Swearng in: German parliament interrupt holidays

Swearng in: German parliament interrupt holidays

Friday, July 19, 2019 6:53 am

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The Bundestag announced on Thursday to interrupt the parliamentary holidays for a special session next Wednesday to swear in the future Federal Minister of Defence, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Many of the 709 German parliamentarians would have to be recalled from vacation for the special session, but they would be reimbursed for travel costs, according to local newspaper Bild reported on Thursday.

At earlier special sessions, reimbursement costs for the Bundestag administration had been around 100,000 euros (112,200 U.S. dollars), with flight tickets being the main expense factor, German media reported.

According to article 64 of the German constitution, all ministers must take their oath in front of the Bundestag before entering office.

This the article said in order for the vote to be valid, at least half of the 709 parliamentarians must be present.

“Democracy involves costs but the Bundestag administration should ensure that these remain within reasonable limits,’’ Reiner Holznagel, president of the association of German taxpayers (BdSt), told Bild.

Since the founding of the German Bundestag in 1949, the parliament had been convened more than 50 times for special sessions. The first time was in August 1961 after the Berlin Wall was built.

Because of the timing, the special session would not be held in the Bundestag plenary hall which is currently under renovations.

This was done to keep within the timetable for renovation work and keep costs down, according to Wolfgang Schaeuble, president of the Bundestag.

“We need the plenary hall to be fully functional again for the budget week at the beginning of September,’’ Schaeuble told the German Press Agency on Thursday.

According to the Bundestag administration, provisionally preparing the plenary hall for the special session to swear in Kramp-Karrenbauer would cost an additional 200,000 euros.

The ongoing renovations in the plenary hall in the German parliament are costing around 420,000 euros.

This would include renewing technical installations in the floors for fire protection as well as fitting a new carpet for the first time in 20 years. (one euro currently equals to 1.12 U.S. dollars)


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