

Federal laws on these matters shall enter into force no earlier than six months following their promulgation unless otherwise provided with the consent of the Bundesrat. As for the relationship between federal law and law of the Länder, the latest law enacted shall take precedence with respect to matters within the scope of the first sentence.

(4) A federal law may provide that federal legislation that is no longer necessary within the meaning of paragraph (2) of this Article may be superseded by Land law.

Article 73
[Matters under exclusive legislative power of the Federation]

(1) The Federation shall have exclusive legislative power with respect to:

1.  foreign affairs and defence, including protection of the civilian population;

2.  citizenship in the Federation;

3.  freedom of movement, passports, residency registration and identity cards, immigration, emigration and extradition;

4.  currency, money and coinage, weights and measures, and the determination of standards of time;

5.  the unity of the customs and trading area, treaties regarding commerce and navigation, the free movement of goods, and the exchange of goods and payments with foreign countries, including customs and border protection;

5a.  safeguarding German cultural assets against removal from the country;

6.  air transport;

6a.  the operation of railways wholly or predominantly owned by the Federation (federal railways), the construction, maintenance and operation of railroad lines belonging to federal railways, and the levying of charges for the use of these lines;

7.  postal and telecommunications services;

8.  the legal relations of persons employed by the Federation and by federal corporations under public law;

9.  industrial property rights, copyrights and publishing;

9a.  protection by the Federal Criminal Police Office against the dangers of international terrorism when a threat transcends the boundary of one Land, when the jurisdiction of a Land’s police authorities cannot be perceived, or when the highest authority of an individual Land requests the assumption of federal responsibility;

10.  cooperation between the Federation and the Länder concerning

a)  criminal police work,

b)  protection of the free democratic basic order, existence and security of the Federation or of a Land (protection of the constitution), and

c)  protection against activities within the federal territory which, by the use of force or preparations for the use of force, endanger the external interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,

as well as the establishment of a Federal Criminal Police Office and international action to combat crime;

11.  statistics for federal purposes;

12.  the law on weapons and explosives;

13.  benefits for persons disabled by war and for dependents of deceased war victims as well as assistance to former prisoners of war;

14.  the production and utilisation of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the construction and operation of facilities serving such purposes, protection against hazards arising from the release of nuclear energy or from ionising radiation, and the disposal of radioactive substances.

(2) Laws enacted pursuant to clause 9a of paragraph (1) require the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 74
[Matters under concurrent legislative powers]

(1) Concurrent legislative power shall extend to the following matters:

1.  civil law, criminal law, court organisation and procedure (except for the correctional law of pretrial detention), the legal profession, notaries, and the provision of legal advice;

2.  registration of births, deaths and marriages;

3.  the law of association;

4.  the law relating to residence and establishment of foreign nationals;

4a.  [repealed]

5.  [repealed]

6.  matters concerning refugees and expellees;

7.  public welfare (except for the law on social care homes);

8.  [repealed]

9.  war damage and reparations;

10.  war graves and graves of other victims of war or despotism;

11.    the law relating to economic matters (mining, industry, energy, crafts, trades, commerce, banking, stock exchanges and private insurance), except for the law on shop closing hours, restaurants, game halls, display of individual persons, trade fairs, exhibitions and markets;

11a.  [repealed]

12.  labour law, including the organisation of enterprises, occupational health and safety, and employment agencies, as well as social security, including unemployment insurance;

13.  the regulation of educational and training grants and the promotion of research;

14.  the law regarding expropriation, to the extent relevant to matters enumerated in Articles 73 and 74;

15.  the transfer of land, natural resources, and means of production to public ownership or other forms of public enterprise;

16.  prevention of the abuse of economic power;

17.  the promotion of agricultural production and forestry (except for the law on land consolidation), ensuring the adequacy of food supply, the importation and exportation of agricultural and forestry products, deep-sea and coastal fishing, and preservation of the coasts;

18.  urban real estate transactions, land law (except for laws regarding development fees), and the law on rental subsidies, subsidies for old debts, home building loan premiums, miners’ homebuilding and homesteading;

19.  measures to combat human and animal diseases which pose a danger to the public or are communicable, admission to the medical profession and to ancillary professions or occupations, as well as the law on pharmacies, medicines, medical products, drugs, narcotics and poisons;

19a.  the economic viability of hospitals and the regulation of hospital charges;

20.  the law on food products including animals used in their production, the law on alcohol and tobacco, essential commodities and feedstuffs as well as protective measures in connection with the marketing of agricultural and forest seeds and seedlings, the protection of plants against diseases and pests, as well as the protection of animals;

21.  maritime and coastal shipping, as well as navigational aids, inland navigation, meteorological services, sea routes, and inland waterways used for general traffic;

22.  road traffic, motor transport, construction and maintenance of long-distance highways, as well as the collection of tolls for the use of public highways by vehicles and the allocation of the revenue;

23.  non-federal railways, except mountain railways;

24.  waste disposal, air pollution control, and noise abatement (except for the protection from noise associated with human activity);

25.  state liability;

26.  medically assisted generation of human life, analysis and modification of genetic information as well as the regulation of organ, tissue and cell transplantation;

27.  the statutory rights and duties of civil servants of the Länder, the municipalities and other corporations of public law as well as of the judges in the Länder, except for their career regulations, remuneration and pensions;

28.  hunting;

29.  protection of nature and landscape management;

30.  land distribution;

31.  regional planning;

32.  management of water resources;

33.  admission to institutions of higher education and requirements for graduation in such institutions.

(2) Laws enacted pursuant to clauses 25 and 27 of paragraph (1) shall require the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 74a
[repealed]

Article 75
[repealed]

Article 76
[Bills]

(1) Bills may be introduced in the Bundestag by the Federal Government, by the Bundesrat, or from the floor of the Bundestag.

(2) Federal Government bills shall first be submitted to the Bundesrat. The Bundesrat shall be entitled to comment on such bills within six weeks. If for important reasons, especially with respect to the scope of the bill, the Bundesrat demands an extension, the period shall be increased to nine weeks. If in exceptional circumstances the Federal Government on submitting a bill to the Bundesrat declares it to be particularly urgent, it may submit the bill to the Bundestag after three weeks or, if the Bundesrat has demanded an extension pursuant to the third sentence of this paragraph, after six weeks, even if it has not yet received the Bundesrat’s comments; upon receiving such comments, it shall transmit them to the Bundestag without delay. In the case of bills to amend this Basic Law or to transfer sovereign powers pursuant to Article 23 or 24 the comment period shall be nine weeks; the fourth sentence of this paragraph shall not apply.

(3) Bundesrat bills shall be submitted to the Bundestag by the Federal Government within six weeks. In submitting them the Federal Government shall state its own views. If for important reasons, especially with respect to the scope of the bill, the Federal Government demands an extension, the period shall be increased to nine weeks. If in exceptional circumstances the Bundesrat declares a bill to be particularly urgent, the period shall be three weeks or, if the Federal Government has demanded an extension pursuant to the third sentence of this paragraph, six weeks. In the case of bills to amend this Basic Law or to transfer sovereign powers pursuant to Article 23 or 24 the comment period shall be nine weeks; the fourth sentence of this paragraph shall not apply. The Bundestag shall consider and vote on bills within a reasonable time.

Article 77
[Legislative procedure – Mediation Committee]

(1) Federal laws shall be adopted by the Bundestag. After their adoption the President of the Bundestag shall submit them to the Bundesrat without delay.

(2) Within three weeks after receiving an adopted bill, the Bundesrat may demand that a committee for joint consideration of bills, composed of Members of the Bundestag and of the Bundesrat, be convened. The composition and proceedings of this committee shall be regulated by rules of procedure adopted by the Bundestag and requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. The members of the Bundesrat on this committee shall not be bound by instructions. When the consent of the Bundesrat is required for a bill to become law, the Bundestag and the Federal Government may likewise demand that such a committee be convened. Should the committee propose any amendment to the adopted bill, the Bundestag shall vote on it a second time.

(2a) Insofar as its consent is required for a bill to become law, the Bundesrat, if no request has been made pursuant to the first sentence of paragraph (2) of this Article or if the mediation proceeding has been completed without a proposal to amend the bill, shall vote on the bill within a reasonable time.

(3) Insofar as its consent is not required for a bill to become law, the Bundesrat, once proceedings under paragraph (2) of this Article are completed, may within two weeks object to a bill adopted by the Bundestag. The time for objection shall begin, in the case described in the last sentence of paragraph (2) of this Article, upon receipt of the bill as re-adopted by the Bundestag, and in all other cases upon receipt of a communication from the chairman of the committee provided for in paragraph (2) of this Article to the effect that the committee’s proceedings have been concluded.

(4) If the objection is adopted by the majority of the votes of the Bundesrat, it may be rejected by a decision of the majority of the Members of the Bundestag. If the Bundesrat adopted the objection by a majority of at least two thirds of its votes, its rejection by the Bundestag shall require a two-thirds majority, including at least a majority of the Members of the Bundestag.

Article 78
[Passage of federal laws]

A bill adopted by the Bundestag shall become law if the Bundesrat consents to it, or fails to make a demand pursuant to paragraph (2) of Article 77, or fails to enter an objection within the period stipulated in paragraph (3) of Article 77, or withdraws such an objection, or if the objection is overridden by the Bundestag.

Article 79
[Amendment of the Basic Law]

(1) This Basic Law may be amended only by a law expressly amending or supplementing its text. In the case of an international treaty regarding a peace settlement, the preparation of a peace settlement, or the phasing out of an occupation regime, or designed to promote the defence of the Federal Republic, it shall be sufficient, for the purpose of making clear that the provisions of this Basic Law do not preclude the conclusion and entry into force of the treaty, to add language to the Basic Law that merely makes this clarification.

(2) Any such law shall be carried by two thirds of the Members of the Bundestag and two thirds of the votes of the Bundesrat.

(3) Amendments to this Basic Law affecting the division of the Federation into Länder, their participation on principle in the legislative process, or the principles laid down in Articles 1 and 20 shall be inadmissible.

Article 80
[Issuance of statutory instruments]

(1) The Federal Government, a Federal Minister or the Land governments may be authorised by a law to issue statutory instruments. The content, purpose and scope of the authority conferred shall be specified in the law. Each statutory instrument shall contain a statement of its legal basis. If the law provides that such authority may be further delegated, such subdelegation shall be effected by statutory instrument.

(2) Unless a federal law otherwise provides, the consent of the Bundesrat shall be required for statutory instruments issued by the Federal Government or a Federal Minister regarding fees or basic principles for the use of postal and telecommunication facilities, basic principles for levying of charges for the use of facilities of federal railways, or the construction and operation of railways, as well as for statutory instruments issued pursuant to federal laws that require the consent of the Bundesrat or that are executed by the Länder on federal commission or in their own right.

(3) The Bundesrat may submit to the Federal Government drafts of statutory instruments that require its consent.

