Cabinet of Germany

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The Bundesregierung, sometimes called the Bundeskabinett or Federal Cabinet, is the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and it consists of the Chancellor and the Federal Ministers.

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 | change 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
German Bundestag
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
Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger FDP 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 | change 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 | change 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
Number Percentage
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%