The presidium or praesidium (from Latin praesidium meaning protection or defense, so plural presidia or praesidia) is the name for the heading organ of various legislative and organizational bodies.
Historically, in Germany the Presidium of the national legislature (Bundestag, Reichstag) is responsible for the routine administration, nowadays including its clerical and research activities. The current Presidium consists of the President and Vice Presidents of the Bundestag.
In Communist states the presidium was the permanent heading body of legislative bodies such as the Supreme Soviet in the USSR. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR existed from 1936, when the Supreme Soviet of the USSR replaced the Congress of Soviets with its Central Executive Committee that administered in between sessions, headed by "the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee." In 1936 this was replaced with the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet alone, no Central Executive Committee, and from this year to 1989 the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was the formal title of the head of state of the USSR until the office of Chairman of the Supreme Soviet was introduced in 1990, later to be replaced by the President of the Soviet Union.
From 1952 to 1966 the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was known as the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party but despite the similarity in name with the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the two Presidia were very different in power and function.
The word Presidium is currently used by North Korea (Supreme People's Assembly Presidium) and in the People's Republic of China (Standing Committee of the National People's Congress; the Chinese word for both presidium and standing committee is 常务委员会). It is also used in the political party Awami League (People's Republic of Bangladesh) where the Presidium is the inner or topmost circle of Members who are of highest importance within the party.
In Flemish and Scandinavian student organisations the word Presidium is used as an umbrella word for all the chairmen in the organisations's administration.
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