(4) Insofar as Land governments are authorised by or pursuant to federal laws to issue statutory instruments, the Länder shall also be entitled to regulate the matter by a law.

Article 80a
[State of tension]

(1) If this Basic Law or a federal law regarding defence, including protection of the civilian population, provides that legal provisions may be applied only in accordance with this Article, their application, except when a state of defence has been declared, shall be permissible only after the Bundestag has determined that a state of tension exists or has specifically approved such application. The determination of a state of tension and specific approval in the cases mentioned in the first sentence of paragraph (5) and the second sentence of paragraph (6) of Article 12a shall require a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.

(2) Any measures taken pursuant to legal provisions by virtue of paragraph (1) of this Article shall be rescinded whenever the Bundestag so demands.

(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this Article, the application of such legal provisions shall also be permissible on the basis of and in accordance with a decision made by an international body within the framework of a treaty of alliance with the approval of the Federal Government. Any measures taken pursuant to this paragraph shall be rescinded whenever the Bundestag, by the vote of a majority of its Members, so demands.

Article 81
[Legislative emergency]

(1) If, in the circumstances described in Article 68, the Bundestag is not dissolved, the Federal President, at the request of the Federal Government and with the consent of the Bundesrat, may declare a state of legislative emergency with respect to a bill, if the Bundestag rejects the bill although the Federal Government has declared it to be urgent. The same shall apply if a bill has been rejected although the Federal Chancellor had combined it with a motion under Article 68.

(2) If, after a state of legislative emergency has been declared, the Bundestag again rejects the bill or adopts it in a version the Federal Government declares unacceptable, the bill shall be deemed to have become law to the extent that it receives the consent of the Bundesrat. The same shall apply if the Bundestag does not pass the bill within four weeks after it is reintroduced.

(3) During the term of office of a Federal Chancellor, any other bill rejected by the Bundestag may become law in accordance with paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Article within a period of six months after the first declaration of a state of legislative emergency. After the expiration of this period, no further declaration of a state of legislative emergency may be made during the term of office of the same Federal Chancellor.

(4) This Basic Law may neither be amended nor abrogated nor suspended in whole or in part by a law enacted pursuant to paragraph (2) of this Article.

Article 82
[Certification – Promulgation – Entry into force]

(1) Laws enacted in accordance with the provisions of this Basic Law shall, after countersignature, be certified by the Federal President and promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette. Statutory instruments shall be certified by the agency that issues them and, unless a law otherwise provides, shall be promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette.

(2) Every law or statutory instrument shall specify the date on which it shall take effect. In the absence of such a provision, it shall take effect on the fourteenth day after the day on which the Federal Law Gazette containing it was published.

VIII. The Execution of Federal Laws and the Federal Administration

Article 83
[Execution by the Länder]

The Länder shall execute federal laws in their own right insofar as this Basic Law does not otherwise provide or permit.

Article 84
[Länder administration – Federal oversight]

(1) Where the Länder execute federal laws in their own right, they shall provide for the establishment of the requisite authorities and regulate their administrative procedures. If federal laws provide otherwise, the Länder may enact deviating regulations. If a Land has enacted a law pursuant to the second sentence, subsequent federal laws regulating the organisation of authorities and their administrative procedure shall not be enacted until at least six months after their promulgation, provided that no other determination has been made with the consent of the Bundesrat. The third sentence of paragraph (2) of Article 72 shall apply accordingly. In exceptional cases, owing to a special need for uniform federal legislation, the Federation may regulate the administrative procedure with no possibility of separate Land legislation. Such laws shall require the consent of the Bundesrat. Federal laws may not entrust municipalities and associations of municipalities with any tasks.

(2) The Federal Government, with the consent of the Bundesrat, may issue general administrative rules.

(3) The Federal Government shall exercise oversight to ensure that the Länder execute federal laws in accordance with the law. For this purpose the Federal Government may send commissioners to the highest Land authorities and, with their consent or, where such consent is refused, with the consent of the Bundesrat, also to subordinate authorities.

(4) Should any deficiencies that the Federal Government has identified in the execution of federal laws in the Länder not be corrected, the Bundesrat, on application of the Federal Government or of the Land concerned, shall decide whether that Land has violated the law. The decision of the Bundesrat may be challenged in the Federal Constitutional Court.

(5) With a view to the execution of federal laws, the Federal Government may be authorised by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat to issue instructions in particular cases. They shall be addressed to the highest Land authorities unless the Federal Government considers the matter urgent.

Article 85
[Execution by the Länder on federal commission]

(1) Where the Länder execute federal laws on federal commission, establishment of the authorities shall remain the concern of the Länder, except insofar as federal laws enacted with the consent of the Bundesrat otherwise provide. Federal laws may not entrust municipalities and associations of municipalities with any tasks.

(2) The Federal Government, with the consent of the Bundesrat, may issue general administrative rules. It may provide for the uniform training of civil servants and other salaried public employees. The heads of intermediate authorities shall be appointed with its approval.

(3) The Land authorities shall be subject to instructions from the competent highest federal authorities. Such instructions shall be addressed to the highest Land authorities unless the Federal Government considers the matter urgent. Implementation of the instructions shall be ensured by the highest Land authorities.

(4) Federal oversight shall extend to the legality and appropriateness of execution. For this purpose the Federal Government may require the submission of reports and documents and send commissioners to all authorities.

Article 86
[Federal administration]

Where the Federation executes laws through its own administrative authorities or through federal corporations or institutions established under public law, the Federal Government shall, insofar as the law in question contains no special provision, issue general administrative rules. The Federal Government shall provide for the establishment of the authorities insofar as the law in question does not otherwise provide.

Article 87
[Matters]

(1) The foreign service, the federal financial administration, and, in accordance with the provisions of Article 89, the administration of federal waterways and shipping shall be conducted by federal administrative authorities with their own administrative substructures. A federal law may establish Federal Border Police authorities and central offices for police information and communications, for the criminal police, and for the compilation of data for purposes of protection of the constitution and of protection against activities within the federal territory which, through the use of force or acts preparatory to the use of force, endanger the external interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.

(2) Social insurance institutions whose jurisdiction extends beyond the territory of a single Land shall be administered as federal corporations under public law. Social insurance institutions whose jurisdiction extends beyond the territory of a single Land but not beyond that of three Länder shall, notwithstanding the first sentence of this paragraph, be administered as Land corporations under public law, if the Länder concerned have specified which Land shall exercise supervisory authority.

(3) In addition, autonomous federal higher authorities as well as new federal corporations and institutions under public law may be established by a federal law for matters on which the Federation has legislative power. When the Federation is confronted with new responsibilities with respect to matters on which it has legislative power, federal authorities at intermediate and lower levels may be established, with the consent of the Bundesrat and of a majority of the Members of the Bundestag, in cases of urgent need.

Article 87a
[Armed Forces]

(1) The Federation shall establish Armed Forces for purposes of defence. Their numerical strength and general organisational structure must be shown in the budget.

(2) Apart from defence, the Armed Forces may be employed only to the extent expressly permitted by this Basic Law.

(3) During a state of defence or a state of tension the Armed Forces shall have the power to protect civilian property and to perform traffic control functions to the extent necessary to accomplish their defence mission. Moreover, during a state of defence or a state of tension, the Armed Forces may also be authorised to support police measures for the protection of civilian property; in this event the Armed Forces shall cooperate with the competent authorities.

(4) In order to avert an imminent danger to the existence or free democratic basic order of the Federation or of a Land, the Federal Government, if the conditions referred to in paragraph (2) of Article 91 obtain and the police forces and the Federal Border Police prove inadequate, may employ the Armed Forces to support the police and the Federal Border Police in protecting civilian property and in combating organised armed insurgents. Any such employment of the Armed Forces shall be discontinued if the Bundestag or the Bundesrat so demands.

Article 87b
[Federal Defence Administration]

(1) The Federal Defence Administration shall be conducted as a federal administrative authority with its own administrative substructure. It shall have jurisdiction for personnel matters and direct responsibility for satisfaction of the procurement needs of the Armed Forces. Responsibilities connected with pensions for injured persons or with construction work may be assigned to the Federal Defence Administration only by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. Such consent shall also be required for any laws to the extent that they empower the Federal Defence Administration to interfere with rights of third parties; this requirement, however, shall not apply in the case of laws regarding personnel matters.

(2) In addition, federal laws concerning defence, including recruitment for military service and protection of the civilian population, may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, provide that they shall be executed, wholly or in part, either by federal administrative authorities with their own administrative substructures or by the Länder on federal commission. If such laws are executed by the Länder on federal commission, they may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, provide that the powers vested in the Federal Government or in the competent highest federal authorities pursuant to Article 85 be transferred wholly or in part to federal higher authorities; in this event the law may provide that such authorities shall not require the consent of the Bundesrat in issuing general administrative rules pursuant to the first sentence of paragraph (2) of Article 85.

Article 87c
[Production and utilisation of nuclear energy]

Laws enacted under clause 14 of paragraph (1) of Article 73 may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, provide that they shall be executed by the Länder on federal commission.

Article 87d
[Air transport administration]

(1) Air transport administration shall be conducted under federal administration. Air navigation services may also be provided by foreign air navigation service providers which are authorised in accordance with European Community law.

(2) By a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat, responsibilities for air transport administration may be delegated to the Länder acting on federal commission.

Article 87e
[Rail transport administration]

(1) Rail transport with respect to federal railways shall be administered by federal authorities. Responsibilities for rail transport administration may be delegated by a federal law to the Länder acting in their own right.

(2) The Federation shall discharge rail transport administration responsibilities assigned to it by a federal law, above and beyond those regarding federal railways.

(3) Federal railways shall be operated as enterprises under private law. They shall remain the property of the Federation to the extent that their activities embrace the construction, maintenance and operation of the tracks. The transfer of federal shares in these enterprises under the second sentence of this paragraph shall be effected pursuant to a law; the Federation shall retain a majority of the shares. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

(4) The Federation shall ensure that in developing and maintaining the federal railway system as well as in offering services over this system, other than local passenger services, due account is taken of the interests and especially the transportation needs of the public. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

(5) Laws enacted pursuant to paragraphs (1) to (4) of this Article shall require the consent of the Bundesrat. The consent of the Bundesrat shall also be required for laws regarding the dissolution, merger or division of federal railway enterprises, the transfer of tracks of federal railways to third parties, or the abandonment of such tracks, or affecting local passenger services.

Article 87f
[Posts and telecommunications]

(1) In accordance with a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat, the Federation shall ensure the availability of adequate and appropriate postal and telecommunications services throughout the federal territory.

(2) Services within the meaning of paragraph (1) of this Article shall be provided as a matter of private enterprise by the firms succeeding to the special trust Deutsche Bundespost and by other private providers. Sovereign functions in the area of posts and telecommunications shall be discharged by federal administrative authorities.

