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Coat of Arms of East Germany
|Chancellor|| Katja Kipping
Since 20 March 2010
|Vorsitzender der Versammlung (Chairman of the Assembly||Bernd Riexinger
Since 19 March 2010
Socialist Unity Party of Germany
|GDR Parliamentary Elections||Every 5-8 Years (Unless Requested by Ballot Initivate or Parliamentary Decree)|
|Abgeordnetenkammer last election||20 March 2010|
|Volkskammer last election||20 March 2010|
The Volksversammlung is the name of the Parliament of the German Democratic Republic located in Leipzig. The Parliament is Bicameral with over 700 total seats.
STILL BEING WORKED ON AS THE WORDING IS NOT FINAL
The legislative authority of the Abgeordnetenkammer is subordinate to that of the Volkskammer. Like in the West, The federal government must present all its legislative initiatives first to the Abgeordnetenkammer; only thereafter can a bill be sent to the Volkskammer. The Abgeordnetenkammer must approve all legislation affecting policy areas for which the Constitution grants the Provinces of East Germany concurrent powers and for which they administer federal regulations. This approval requires a majority "yes" votes, so that a state coalition with a divided opinion on a bill votes – by its abstention – effectively against the bill. The Abgeordnetenkammer has increased its legislative responsibilities over time by successfully arguing for a broad, rather than a narrow, interpretation of what constitutes the range of legislation affecting Land interests.
Constitutional changes require an approval with majority of 2/3 of all votes in Volkskammer and Abgeordnetenkammer, thus giving the Abgeordnetenkammer an absolute veto against constitutional change.
Against all other legislation the Abgeordnetenkammer has a suspensive veto, which can be overridden by passing the law again, but this time with 50% plus one vote of all Volkskammer members, not just by majority of votes cast, which is frequent in daily parliamentary business. Because most legislation is passed by a coalition that has such an absolute majority in the Volkskammer, this kind of suspensive veto rarely stops legislation. As an added provision, however, a law vetoed with a majority of 2/3 must be passed again with a majority of 2/3 in the Volkskammer
If the absolute veto is used, the Abgeordnetenkammer and Volkskammer can convene a joint committee to negotiate a compromise. That compromise cannot be amended and both chambers are required to hold a final vote on the compromise as is.
The political power of the absolute veto is particularly evident when the opposition party or parties in the Volkskammer have a majority in the Abgeordnetenkammer. The Abgeordnetenkammer cannot be dissolved under any circumstances.
The Volkskammer gets its name from Original Parliament of the East German Government and forms the legislative branch of the government, alongside the Abgeordnetenkammer
Although most legislation is initiated by the executive branch, the Volkskammer considers the legislative function its most important responsibility, concentrating much of its energy on assessing and amending the government's legislative program as well as being the direct voice of the People of East Germany. The Volkskammer is responsible for appointing committees play to a prominent role in the legal process. Plenary sessions, also provide a forum for members to engage in public debate on legislative issues before them, but they tend to be well attended only when significant legislation is being considered.
The Volkskammer members are the only federal officials directly elected by the public; The Chancellor of East Germany is directly appointed by the Volkskammer. This body exercises oversight of the executive branch on issues of both substantive policy and routine administration. This check on executive power can be employed through binding legislation, public debates on government policy, investigations, and direct questioning of the chancellor or cabinet officials. Like in West Germany, the Volkskammer can conduct a question hour (Fragestunde), in which a government representative responds to a previously submitted written question from either a member or a civilian. Members can ask related questions during the question hour. The questions can concern anything from a major policy issue to a specific constituent's problem.
The Volkskammer is modeled after the West German Bundestag, the Russian State Duma, and the Legislation of Ancient Greece. Citizens can push through Ballot Initiatives (Referenda) to be passed as law.