Cabinet of Germany
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The job of the cabinet is listed in the articles 62 to 69 of the constitution. This also has the oath of office that the minister must take.
The Chancellor is responsible for the administrative work of the Federal Government, but the work is delegated to the Head of the Federal Chancellery.
The Chancellor sets the general policy of the Federal Government, and what each ministry should do. The Federal Ministers are responsible for what happens in their own departments, and for making sure that the ministry keeps to the general ideas of the Chancellor. This is known as the departmental principle (German: Ressortprinzip).
If two Federal Ministers disagree about what should be done or about who is to do it or how it is to be done, the Federal Government decides with a majority decision. The is called the cooperative principle (German: Kollegialprinzip).
The Federal Minister Law (German: Bundesministergesetz) says that a retired member of the Federal Government can have a retirement pension, if they have been a minister for at least two years. Time as a junior minister (US "Undersecretary"), who in Germany are called parliamentary permanent secretaries, is counted, and so is previous membership in a Land (state) government.
Parliamentary permanent secretaries and state ministers are not members of the Federal Government, but do help them in their job.
As a rule, the Federal Cabinet meets in the Federal Chancellery every Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
Current make-up of the Federal Government[change | edit source]
Only members of the CDU/CSU and FDP are in the current Federal Government. Eleven of the 16 members of the Federal Government are members of the Bundestag.
|Department||Officeholder||Party||Member of the
|Federal Chancellor||Dr. Angela Merkel||CDU||Yes|
|Foreign Office and Deputy Federal Chancellor||Dr. Guido Westerwelle||FDP||Yes|
|Interior||Dr. Hans-Peter Friedrich||CDU||Yes|
|Finance||Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble||CDU||Yes|
|Economy and Technology||Rainer Brüderle||FDP||Yes|
|Work and Social Affairs||Dr. Ursula von der Leyen||CDU||Yes|
|Food, Farming and Consumer Protection||Ilse Aigner||CSU||Yes|
|Defence||Dr. Thomas de Maizière||CDU||Yes|
|Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth||Dr. Kristina Köhler||CDU||Yes|
|Health||Dr. Philipp Rösler||FDP||No|
|Traffic, Building and Urban Development||Dr. Peter Ramsauer||CSU||Yes|
|Environment, Conservation and Nuclear Reactor Safety||Dr. Norbert Röttgen||CDU||Yes|
|Education and Research||Dr. Annette Schavan||CDU||Yes|
|Federal Minister without Portfolio and Head of the Federal Chancellery||Ronald Pofalla||CDU||Yes|
|Economic Cooperation and Development||Dirk Niebel||FDP||Yes|
Seniority in the Federal Government[change | edit source]
§ 22 of the Standing Orders of the Federal Government controls the seniority in meetings of the Federal Government. If the Chancellor is absent, the Deputy Chancellor is the chairman of the Federal Government. If the deputy is also absent, the longest-serving or the oldest minister chairs the meeting.
These rules mean that the order of seniority is in this table:
|Representation order in the German Federal Government|
|No.||Name||Party||Term start||Date of birth||Department|
|0||Angela Merkel||CDU||November 22, 2005||July 17, 1954||Federal Chancellor|
|1||Guido Westerwelle||FDP||October 28, 2009||December 27, 1961||Foreign
as Deputy Chancellor
|2||Wolfgang Schäuble||CDU||November 22, 2005
October 28, 2009
|September 18, 1942||Finance|
|3||Thomas de Maizière||CDU||November 22, 2005
October 28, 2009
|January 21, 1954||Defence|
|4||Annette Schavan||CDU||November 22, 2005||June 10, 1955||Education and Research|
|5||Ursula von der Leyen||CDU||November 22, 2005
November 30, 2009
|October 8, 1958||Work and Social Affairs|
|6||Ilse Aigner||CSU||October 31, 2008||December 7, 1964||Diet, Farming and Consumer Protection|
|7||Rainer Brüderle||FDP||October 28, 2009||June 22, 1945||Economy and Technology|
|8||Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger||FDP||October 28, 2009||July 26, 1951||Justice|
|9||Peter Ramsauer||CSU||October 28, 2009||February 10, 1954||Traffic, Building and Urban Development|
|10||Ronald Pofalla||CDU||October 28, 2009||May 15, 1959||special tasks (chancellery.)|
|11||Dirk Niebel||FDP||October 28, 2009||March 29, 1963||Economic Cooperation and Development|
|12||Norbert Röttgen||CDU||October 28, 2009||July 2, 1965||Environment, Conservation and Reactor Safety|
|13||Philipp Rösler||FDP||October 28, 2009||February 24, 1973||Health|
|14||Kristina Köhler||CDU||November 30, 2009||August 3, 1977||Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth|
|15||Hans-Peter Friedrich||CDU||March 3, 2010||–||Interior|
Lawyers in the Federal Government[change | edit source]
This table lists the number and percentage of members of the federal government who were lawyers. In Germany the time between elections is called a "legislative period". In the United Kingdom this would be called a Parliament or in the United States a Congress.
|Legislative period||Fully qualified lawyers|
|1. (1949–1953)||6 of 14||42.9%|
|2. (1953–1957)||5 of 20||25.0%|
|3. (1957–1961)||7 of 18||38.9%|
|4. (1961–1965)||8 of 21||38.1%|
|7 of 22||31.8%|
|5. (1965–1969)||7 of 22||31.8%|
|6 of 20||30.0%|
|6. (1969–1972)||4 of 16||25.0%|
|7. (1972–1976)||8 of 18||44.4%|
|4 of 16||25.0%|
|8. (1976–1980)||4 of 16||25.0%|
|9. (1980–1983)||8 of 17||47.1%|
|8 of 17||47.1%|
|10. (1983–1987)||8 of 17||47.1%|
|11. (1987–1990)||9 of 19||47.4%|
|12. (1990–1994)||6 of 20||33.3%|
|13. (1994–1998)||9 of 18||50.0%|
|14. (1998–2002)||3 of 16||18.8%|
|15. (2002–2005)||6 of 14||42.9%|
|16. (2005–2009)||6 of 16||37.5%|
|17. (2009–)||7 of 16||43.8%|