(3) Notwithstanding the second sentence of paragraph (2) of this Article, the Federation, by means of a federal institution under public law, shall discharge particular responsibilities relating to the firms succeeding to the special trust Deutsche Bundespost as prescribed by a federal law.

Article 88
[The Federal Bank – The European Central Bank]

The Federation shall establish a note-issuing and currency bank as the Federal Bank. Within the framework of the European Union, its responsibilities and powers may be transferred to the European Central Bank, which is independent and committed to the overriding goal of assuring price stability.

Article 89
[Federal waterways – Administration of waterways]

(1) The Federation shall be the owner of the former Reich waterways.

(2) The Federation shall administer the federal waterways through its own authorities. It shall exercise those state functions relating to inland shipping which extend beyond the territory of a single Land, and those functions relating to maritime shipping, which are conferred on it by a law. Insofar as federal waterways lie within the territory of a single Land, the Federation on its application may delegate their administration to that Land on federal commission. If a waterway touches the territory of several Länder, the Federation may commission that Land which is designated by the affected Länder.

(3) In the administration, development and new construction of waterways, the requirements of land improvement and of water management shall be assured in agreement with the Länder.

Article 90
[Federal highways]

(1) The Federation shall be the owner of the former Reich motorways and highways.

(2) The Länder, or such self-governing corporate bodies as are competent under Land law, shall administer the federal motorways and other federal highways used by long-distance traffic on federal commission.

(3) On application of a Land, the Federation may assume the administration of federal motorways and other federal highways used by long-distance traffic insofar as they lie within the territory of that Land.

Article 91
[Internal emergency]

(1) In order to avert an imminent danger to the existence or free democratic basic order of the Federation or of a Land, a Land may call upon police forces of other Länder, or upon personnel and facilities of other administrative authorities and of the Federal Border Police.

(2) If the Land where such danger is imminent is not itself willing or able to combat the danger, the Federal Government may place the police in that Land and the police forces of other Länder under its own orders and deploy units of the Federal Border Police. Any such order shall be rescinded once the danger is removed, or at any time on the demand of the Bundesrat. If the danger extends beyond the territory of a single Land, the Federal Government, insofar as is necessary to combat such danger, may issue instructions to the Land governments; the first and second sentences of this paragraph shall not be affected by this provision.

VIIIa. Joint Tasks

Article 91a
[Joint tasks – Responsibility for expenditure]

(1) In the following areas the Federation shall participate in the discharge of responsibilities of the Länder, provided that such responsibilities are important to society as a whole and that federal participation is necessary for the improvement of living conditions (joint tasks):

1.  improvement of regional economic structures;

2.  improvement of the agrarian structure and of coastal preservation.

(2) Federal laws enacted with the consent of the Bundesrat shall specify the joint tasks as well as the details of coordination.

(3) In cases to which clause 1 of paragraph (1) of this Article applies, the Federation shall finance one half of the expenditure in each Land. In cases to which clause 2 of paragraph (1) of this Article applies, the Federation shall finance at least one half of the expenditure, and the proportion shall be the same for all Länder. Details shall be regulated by law. The provision of funds shall be subject to appropriation in the budgets of the Federation and the Länder.

(4) – (5) [repealed]

Article 91b
[Education programmes and promotion of research]

(1) The Federation and the Länder may mutually agree to cooperate in cases of supraregional importance in the promotion of:

1.  research facilities and projects apart from institutions of higher education;

2.  scientific projects and research at institutions of higher education;

3.  construction of facilities at institutions of higher education, including large scientific installations.

Agreements under clause 2 of paragraph (1) shall require the consent of all the Länder.

(2) The Federation and the Länder may mutually agree to cooperate for the assessment of the performance of educational systems in international comparison and in drafting relevant reports and recommendations.

(3) The apportionment of costs shall be regulated in the pertinent agreement.

Article 91c
[Information technology systems]

(1) The Federation and the Länder may cooperate in planning, constructing, and operating information technology systems needed to discharge their responsibilities.

(2) The Federation and the Länder may agree to specify the standards and security requirements necessary for exchanges between their information technology systems. Agreements regarding the bases of cooperation under the first sentence may provide, for individual responsibilities determined by their content and scope, that detailed regulations be enacted with the consent of a qualified majority of the Federation and the Länder as laid down in the agreements. They require the consent of the Bundestag and the legislatures of the participating Länder; the right to withdraw from these agreements cannot be precluded. The agreements shall also regulate the sharing of costs.

(3) The Länder may also agree on the joint operation of information technology systems along with the establishment of installations for that purpose.

(4) For linking the information networks of the Federation and the Länder, the Federation shall establish a connecting network. Details regarding the establishment and the operation of the connecting network shall be regulated by a federal law with the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 91d
[Comparison of performance]

With a view to ascertaining and improving the performance of their administrations, the Federation and the Länder may conduct comparative studies and publish the results thereof.

Article 91e
[Cooperation in respect of basic support for persons seeking employment]

(1) In the execution of federal laws in the field of basic support for persons seeking employment the Federation and the Länder or the municipalities and associations of municipalities responsible pursuant to Land law shall generally cooperate in joint institutions.

(2) The Federation may authorise a limited number of municipalities and associations of municipalities, at their request and with the consent of the highest Land authority, to discharge the tasks pursuant to paragraph (1) alone. In this case, the Federation shall bear the necessary expenditures including the administrative expenses for the tasks which are to be discharged by the Federation in the execution of laws pursuant to paragraph (1).

(3) Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

IX. The Judiciary

Article 92
[Court organisation]

The judicial power shall be vested in the judges; it shall be exercised by the Federal Constitutional Court, by the federal courts provided for in this Basic Law, and by the courts of the Länder.

Article 93
[Jurisdiction of the Federal Constitutional Court]

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule:

1.  on the interpretation of this Basic Law in the event of disputes concerning the extent of the rights and duties of a supreme federal body or of other parties vested with rights of their own by this Basic Law or by the rules of procedure of a supreme federal body;

2.  in the event of disagreements or doubts concerning the formal or substantive compatibility of federal law or Land law with this Basic Law, or the compatibility of Land law with other federal law, on application of the Federal Government, of a Land government, or of one fourth of the Members of the Bundestag;

2a.  in the event of disagreements whether a law meets the requirements of paragraph (2) of Article 72, on application of the Bundesrat or of the government or legislature of a Land;

3.  in the event of disagreements concerning the rights and duties of the Federation and the Länder, especially in the execution of federal law by the Länder and in the exercise of federal oversight;

4.  on other disputes involving public law between the Federation and the Länder, between different Länder, or within a Land, unless there is recourse to another court;

4a.  on constitutional complaints, which may be filed by any person alleging that one of his basic rights or one of his rights under paragraph (4) of Article 20 or under Article 33, 38, 101, 103 or 104 has been infringed by public authority;

4b.  on constitutional complaints filed by municipalities or associations of municipalities on the ground that their right to self-government under Article 28 has been infringed by a law; in the case of infringement by a Land law, however, only if the law cannot be challenged in the constitutional court of the Land;

5.  in the other instances provided for in this Basic Law.

(2) At the request of the Bundesrat, a Land government or the parliamentary assembly of a Land, the Federal Constitutional Court shall also rule whether in cases falling under para

graph (4) of Article 72 the need for a regulation by federal law does not exist any longer or whether in the cases referred to in clause 1 of paragraph (2) of Article 125a federal law could not be enacted any longer. The Court’s determination that the need has ceased to exist or that federal law could no longer be enacted substitutes a federal law according to paragraph (4) of Article 72 or clause 2 of paragraph (2) of Article 125a. A request under the first sentence is admissible only if a bill falling under paragraph (4) of Article 72 or the second sentence of paragraph (2) of Article 125a has been rejected by the German Bundestag or if it has not been considered and determined upon within one year, or if a similar bill has been rejected by the Bundesrat.

(3) The Federal Constitutional Court shall also rule on such other matters as shall be assigned to it by a federal law.

Article 94
[Composition of the Federal Constitutional Court]

(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall consist of federal judges and other members. Half the members of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat. They may not be members of the Bundestag, of the Bundesrat, of the Federal Government, or of any of the corresponding bodies of a Land.

(2) The organisation and procedure of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be regulated by a federal law, which shall specify in which instances its decisions shall have the force of law. The law may require that all other legal remedies be exhausted before a constitutional complaint may be filed, and may provide for a separate proceeding to determine whether the complaint will be accepted for decision.

Article 95
[Supreme federal courts]

(1) The Federation shall establish the Federal Court of Justice, the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Finance Court, the Federal Labour Court and the Federal Social Court as supreme courts of ordinary, administrative, financial, labour and social jurisdiction.

(2) The judges of each of these courts shall be chosen jointly by the competent Federal Minister and a committee for the selection of judges consisting of the competent Land ministers and an equal number of members elected by the Bundestag.

(3) A Joint Chamber of the courts specified in paragraph (1) of this Article shall be established to preserve the uniformity of decisions. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 96
[Other federal courts]

(1) The Federation may establish a federal court for matters concerning industrial property rights.

(2) The Federation may establish federal military criminal courts for the Armed Forces. These courts may exercise criminal jurisdiction only during a state of defence or over members of the Armed Forces serving abroad or on board warships. Details shall be regulated by a federal law. These courts shall be under the aegis of the Federal Minister of Justice. Their full-time judges shall be persons qualified to hold judicial office.

(3) The supreme court of review from the courts designated in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Article shall be the Federal Court of Justice.

(4) The Federation may establish federal courts for disciplinary proceedings against, and for proceedings on complaints by, persons in the federal public service.

(5) With the consent of the Bundesrat, a federal law may provide that courts of the Länder shall exercise federal jurisdiction over criminal proceedings in the following matters:

1.  genocide;

2.  crimes against humanity under international criminal law;

3.  war crimes;

4.  other acts tending to and undertaken with the intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations (paragraph (1) of Article 26);

5.  state security.

Article 97
[Judicial independence]

(1) Judges shall be independent and subject only to the law.

(2) Judges appointed permanently to full-time positions may be involuntarily dismissed, permanently or temporarily suspended, transferred or retired before the expiration of their term of office only by virtue of judicial decision and only for the reasons and in the manner specified by the laws. The legislature may set age limits for the retirement of judges appointed for life. In the event of changes in the structure of courts or in their districts, judges may be transferred to another court or removed from office, provided they retain their full salary.

Article 98
[Legal status of judges – Impeachment]

(1) The legal status of federal judges shall be regulated by a special federal law.

(2) If a federal judge infringes the principles of this Basic Law or the constitutional order of a Land in his official capacity or unofficially, the Federal Constitutional Court, upon application of the Bundestag, may by a two-thirds majority order that the judge be transferred or retired. In the case of an intentional infringement it may order him dismissed.

(3) The legal status of the judges in the Länder shall be regulated by special Land laws if clause 27 of paragraph (1) of Article 74 does not otherwise provide.

(4) The Länder may provide that Land judges shall be chosen jointly by the Land Minister of Justice and a committee for the selection of judges.

