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Bundesversammlung (Germany)

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  1. redirectTemplate:Politics of Germany

The Federal Convention (Bundesversammlung) is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convoked only for the purpose of selecting the Bundespräsident every five years. The Bundesversammlung is comprised of the entire membership of the Bundestag (Germany's parliament) and an equal number of state delegates selected by the state parliaments especially for this purpose, proportionally to their population figures. Among the latter are not only politicians: it is customary for the several states to also nominate celebrities and other prominent or specially deserving people.

Since 1979, the Bundesversammlung has traditionally met on May 23, the anniversary of the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany and the coming-into-force of the Basic Law in 1949. It is chaired by the Speaker of the Bundestag and is dissolved once the elected president declares that he accepts his election, which decision he can delay for up to two days (however, no president has ever done so).

The procedure of the election of the Bundespräsident consists of - at the most - three secret votes by written ballot. If one of the first two votes ends with an absolute majority for one of the candidates, this candidate is elected immediately. If the first two votes do not lead to an absolute majority, a plurality is sufficient in the third and last vote.

The last assembly of the Bundesversammlung was held on May 23 2004, when Horst Köhler was elected by the slight majority of 604 out of 1205 votes.


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