(5) The Länder may enact provisions regarding Land judges that correspond with those of paragraph (2) of this Article. Existing Land constitutional law shall not be affected. The decision in cases of judicial impeachment shall rest with the Federal Constitutional Court.

Article 99
[Constitutional disputes within a Land]

A Land law may assign the decision of constitutional disputes within a Land to the Federal Constitutional Court, and the final decision in matters involving the application of Land law to the supreme courts specified in paragraph (1) of Article 95.

Article 100
[Concrete judicial review]

(1) If a court concludes that a law on whose validity its decision depends is unconstitutional, the proceedings shall be stayed, and a decision shall be obtained from the Land court with jurisdiction over constitutional disputes where the constitution of a Land is held to be violated, or from the Federal Constitutional Court where this Basic Law is held to be violated. This provision shall also apply where the Basic Law is held to be violated by Land law and where a Land law is held to be incompatible with a federal law.

(2) If, in the course of litigation, doubt exists whether a rule of international law is an integral part of federal law and whether it directly creates rights and duties for the individual (Article 25), the court shall obtain a decision from the Federal Constitutional Court.

(3) If the constitutional court of a Land, in interpreting this Basic Law, proposes to deviate from a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court or of the constitutional court of another Land, it shall obtain a decision from the Federal Constitutional Court.

Article 101
[Ban on extraordinary courts]

(1) Extraordinary courts shall not be allowed. No one may be removed from the jurisdiction of his lawful judge.

(2) Courts for particular fields of law may be established only by a law.

Article 102
[Abolition of capital punishment]

Capital punishment is abolished.

Article 103
[Fair trial]

(1) In the courts every person shall be entitled to a hearing in accordance with law.

(2) An act may be punished only if it was defined by a law as a criminal offence before the act was committed.

(3) No person may be punished for the same act more than once under the general criminal laws.

Article 104
[Deprivation of liberty]

(1) Liberty of the person may be restricted only pursuant to a formal law and only in compliance with the procedures prescribed therein. Persons in custody may not be subjected to mental or physical mistreatment.

(2) Only a judge may rule upon the permissibility or continuation of any deprivation of liberty. If such a deprivation is not based on a judicial order, a judicial decision shall be obtained without delay. The police may hold no one in custody on their own authority beyond the end of the day following the arrest. Details shall be regulated by a law.

(3) Any person provisionally detained on suspicion of having committed a criminal offence shall be brought before a judge no later than the day following his arrest; the judge shall inform him of the reasons for the arrest, examine him, and give him an opportunity to raise objections. The judge shall, without delay, either issue a written arrest warrant setting forth the reasons therefor or order his release.

(4) A relative or a person enjoying the confidence of the person in custody shall be notified without delay of any judicial decision imposing or continuing a deprivation of liberty.

X. Finance

Article 104a
[Apportionment of expenditures – Financial system – Liability]

(1) The Federation and the Länder shall separately finance the expenditures resulting from the discharge of their respective responsibilities insofar as this Basic Law does not otherwise provide.

(2) Where the Länder act on federal commission, the Federation shall finance the resulting expenditures.

(3) Federal laws providing for money grants to be administered by the Länder may provide that the Federation shall pay for such grants wholly or in part. If any such law provides that the Federation shall finance one half or more of the expenditure, it shall be executed by the Länder on federal commission.

(4) Federal laws that oblige the Länder to provide money grants, benefits in kind or comparable services to third persons and which are executed by the Länder in their own right or according to the second sentence of paragraph (3) on commission of the Federation shall require the consent of the Bundesrat if the expenditure resulting therefrom shall be borne by the Länder.

(5) The Federation and the Länder shall finance the administrative expenditures incurred by their respective authorities and shall be responsible to one another for ensuring proper administration. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

(6) In accord with the internal allocation of competencies and responsibilities, the Federation and the Länder shall bear the costs entailed by a violation of obligations incumbent on Germany under supranational or international law. In cases of financial corrections by the European Union with effect transcending one specific Land, the Federation and the Länder shall bear such costs at a ratio of 15 to 85. In such cases, the Länder as a whole shall be responsible in solidarity for 35 per cent of the total burden according to a general formula; 50 per cent of the total burden shall be borne by those Länder which have caused the encumbrance, adjusted to the size of the amount of the financial means received. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 104b
[Financial assistance for investments]

(1) To the extent that this Basic Law confers on it the power to legislate, the Federation may grant the Länder financial assistance for particularly important investments by the Länder and municipalities (associations of municipalities) which are necessary to:

1.  avert a disturbance of the overall economic equilibrium;

2.  equalise differing economic capacities within the federal territory; or

3.  promote economic growth.

In deviating from the first sentence, the Federation may grant financial assistance even outside its field of legislative powers in cases of natural disasters or exceptional emergency situations beyond governmental control and substantially harmful to the state’s financial capacity.

(2) Details, especially with respect to the kinds of investments to be promoted, shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat or by an executive agreement based on the federal budget law. The duration of the grants shall be limited and the grants must be reviewed at regular intervals with respect to the manner in which they are used. The financial assistance must be designed with descending annual contributions.

(3) Upon request, the Bundestag, the Federal Government as well as the Bundesrat shall be informed about the implementation of such measures and the improvements reached.

Article 105
[Distribution of powers regarding tax laws]

(1) The Federation shall have exclusive power to legislate with respect to customs duties and fiscal monopolies.

(2) The Federation shall have concurrent power to legislate with respect to all other taxes the revenue from which accrues to it wholly or in part or as to which the conditions provided for in paragraph (2) of Article 72 apply.

(2a) The Länder shall have power to legislate with regard to local taxes on consumption and expenditures so long and insofar as such taxes are not substantially similar to taxes regulated by federal law. They are empowered to determine the rate of the tax on acquisition of real estate.

(3) Federal laws relating to taxes the revenue from which accrues wholly or in part to the Länder or to municipalities (associations of municipalities) shall require the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 106
[Apportionment of tax revenue and yield of fiscal monopolies]

(1) The yield of fiscal monopolies and the revenue from the following taxes shall accrue to the Federation:

1.  customs duties;

2.  taxes on consumption insofar as they do not accrue to the Länder pursuant to paragraph (2), or jointly to the Federation and the Länder in accordance with paragraph (3), or to municipalities in accordance with paragraph (6) of this Article;

3.  the road freight tax, motor vehicle tax, and other taxes on transactions related to motorised vehicles;

4.  the taxes on capital transactions, insurance and bills of exchange;

5.  non-recurring levies on property and equalisation of burdens levies;

6.  income and corporation surtaxes;

7.  levies imposed within the framework of the European Communities.

(2) Revenue from the following taxes shall accrue to the Länder:

1.  the property tax;

2.  the inheritance tax;

3.  the motor vehicle tax;

4.  such taxes on transactions as do not accrue to the Federation pursuant to paragraph (1) or jointly to the Federation and the Länder pursuant to paragraph (3) of this Article;

5.  the beer tax;

6.  the tax on gambling establishments.

(3) Revenue from income taxes, corporation taxes and turnover taxes shall accrue jointly to the Federation and the Länder (joint taxes) to the extent that the revenue from the income tax and the turnover tax is not allocated to municipalities pursuant to paragraphs (5) and (5a) of this Article. The Federation and the Länder shall share equally the revenues from income taxes and corporation taxes. The respective shares of the Federation and the Länder in the revenue from the turnover tax shall be determined by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. Such determination shall be based on the following principles:

1.  The Federation and the Länder shall have an equal claim against current revenues to cover their necessary expenditures. The extent of such expenditures shall be determined with due regard to multi-year financial planning.

2.  The financial requirements of the Federation and of the Länder shall be coordinated in such a way as to establish a fair balance, avoid excessive burdens on taxpayers, and ensure uniformity of living standards throughout the federal territory.

In determining the respective shares of the Federation and the Länder in the revenue from the turnover tax, reductions in revenue incurred by the Länder from 1 January 1996 because of the provisions made with respect to children in the income tax law shall also be taken into account. Details shall be regulated by the federal law enacted pursuant to the third sentence of this paragraph.

(4) The respective shares of the Federation and the Länder in the revenue from the turnover tax shall be apportioned anew whenever the ratio of revenues to expenditures of the Federation becomes substantially different from that of the Länder; reductions in revenue that are taken into account in determining the respective shares of revenue from the turnover tax under the fifth sentence of paragraph (3) of this Article shall not be considered in this regard. If a federal law imposes additional expenditures on or withdraws revenue from the Länder, the additional burden may be compensated for by federal grants pursuant to a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat, provided the additional burden is limited to a short period of time. This law shall establish the principles for calculating such grants and distributing them among the Länder.

(5) A share of the revenue from the income tax shall accrue to the municipalities, to be passed on by the Länder to their municipalities on the basis of the income taxes paid by their inhabitants. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. This law may provide that municipalities may establish supplementary or reduced rates with respect to their share of the tax.

(5a) From and after 1 January 1998, a share of the revenue from the turnover tax shall accrue to the municipalities. It shall be passed on by the Länder to their municipalities on the basis of a formula reflecting geographical and economic factors. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

(6) Revenue from taxes on real property and trades shall accrue to the municipalities; revenue from local taxes on consumption and expenditures shall accrue to the municipalities or, as may be provided for by Land legislation, to associations of municipalities. Municipalities shall be authorised to establish the rates at which taxes on real property and trades are levied, within the framework of the laws. If there are no municipalities in a Land, revenue from taxes on real property and trades as well as from local taxes on consumption and expenditures shall accrue to the Land. The Federation and the Länder may participate, by virtue of an apportionment, in the revenue from the tax on trades. Details regarding such apportionment shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. In accordance with Land legislation, taxes on real property and trades as well as the municipalities’ share of revenue from the income tax and the turnover tax may be taken as a basis for calculating the amount of apportionment.

(7) An overall percentage of the Land share of total revenue from joint taxes, to be determined by Land legislation, shall accrue to the municipalities or associations of municipalities. In all other respects Land legislation shall determine whether and to what extent revenue from Land taxes shall accrue to municipalities (associations of municipalities).

(8) If in individual Länder or municipalities (associations of municipalities) the Federation requires special facilities to be established that directly result in an increase of expenditure or in reductions in revenue (special burden) to these Länder or municipalities (associations of municipalities), the Federation shall grant the necessary compensation if and insofar as the Länder or municipalities (associations of municipalities) cannot reasonably be expected to bear the burden. In granting such compensation, due account shall be taken of indemnities paid by third parties and financial benefits accruing to these Länder or municipalities (associations of municipalities) as a result of the establishment of such facilities.

(9) For the purpose of this Article, revenues and expenditures of municipalities (associations of municipalities) shall also be deemed to be revenues and expenditures of the Länder.

Article 106a
[Federal grants for local mass transit]

Beginning 1 January 1996 the Länder shall be entitled to an allocation of federal tax revenues for purposes of local mass transit. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. Allocations made pursuant to the first sentence of this Article shall not be taken into account in determining the financial capacity of a Land under paragraph (2) of Article 107.

Article 106b
[Länder share of motor vehicle tax]

As of 1 July 2009, following the transfer of the motor vehicle tax to the Federation, the Länder shall be entitled to a sum from the tax revenue of the Federation. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 107
[Distribution of tax revenue – Financial equalisation among the Länder – Supplementary grants]

(1) Revenue from Land taxes and the Land share of revenue from income and corporation taxes shall accrue to the individual Länder to the extent that such taxes are collected by finance authorities within their respective territories (local revenue). Details regarding the delimitation as well as the manner and scope of allotment of local revenue from corporation and wage taxes shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. This law may also provide for the delimitation and allotment of local revenue from other taxes. The Land share of revenue from the turnover tax shall accrue to the individual Länder on a per capita basis; a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat may provide for the grant of supplementary shares not exceeding one quarter of a Land share to Länder whose per capita income from Land taxes, from income and corporation taxes and from taxes under Article 106b ranks below the average of all the Länder combined; with respect to the tax on the acquisition of real estate, the capacity to generate revenue shall be considered.

(2) Such law shall ensure a reasonable equalisation of the disparate financial capacities of the Länder, with due regard for the financial capacities and needs of municipalities (associations of municipalities). It shall specify the conditions governing the claims of Länder entitled to equalisation payments and the liabilities of Länder required to make them as well as the criteria for determining the amounts of such payments. It may also provide for grants to be made by the Federation to financially weak Länder from its own funds to assist them in meeting their general financial needs (supplementary grants).

Article 108
[Financial administration of the Federation and the Länder – Financial courts]

(1) Customs duties, fiscal monopolies, taxes on consumption regulated by a federal law, including the turnover tax on imports, the motor vehicle tax and other transaction taxes related to motorised vehicles as from 1 July 2009, and charges imposed within the framework of the European Communities shall be administered by federal finance authorities. The organisation of these authorities shall be regulated by a federal law. Inasmuch as intermediate authorities have been established, their heads shall be appointed in consultation with the Land governments.

(2) All other taxes shall be administered by the financial authorities of the Länder. The organisation of these authorities and the uniform training of their civil servants may be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. Inasmuch as intermediate authorities have been established, their heads shall be appointed in agreement with the Federal Government.

(3) To the extent that taxes accruing wholly or in part to the Federation are administered by revenue authorities of the Länder, those authorities shall act on federal commission. Paragraphs (3) and (4) of Article 85 shall apply, provided that the Federal Minister of Finance shall take the place of the Federal Government.

(4) Where and to the extent that execution of the tax laws will be substantially facilitated or improved thereby, a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat may provide for collaboration between federal and Land revenue authorities in matters of tax administration, for the administration of taxes enumerated in paragraph (1) of this Article by revenue authorities of the Länder, or for the administration of other taxes by federal revenue authorities. The functions of Land revenue authorities in the administration of taxes whose revenue accrues exclusively to municipalities (associations of municipalities) may be delegated by the Länder to municipalities (associations of municipalities) wholly or in part.

(5) The procedures to be followed by federal revenue authorities shall be prescribed by a federal law. The procedures to be followed by Land revenue authorities or, as provided by the second sentence of paragraph (4) of this Article, by municipalities (associations of municipalities) may be prescribed by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

(6) Financial jurisdiction shall be uniformly regulated by a federal law.

(7) The Federal Government may issue general administrative rules which, to the extent that administration is entrusted to Land revenue authorities or to municipalities (associations of municipalities), shall require the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 109
[Budget management in the Federation and the Länder]

(1) The Federation and the Länder shall be autonomous and independent of one another in the management of their respective budgets.

(2) The Federation and the Länder shall perform jointly the obligations of the Federal Republic of Germany resulting from legal acts of the European Community for the maintenance of budgetary discipline pursuant to Article 104 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community and shall, within this framework, give due regard to the requirements of overall economic equilibrium.

(3) The budgets of the Federation and the Länder shall in principle be balanced without revenue from credits. The Federation and Länder may introduce rules intended to take into account, symmetrically in times of upswing and downswing, the effects of market developments that deviate from normal conditions, as well as exceptions for natural disasters or unusual emergency situations beyond governmental control and substantially harmful to the state’s financial capacity. For such exceptional regimes, a corresponding amortisation plan must be adopted. Details for the budget of the Federation shall be governed by Article 115 with the proviso that the first sentence shall be deemed to be satisfied if revenue from credits does not exceed 0.35 percent in relation to the nominal gross domestic product. The Länder themselves shall regulate details for the budgets within the framework of their constitutional powers, the proviso being that the first sentence shall only be deemed to be satisfied if no revenue from credits is admitted.

(4) A federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat may establish principles applicable to both the Federation and the Länder governing budgetary law, the responsiveness of budgetary management to economic trends, and long-term financial planning.

(5) Sanctions imposed by the European Community on the basis of the provisions of Article 104 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community in the interest of maintaining budgetary discipline, shall be borne by the Federation and the Länder at a ratio of 65 to 35 percent. In solidarity, the Länder as a whole shall bear 35 percent of the charges incumbent on the Länder according to the number of their inhabitants; 65 percent of the charges incumbent on the Länder shall be borne by the Länder according to their degree of causation. Details shall be regulated by a federal law which shall require the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 109a
[Budgetary emergencies]

To avoid a budgetary emergency, a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat shall provide for:

1.  the continuing supervision of budgetary management of the Federation and the Länder by a joint body (Stability Council),

2.  the conditions and procedures for ascertaining the threat of a budgetary emergency,

3.  the principles for the establishment and administration of programs for taking care of budgetary emergencies.

The decisions of the Stability Council and the accompanying documents shall be published.

Article 110
[Federal budget]

(1) All revenues and expenditures of the Federation shall be included in the budget; in the case of federal enterprises and special trusts, only payments to or remittances from them need be included. The budget shall be balanced with respect to revenues and expenditures.

(2) The budget for one or more fiscal years shall be set forth in a law enacted before the beginning of the first year and making separate provision for each year. The law may provide that various parts of the budget apply to different periods of time, divided by fiscal years.

(3) Bills to comply with the first sentence of paragraph (2) of this Article as well as bills to amend the Budget Law or the budget itself shall be submitted simultaneously to the Bundesrat and to the Bundestag; the Bundesrat shall be entitled to comment on such bills within six weeks or, in the case of amending bills, within three weeks.

(4) The Budget Law may contain only such provisions as relate to federal revenues and expenditures and to the period for which it is enacted. The Budget Law may specify that its provisions shall expire only upon promulgation of the next Budget Law or, in the event of an authorisation pursuant to Article 115, at a later date.

Article 111
[Interim budget management]

(1) If, by the end of a fiscal year, the budget for the following year has not been adopted by a law, the Federal Government, until such law comes into force, may make all expenditures that are necessary:

a)  to maintain institutions established by a law and to carry out measures authorised by a law;

b)  to meet the legal obligations of the Federation;

c)  to continue construction projects, procurements, and the provision of other benefits or services, or to continue to make grants for these purposes, to the extent that amounts have already been appropriated in the budget of a previous year.

(2) To the extent that revenues based upon specific laws and derived from taxes, or duties, or other sources, or the working capital reserves, do not cover the expenditures referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article, the Federal Government may borrow the funds necessary to sustain current operations up to a maximum of one quarter of the total amount of the previous budget.

Article 112
[Extrabudgetary expenditures]

Expenditures in excess of budgetary appropriations or for purposes not contemplated by the budget shall require the consent of the Federal Minister of Finance. Such consent may be given only in the event of an unforeseen and unavoidable necessity. Details may be regulated by a federal law.

Article 113
[Increase of expenditures]

(1) Laws that increase the budget expenditures proposed by the Federal Government, or entail or will bring about new expenditures, shall require the consent of the Federal Government. This requirement shall also apply to laws that entail or will bring about decreases in revenue. The Federal Government may demand that the Bundestag postpone its vote on bills to this effect. In this event the Federal Government shall submit its comments to the Bundestag within six weeks.

(2) Within four weeks after the Bundestag has adopted such a law, the Federal Government may demand that it vote on the law a second time.

(3) If the bill has become law pursuant to Article 78, the Federal Government may withhold its consent only within six weeks and only after having initiated the procedure provided for in the third and fourth sentences of paragraph (1) or in paragraph (2) of this Article. Upon the expiration of this period such consent shall be deemed to have been given.

Article 114
[Submission and auditing of accounts]

(1) For the purpose of discharging the Federal Government, the Federal Minister of Finance shall submit annually to the Bundestag and to the Bundesrat an account of all revenues and expenditures as well as of assets and debts during the preceding fiscal year.

(2) The Federal Court of Audit, whose members shall enjoy judicial independence, shall audit the account and determine whether public finances have been properly and efficiently administered. It shall submit an annual report directly to the Bundestag and the Bundesrat as well as to the Federal Government. In other respects the powers of the Federal Court of Audit shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 115
[Limits of borrowing]

(1) The borrowing of funds and the assumption of surety obligations, guarantees, or other commitments that may lead to expenditures in future fiscal years shall require authorisation by a federal law specifying or permitting computation of the amounts involved.

(2) Revenues and expenditures shall in principle be balanced without revenue from credits. This principle shall be satisfied when revenue obtained by the borrowing of funds does not exceed 0.35 percent in relation to the nominal gross domestic product. In addition, when economic developments deviate from normal conditions, effects on the budget in periods of upswing and downswing must be taken into account symmetrically. Deviations of actual borrowing from the credit limits specified under the first to third sentences are to be recorded on a control account; debits exceeding the threshold of 1.5 percent in relation to the nominal gross domestic product are to be reduced in accordance with the economic cycle. The regulation of details, especially the adjustment of revenue and expenditures with regard to financial transactions and the procedure for the calculation of the yearly limit on net borrowing, taking into account the economic cycle on the basis of a procedure for adjusting the cycle together with the control and balancing of deviations of actual borrowing from the credit limit, requires a federal law. In cases of natural catastrophes or unusual emergency situations beyond governmental control and substantially harmful to the state’s financial capacity, these credit limits may be exceeded on the basis of a decision by a majority of the Bundestag’s Members. The decision has to be combined with an amortisation plan. Repayment of the credits borrowed under the sixth sentence must be accomplished within an appropriate period of time.

Xa. State of Defence

Article 115a
[Declaration of state of defence]

(1) Any determination that the federal territory is under attack by armed force or imminently threatened with such an attack (state of defence) shall be made by the Bundestag with the consent of the Bundesrat. Such determination shall be made on application of the Federal Government and shall require a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, which shall include at least a majority of the Members of the Bundestag.

(2) If the situation imperatively calls for immediate action, and if insurmountable obstacles prevent the timely convening of the Bundestag or the Bundestag cannot muster a quorum, the Joint Committee shall make this determination by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, which shall include at least a majority of its members.

(3) The determination shall be promulgated by the Federal President in the Federal Law Gazette pursuant to Article 82. If this cannot be done in time, promulgation shall be effected in another manner; the determination shall be printed in the Federal Law Gazette as soon as circumstances permit.

(4) If the federal territory is under attack by armed force, and if the competent federal authorities are not in a position at once to make the determination provided for in the first sentence of paragraph (1) of this Article, the determination shall be deemed to have been made and promulgated at the time the attack began. The Federal President shall announce that time as soon as circumstances permit.

(5) If the determination of a state of defence has been promulgated, and if the federal territory is under attack by armed force, the Federal President, with the consent of the Bundestag, may issue declarations under international law regarding the existence of the state of defence. Under the conditions specified in paragraph (2) of this Article, the Joint Committee shall act in place of the Bundestag.

Article 115b
[Power of command of the Federal Chancellor]

Upon the promulgation of a state of defence the power of command over the Armed Forces shall pass to the Federal Chancellor.

Article 115c
[Extension of the legislative powers of the Federation]

(1) The Federation shall have the right to legislate concurrently for a state of defence even with respect to matters within the legislative powers of the Länder. Such laws shall require the consent of the Bundesrat.

(2) To the extent required by circumstances during a state of defence, a federal law for a state of defence may:

1.  make temporary provisions concerning compensation in the event of expropriation that deviate from the requirements of the second sentence of paragraph (3) of Article 14;

2.  establish a time limit for deprivations of freedom different from that specified in the third sentence of paragraph (2) and the first sentence of paragraph (3) of Article 104, but not exceeding four days, for cases in which no judge has been able to act within the time limit that normally applies.

(3) To the extent necessary to repel an existing or imminently threatened attack, a federal law for a state of defence may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, regulate the administration and finances of the Federation and the Länder without regard to Titles VIII, VIIIa and X of this Basic Law, provided that the viability of the Länder, municipalities, and associations of municipalities, especially with respect to financial matters, is assured.

(4) Federal laws enacted pursuant to paragraph (1) or clause 1 of paragraph (2) of this Article may, for the purpose of preparing for their enforcement, be applied even before a state of defence arises.

Article 115d
[Urgent bills]

(1) During a state of defence the federal legislative process shall be governed by the provisions of paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Article without regard to the provisions of paragraph (2) of Article 76, the second sentence of paragraph (1) and paragraphs (2) to (4) of Article 77, Article 78, and paragraph (1) of Article 82.

(2) Federal Government bills that the Government designates as urgent shall be forwarded to the Bundesrat at the same time as they are submitted to the Bundestag. The Bundestag and the Bundesrat shall debate such bills in joint session without delay. Insofar as the consent of the Bundesrat is necessary for any such bill to become law, a majority of its votes shall be required. Details shall be regulated by rules of procedure adopted by the Bundestag and requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

(3) The second sentence of paragraph (3) of Article 115a shall apply to the promulgation of such laws mutatis mutandis.

Article 115e
[Joint Committee]

(1) If, during a state of defence, the Joint Committee by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, which shall include at least a majority of its members, determines that insurmountable obstacles prevent the timely convening of the Bundestag or that the Bundestag cannot muster a quorum, the Joint Committee shall occupy the position of both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat and shall exercise their powers as a single body.

(2) This Basic Law may neither be amended nor abrogated nor suspended in whole or in part by a law enacted by the Joint Committee. The Joint Committee shall have no power to enact laws pursuant to the second sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 23, paragraph (1) of Article 24, or Article 29.

Article 115f
[Use of Federal Border Police – Extended powers of instruction]

(1) During a state of defence the Federal Government, to the extent circumstances require, may:

1.  employ the Federal Border Police throughout the federal territory;

2.  issue instructions not only to federal administrative authorities but also to Land governments and, if it deems the matter urgent, to Land authorities, and may delegate this power to members of Land governments designated by it.

(2) The Bundestag, the Bundesrat and the Joint Committee shall be informed without delay of the measures taken in accordance with paragraph (1) of this Article.

Article 115g
[Federal Constitutional Court]

Neither the constitutional status nor the performance of the constitutional functions of the Federal Constitutional Court or its judges may be impaired. The law governing the Federal Constitutional Court may be amended by a law enacted by the Joint Committee only insofar as the Federal Constitutional Court agrees is necessary to ensure that it can continue to perform its functions. Pending the enactment of such a law, the Federal Constitutional Court may take such measures as are necessary to this end. Determinations by the Federal Constitutional Court pursuant to the second and third sentences of this Article shall be made by a majority of the judges present.

Article 115h
[Expiry of electoral terms and terms of office]

(1) Any electoral terms of the Bundestag or of Land parliaments due to expire during a state of defence shall end six months after the termination of the state of defence. A term of office of the Federal President due to expire during a state of defence, and the exercise of his functions by the President of the Bundesrat in case of the premature vacancy of his office, shall end nine months after the termination of the state of defence. The term of office of a member of the Federal Constitutional Court due to expire during a state of defence shall end six months after the termination of the state of defence.

(2) Should it be necessary for the Joint Committee to elect a new Federal Chancellor, it shall do so by the votes of a majority of its members; the Federal President shall propose a candidate to the Joint Committee. The Joint Committee may express its lack of confidence in the Federal Chancellor only by electing a successor by a two-thirds majority of its members.

(3) The Bundestag shall not be dissolved while a state of defence exists.

Article 115i
[Powers of the Land governments]

(1) If the competent federal bodies are incapable of taking the measures necessary to avert the danger, and if the situation imperatively calls for immediate independent action in particular areas of the federal territory, the Land governments or the authorities or representatives they designate shall be authorised, within their respective spheres of competence, to take the measures provided for in paragraph (1) of Article 115f.

(2) Any measures taken in accordance with paragraph (1) of this Article may be rescinded at any time by the Federal Government, or, with respect to Land authorities and subordinate federal authorities, by Minister-Presidents of the Länder.

Article 115k
[Rank and duration of emergency provisions]

(1) Laws enacted in accordance with Articles 115c, 115e and 115g, as well as statutory instruments issued on the basis of such laws, shall suspend the operation of incompatible law so long as they are in effect. This provision shall not apply to earlier law enacted pursuant to Articles 115c, 115e or 115g.

(2) Laws adopted by the Joint Committee, as well as statutory instruments issued on the basis of such laws, shall cease to have effect no later than six months after the termination of a state of defence.

(3) Laws containing provisions that diverge from Articles 91a, 91b, 104a, 106 and 107 shall apply no longer than the end of the second fiscal year following the termination of a state of defence. After such termination they may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, be amended by a federal law so as to revert to the provisions of Titles VIIIa and X.

Article 115l
[Repeal of emergency measures – Conclusion of peace]

(1) The Bundestag, with the consent of the Bundesrat, may at any time repeal laws enacted by the Joint Committee. The Bundesrat may demand that the Bundestag reach a decision on this question. Any measures taken by the Joint Committee or by the Federal Government to avert a danger shall be rescinded if the Bundestag and the Bundesrat so decide.

(2) The Bundestag, with the consent of the Bundesrat, may at any time, by a decision to be promulgated by the Federal President, declare a state of defence terminated. The Bundesrat may demand that the Bundestag reach a decision on this question. A state of defence shall be declared terminated without delay if the conditions for determining it no longer exist.

(3) The conclusion of peace shall be determined by a federal law.

XI. Transitional and Concluding Provisions

Article 116
[Definition of “German” – Restoration of citizenship]

(1) Unless otherwise provided by a law, a German within the meaning of this Basic Law is a person who possesses German citizenship or who has been admitted to the territory of the German Reich within the boundaries of 31 December 1937 as a refugee or expellee of German ethnic origin or as the spouse or descendant of such person.

(2) Former German citizens who between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds, and their descendants, shall on application have their citizenship restored. They shall be deemed never to have been deprived of their citizenship if they have established their domicile in Germany after 8 May 1945 and have not expressed a contrary intention.

Article 117
[Suspended entry into force of two basic rights]

(1) Law which is inconsistent with paragraph (2) of Article 3 of this Basic Law shall remain in force until adapted to that provision, but not beyond 31 March 1953.

(2) Laws that restrict freedom of movement in view of the present housing shortage shall remain in force until repealed by a federal law.

Article 118
[New delimitation of Baden and Württemberg]

The division of the territory comprising Baden, Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern into Länder may be revised, without regard to the provisions of Article 29, by agreement between the Länder concerned. If no agreement is reached, the revision shall be effected by a federal law, which shall provide for an advisory referendum.

Article 118a
[New delimitation of Berlin and Brandenburg]

The division of the territory comprising Berlin and Brandenburg into Länder may be revised, without regard to the provisions of Article 29, by agreement between the two Länder with the participation of their inhabitants who are entitled to vote.

Article 119
[Refugees and expellees]

In matters relating to refugees and expellees, especially as regards their distribution among the Länder, the Federal Government, with the consent of the Bundesrat, may issue statutory instruments having the force of law, pending settlement of the matter by a federal law. In this connection the Federal Government may be authorised to issue individual instructions in particular cases. Unless time is of the essence, such instructions shall be addressed to the highest Land authorities.

Article 120
[Occupation costs – Burdens resulting from the war]

(1) The Federation shall finance the expenditures for occupation costs and other internal and external burdens resulting from the war, as regulated in detail by federal laws. To the extent that these war burdens were regulated by federal laws on or before 1 October 1969, the Federation and the Länder shall finance such expenditures in the proportion established by such federal laws. Insofar as expenditures for such of these war burdens as neither have been nor will be regulated by federal laws were met on or before 1 October 1965 by Länder, municipalities (associations of municipalities), or other entities performing functions of the Länder or municipalities, the Federation shall not be obliged to finance them even after that date. The Federation shall be responsible for subsidies toward meeting the costs of social security, including unemployment insurance and public assistance to the unemployed. The distribution of war burdens between the Federation and the Länder prescribed by this paragraph shall not be construed to affect any law regarding claims for compensation for consequences of the war.

(2) Revenue shall pass to the Federation at the time it assumes responsibility for the expenditures referred to in this Article.

Article 120a
[Equalisation of burdens]

(1) Laws implementing the equalisation of burdens may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, provide that with respect to equalisation payments they shall be executed partly by the Federation and partly by the Länder acting on federal commission, and that the relevant powers vested in the Federal Government and the competent highest federal authorities by virtue of Article 85 shall be wholly or partly delegated to the Federal Equalisation of Burdens Office. In exercising these powers, the Federal Equalisation of Burdens Office shall not require the consent of the Bundesrat; except in urgent cases, its instructions shall be given to the highest Land authorities (Land Equalisation of Burdens Offices).

(2) The second sentence of paragraph (3) of Article 87 shall not be affected by this provision.

Article 121
[Definition of “majority of the members”]

Within the meaning of this Basic Law, a majority of the Members of the Bundestag and a majority of the members of the Federal Convention shall be a majority of the number of their members specified by a law.

Article 122
[Date of transmission of legislative powers]

(1) From the date on which the Bundestag first convenes, laws shall be enacted only by the legislative bodies recognised by this Basic Law.

(2) Legislative bodies and institutions participating in the legislative process in an advisory capacity whose competence expires by virtue of paragraph (1) of this Article shall be dissolved as of that date.

Article 123
[Continued applicability of pre-existing law]

(1) Law in force before the Bundestag first convenes shall remain in force insofar as it does not conflict with this Basic Law.

(2) Subject to all rights and objections of interested parties, treaties concluded by the German Reich concerning matters within the legislative competence of the Länder under this Basic Law shall remain in force, provided they are and continue to be valid under general principles of law, until new treaties are concluded by the authorities competent under this Basic Law, or until they are in some other way terminated pursuant to their provisions.

Article 124
[Continued applicability of law within the scope of exclusive legislative power]

Law regarding matters subject to the exclusive legislative power of the Federation shall become federal law in the area in which it applies.

Article 125
[Continued applicability of law within the scope of concurrent legislative power]

Law regarding matters subject to the concurrent legislative power of the Federation shall become federal law in the area in which it applies:

1.  insofar as it applies uniformly within one or more occupation zones;

2.  insofar as it is law by which former Reich law has been amended since 8 May 1945.

Article 125a
[Continued applicability of federal law – Replacement by Land law]

(1) Law that was enacted as federal law but that by virtue of the amendment of paragraph (1) of Article 74, the insertion of the seventh sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 84, the second sentence of paragraph (1) of Article 85 or of the second sentence of paragraph (2a) of Article 105, or because of the repeal of Articles 74a, 75 or the second sentence of paragraph (3) of Article 98 could no longer be enacted as federal law, shall remain in force as federal law. It may be superseded by Land law.

(2) Law that was enacted pursuant to paragraph (2) of Article 72 as it stood up to 15 November 1994 but which, because of the amendment of paragraph (2) of Article 72, could no longer be enacted as federal law shall remain in force as federal law. A federal law may provide that it may be superseded by Land law.

(3) Law that has been enacted as Land law but which, because of the amendment of Article 73, could not be enacted any longer as Land law shall continue in force as Land law. It may be superseded by federal law.

Article 125b
[Continued applicability of framework laws – Deviation power of the Länder]

(1) Law that was enacted pursuant to Article 75 as it stood up to 1 September 2006, and which could be enacted as federal law even after this date, shall remain in force as federal law. The powers and duties of the Länder to legislate shall in this regard remain unaffected. In the areas referred to in the first sentence of paragraph (3) of Article 72 the Länder may enact regulations that deviate from this law; however, in those areas covered by clauses 2, 5 and 6 of the first sentence of Article 72 the Länder may do so only if and insofar as the Federation has made use of its power to legislate after 1 September 2006, in those areas covered by clauses 2 and 5 beginning at the latest on 1 January 2010, in cases under clause 6 beginning at the latest on 1 August 2008.

(2) The Länder may enact regulations deviating from federal regulations enacted pursuant to paragraph (1) of Article 84 as it stood up to 1 September 2006; up to 31 December 2008, however, they may deviate from regulations on administrative procedure only if, after 1 September 2006, regulations on administrative procedure in the relevant federal law have been amended.

Article 125c
[Continued applicability of law within the scope of joint tasks]

(1) Law that was enacted by virtue of paragraph (2) of Article 91a in conjunction with clause 1 of paragraph (1) as it stood up to 1 September 2006 shall continue in force until 31 December 2006.

(2) The regulations enacted in the areas of municipal traffic financing and promotion of social housing by virtue of paragraph (4) of Article 104a as it stood up to 1 September 2006 shall remain in force until 31 December 2006. The regulations enacted on municipal traffic financing for special programmes pursuant to paragraph (1) of Article 6 of the Municipal Traffic Financing Act, as well as the other regulations enacted pursuant to paragraph (4) of Article 104a as it stood up to 1 September 2006, shall continue in force until 31 December 2019, provided no earlier repeal has been or is determined.

Article 126
[Determination about continued applicability of law as federal law]

Disagreements concerning the continued applicability of law as federal law shall be resolved by the Federal Constitutional Court.

Article 127
[Extension of law to the French zone and to Berlin]

Within one year after promulgation of this Basic Law the Federal Government, with the consent of the governments of the Länder concerned, may extend to the Länder of Baden, Greater Berlin, Rhineland-Palatinate and Württemberg-Hohenzollern any law of the Administration of the Combined Economic Area, insofar as it remains in force as federal law under Article 124 or 125.

Article 128
[Continued authority to issue instructions]

Insofar as law that remains in force grants authority to issue instructions within the meaning of paragraph (5) of Article 84, this authority shall remain in existence until a law otherwise provides.

Article 129
[Continued authority to issue legal acts]

(1) Insofar as legal provisions that remain in force as federal law grant authority to issue statutory instruments or general administrative rules or to make administrative decisions in individual cases, such powers shall pass to the authorities that henceforth have competence over the subject matter. In cases of doubt the Federal Government shall decide in agreement with the Bundesrat; such decisions shall be published.

(2) Insofar as legal provisions that remain in force as Land law grant such authority, it shall be exercised by the authorities competent under Land law.

(3) Insofar as legal provisions within the meaning of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Article grant authority to amend or supplement the provisions themselves or to issue legal provisions that have the force of laws, such authority shall be deemed to have expired.

(4) The provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Article shall apply mutatis mutandis to legal provisions that refer to provisions no longer in force or to institutions no longer in existence.

Article 130
[Transfer of existing administrative institutions]

(1) Administrative agencies and other institutions that serve the public administration or the administration of justice and are not based on Land law or on agreements between Länder, as well as the Administrative Union of South West German Railways and the Administrative Council for Postal and Telecommunications Services for the French Occupation Zone, shall be placed under the control of the Federal Government. The Federal Government, with the consent of the Bundesrat, shall provide for their transfer, dissolution, or liquidation.

(2) The supreme disciplinary authority for the personnel of these administrative bodies and institutions shall be the competent Federal Minister.

(3) Corporations and institutions under public law not directly subordinate to a Land nor based on agreements between Länder shall be under the supervision of the competent highest federal authority.

Article 131
[Persons formerly in the public service]

The legal relations of persons, including refugees and expellees, who on 8 May 1945 were employed in the public service, have left the service for reasons other than those recognised by civil service regulations or collective bargaining agreements, and have not yet been reinstated or are employed in positions that do not correspond to those they previously held, shall be regulated by a federal law. The same shall apply mutatis mutandis to persons, including refugees and expellees, who on 8 May 1945 were entitled to pensions and related benefits and who for reasons other than those recognised by civil service regulations or collective bargaining agreements no longer receive any such pension or related benefits. Until the pertinent federal law takes effect, no legal claims may be made, unless Land law otherwise provides.

Article 132
[Retirement of civil servants]

(1) Civil servants and judges who enjoy life tenure when this Basic Law takes effect may, within six months after the Bundestag first convenes, be retired, suspended, or transferred to lower-salaried positions if they lack the personal or professional aptitude for their present positions. This provision shall apply mutatis mutandis to salaried public employees, other than civil servants or judges, whose employment cannot be terminated at will. In the case of salaried employees whose employment may be terminated at will, notice periods longer than those set by collective bargaining agreements may be rescinded within the same period.

(2) The preceding provision shall not apply to members of the public service who are unaffected by the provisions regarding “Liberation from National Socialism and Militarism” or who are recognised victims of National Socialism, absent important personal grounds.

(3) Persons affected may have recourse to the courts in accordance with paragraph (4) of Article 19.

(4) Details shall be specified by a statutory instrument issued by the Federal Government with the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 133
[Succession to the Administration of the Combined Economic Area]

The Federation shall succeed to the rights and duties of the Administration of the Combined Economic Area.

Article 134
[Succession to Reich assets]

(1) Reich assets shall, in principle, become federal assets.

(2) Insofar as such assets were originally intended to be used principally for administrative tasks not entrusted to the Federation under this Basic Law, they shall be transferred without compensation to the authorities now entrusted with such tasks and to the extent that such assets are now being used, not merely temporarily, for administrative tasks that under this Basic Law are now performed by the Länder, they shall be transferred to the Länder. The Federation may also transfer other assets to the Länder.

(3) Assets that were placed at the disposal of the Reich without compensation by Länder or municipalities (associations of municipalities) shall revert to those Länder or municipalities (associations of municipalities) insofar as the Federation does not require them for its own administrative purposes.

(4) Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 135
[Assets in case of territorial changes between the Länder]

(1) If after 8 May 1945 and before the effective date of this Basic Law an area has passed from one Land to another, the Land to which the area now belongs shall be entitled to the assets of the Land to which it previously belonged that are located in that area.

(2) The assets of Länder or other public-law corporations or institutions that no longer exist, insofar as they were originally intended to be used principally for administrative tasks or are now being so used, not merely temporarily, shall pass to the Land, corporation or institution that now performs those tasks.

(3) Real property of Länder that no longer exist, including appurtenances, shall pass to the Land within which it is located, insofar as it is not among the assets already referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article.

(4) Insofar as an overriding interest of the Federation or the particular interest of a region requires, a federal law may depart from the rules prescribed by paragraphs (1) to (3) of this Article.

(5) In all other respects, the succession to and disposition of assets, insofar as it has not been effected before 1 January 1952 by agreement between the affected Länder or corporations or institutions established under public law, shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

(6) Holdings of the former Land of Prussia in enterprises established under private law shall pass to the Federation. Details shall be regulated by a federal law, which may also depart from this provision.

(7) Insofar as assets that on the effective date of this Basic Law would devolve upon a Land or a corporation or institution established under public law pursuant to paragraphs (1) to (3) of this Article have been disposed of by or pursuant to a Land law or in any other manner by the party thus entitled, the transfer of assets shall be deemed to have taken place before such disposition.

Article 135a
[Old debts]

(1) Federal legislation enacted pursuant to paragraph (4) of Article 134 or paragraph (5) of Article 135 may also provide that the following debts shall not be discharged, or that they shall be discharged only in part:

1.  debts of the Reich, of the former Land of Prussia, or of such other corporations and institutions under public law as no longer exist;

2.  such debts of the Federation or of corporations and institutions under public law as are connected with the transfer of assets pursuant to Article 89, 90, 134 or 135, and such debts of these bodies as arise from measures taken by the bodies designated in clause 1;

3.  such debts of the Länder or municipalities (associations of municipalities) as have arisen from measures taken by them before 1 August 1945 within the framework of administrative functions incumbent upon or delegated by the Reich to comply with orders of the occupying powers or to terminate a state of emergency resulting from the war.

(2) Paragraph (1) of this Article shall apply mutatis mutandis to debts of the German Democratic Republic or its institutions as well as to debts of the Federation or other corporations and institutions under public law that are connected with the transfer of assets of the German Democratic Republic to the Federation, Länder or municipalities, and to debts arising from measures taken by the German Democratic Republic or its institutions.

Article 136
[First convening of the Bundesrat]

(1) The Bundesrat shall convene for the first time on the day the Bundestag first convenes.

(2) Until the election of the first Federal President, his powers shall be exercised by the President of the Bundesrat. He shall not have authority to dissolve the Bundestag.

Article 137
[Right of state employees to stand for election]

(1) The right of civil servants, other salaried public employees, professional or volunteer members of the Armed Forces, and judges to stand for election in the Federation, in the Länder or in the municipalities may be restricted by a law.

(2) The election of the first Bundestag, of the first Federal Convention and of the first Federal President shall be governed by an electoral law to be enacted by the Parliamentary Council.

(3) Until the Federal Constitutional Court is established, its authority under paragraph (2) of Article 41 shall be exercised by the German High Court for the Combined Economic Area, which shall make determinations in accordance with its procedural rules.

Article 138
[South German notaries]

Changes in the rules governing the notarial profession as it now exists in the Länder of Baden, Bavaria, Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern shall require the consent of the governments of these Länder.

Article 139
[Continued applicability of denazification provisions]

The legal provisions enacted for the “Liberation of the German People from National Socialism and Militarism” shall not be affected by the provisions of this Basic Law.

Article 140
[Law of religious denominations]

The provisions of Articles 136, 137, 138, 139 and 141 of the German Constitution of 11 August 1919 shall be an integral part of this Basic Law.

Article 141
[“Bremen Clause”]

The first sentence of paragraph (3) of Article 7 shall not apply in any Land in which Land law otherwise provided on 1 January 1949.

Article 142
[Reservation in favour of basic rights in Land constitutions]

Notwithstanding Article 31, provisions of Land constitutions shall also remain in force insofar as they guarantee basic rights in conformity with Articles 1 to 18 of this Basic Law.

Article 142a
[repealed]

Article 143
[Duration of deviations from the Basic Law]

(1) The law in the territory specified in Article 3 of the Unification Treaty may deviate from provisions of this Basic Law for a period extending no later than 31 December 1992 insofar and so long as disparate circumstances make full compliance impossible. Deviations may not violate paragraph (2) of Article 19 and must be compatible with the principles specified in paragraph (3) of Article 79.

(2) Deviations from Titles II, VIII, VIIIa, IX, X and XI shall be permissible for a period extending no later than 31 December 1995.

(3) Independently of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Article, Article 41 of the Unification Treaty and the rules for its implementation shall also remain in effect insofar as they provide for the irreversibility of acts interfering with property rights in the territory specified in Article 3 of this Treaty.

Article 143a
[Exclusive legislative power concerning federal railways]

(1) The Federation shall have exclusive power to legislate with respect to all matters arising from the transformation of federal railways administered by the Federation into business enterprises. Paragraph (5) of Article 87e shall apply mutatis mutandis. Civil servants employed by federal railways may be assigned by a law to render services to federal railways established under private law without prejudice to their legal status or the responsibility of their employer.

(2) Laws enacted pursuant to paragraph (1) of this Article shall be executed by the Federation.

(3) The Federation shall continue to be responsible for local passenger services of the former federal railways until 31 December 1995. The same shall apply to the corresponding functions of rail transport administration. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 143b
[Privatisation of the Deutsche Bundespost]

(1) The special trust Deutsche Bundespost shall be transformed into enterprises under private law in accordance with a federal law. The Federation shall have exclusive power to legislate with respect to all matters arising from this transformation.

(2) The exclusive rights of the Federation existing before the transformation may be transferred by a federal law for a transitional period to the enterprises that succeed to the Deutsche Bundespost Postdienst and to the Deutsche Bundespost Telekom. The Federation may not surrender its majority interest in the enterprise that succeeds to the Deutsche Bundespost Postdienst until at least five years after the law takes effect. To do so shall require a federal law with the consent of the Bundesrat.

(3) Federal civil servants employed by the Deutsche Bundespost shall be given positions in the private enterprises that succeed to it, without prejudice to their legal status or the responsibility of their employer. The enterprises shall exercise the employer’s authority. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.

Article 143c
[Compensation for the cessation of joint tasks]

(1) From 1 January 2007 until 31 December 2019, the Länder shall be entitled to receive annual payments from the federal budget as compensation for losing the Federation’s financial contributions resulting from the abolition of the joint tasks of extension and construction of institutions of higher education, including university hospitals and educational planning, as well as for losing financial assistance for the improvement of municipal traffic infrastructure and for the promotion of social housing. Until 31 December 2013, these amounts are to be determined by averaging the financial share of the Federation for the years 2000 to 2008.

(2) Until 31 December 2013, the payments pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be distributed among the Länder in the form of:

1.  fixed annual payments the amounts of which shall be determined according to the average share of each Land during the period 2000 to 2003;

2.  payments earmarked for the functional area of the former joint financing.

(3) Until the end of 2013, the Federation and the Länder shall review the extent to which the financing allotted to individual Länder pursuant to paragraph (1) is still appropriate and necessary for the discharge of their tasks. Beginning with 1 January 2014, the earmarking pursuant to clause 2 of paragraph (2) of the financial means allotted under paragraph (1) shall cease; the earmarking for the volume of the means for investment purposes shall remain unchanged. Agreements resulting from Solidarity Pact II shall remain unaffected.

(4) Details shall be regulated by a federal law which shall require the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 143d
[Transitional provisions relating to consolidation assistance]

(1) Articles 109 and 115 in the version in force until 31 July 2009 shall apply for the last time to the 2010 budget. Articles 109 and 115 in the version in force as from 1 August 2009 shall apply for the first time to the 2011 budget; debit authorisations existing on 31 December 2010 for special trusts already established shall remain untouched. In the period from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2019, the Länder may, in accordance with their applicable legal regulations, deviate from the provisions of paragraph (3) of Article 109. The budgets of the Länder are to be planned in such a way that the 2020 budget fulfils the requirements of the fifth sentence of paragraph (3) of Article 109. In the period from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2015, the Federation may deviate from the provisions of the second sentence of paragraph (2) of Article 115. The reduction of the existing deficits should begin with the 2011 budget. The annual budgets are to be planned in such a way that the 2016 budget satisfies the requirement of the second sentence of paragraph (2) of Article 115; details shall be regulated by federal law.

(2) As assistance for compliance with the provisions of paragraph (3) of Article 109 after 1 January 2020, the Länder of Berlin, Bremen, Saarland, Saxony-Anhalt, and Schleswig-Holstein may receive, for the period 2011 to 2019, consolidation assistance from the federal budget in the global amount of 800 million euros annually. The respective amounts are 300 million euros for Bremen, 260 million euros for Saarland, and 80 million euros each for Berlin, Saxony-Anhalt, and Schleswig-Holstein. The assistance payments shall be allocated on the basis of an administrative agreement under the terms of a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. These grants require a complete reduction of financial deficits by the end of 2020. The details, especially the annual steps to be taken to reduce financial deficits, the supervision of the reduction of financial deficits by the Stability Council, along with the consequences entailed in case of failure to carry out the step-by-step reduction, shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat and by an administrative agreement. There shall be no simultaneous granting of consolidation assistance and redevelopment assistance on the grounds of an extreme budgetary emergency.

(3) The financial burden resulting from the granting of the consolidation assistance shall be borne equally by the Federation and the Länder, to be financed from their share of the value-added tax. Details shall be regulated by a federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat.

Article 144
[Ratification of the Basic Law – Berlin]

(1) This Basic Law shall require ratification by the parliaments of two thirds of the German Länder in which it is initially to apply.

(2) Insofar as the application of this Basic Law is subject to restrictions in any Land listed in Article 23 or in any part thereof, such Land or part thereof shall have the right to send representatives to the Bundestag in accordance with Article 38 and to the Bundesrat in accordance with Article 50.

Article 145
[Entry into force of the Basic Law]

(1) The Parliamentary Council, with the participation of the members for Greater Berlin, shall confirm the ratification of this Basic Law in public session and shall certify and promulgate it.

(2) This Basic Law shall take effect at the end of the day on which it is promulgated.

(3) It shall be published in the Federal Law Gazette.

Article 146
[Duration of the Basic Law]

This Basic Law, which since the achievement of the unity and freedom of Germany applies to the entire German people, shall cease to apply on the day on which a constitution freely adopted by the German people takes effect.

Extracts from the German Constitution of 11 August 1919

[Weimar Constitution]

Religion and Religious Societies

Article 136

(1) Civil and political rights and duties shall be neither dependent upon nor restricted by the exercise of religious freedom.

(2) Enjoyment of civil and political rights and eligibility for public office shall be independent of religious affiliation.

(3) No person shall be required to disclose his religious convictions. The authorities shall have the right to inquire into a person’s membership in a religious society only to the extent that rights or duties depend upon it or that a statistical survey mandated by a law so requires.

(4) No person may be compelled to perform any religious act or ceremony, to participate in religious exercises, or to take a religious form of oath.

Article 137

(1) There shall be no state church.

(2) The freedom to form religious societies shall be guaranteed. The union of religious societies within the territory of the Reich shall be subject to no restrictions.

(3) Religious societies shall regulate and administer their affairs independently within the limits of the law that applies to all. They shall confer their offices without the participation of the state or the civil community.

(4) Religious societies shall acquire legal capacity according to the general provisions of civil law.

(5) Religious societies shall remain corporations under public law insofar as they have enjoyed that status in the past. Other religious societies shall be granted the same rights upon application, if their constitution and the number of their members give assurance of their permanency. If two or more religious societies established under public law unite into a single organisation, it too shall be a corporation under public law.

(6) Religious societies that are corporations under public law shall be entitled to levy taxes on the basis of the civil taxation lists in accordance with Land law.

(7) Associations whose purpose is to foster a philosophical creed shall have the same status as religious societies.

(8) Such further regulation as may be required for the implementation of these provisions shall be a matter for Land legislation.

Article 138

(1) Rights of religious societies to public subsidies on the basis of a law, contract or special grant shall be redeemed by legislation of the Länder. The principles governing such redemption shall be established by the Reich.

(2) Property rights and other rights of religious societies or associations in their institutions, foundations, and other assets intended for purposes of worship, education or charity shall be guaranteed.

Article 139

Sunday and holidays recognised by the state shall remain protected by law as days of rest from work and of spiritual improvement.

Article 141

To the extent that a need exists for religious services and pastoral work in the army, in hospitals, in prisons, or in other public institutions, religious societies shall be permitted to provide them, but without compulsion of any kind.

BY CHRISTOPH IN CONSTITUTIONALFIELDS OF LAWSTATUTES ON .

← 3 NOVEMBER 1992, CASE NO. 5 STR 370/92, BGHST 39, 1FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ACT (BUNDESVERFASSUNGSGERICHTS-GESETZ, BVERFGG) →

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