German order of precedence

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The German order of precedence is a symbolic hierarchy of the five highest federal offices in Germany used to direct protocol. It has no official status, but has been established in practical use.[1]

  1. The President of Germany, the head of state of Germany.
  2. The President of the Bundestag, the speaker of the German parliament, the Bundestag.
  3. The Chancellor of Germany, the head of the government of Germany.
  4. (1.) The President of the Bundesrat, the speaker of the Bundesrat, a federal legislative chamber, in which the governments of the sixteen german states are represented. He or she is ex officio also deputy to the President of Germany (Basic Law, Article 57). Thus, he or she becomes first in the order, while acting on behalf of the President or while acting as head of state during a vacancy of the presidency.
  5. The President of the Federal Constitutional Court, the supreme court of Germany.

Current office-holders[edit]

No. Office Image Incumbent in office since deputie(s)
1st Flag of the President of Germany.svg
12th President of Germany
Frank-Walter Steinmeier Feb 2014 (cropped).jpg Frank-Walter Steinmeier 19 March 2017 Michael Müller
(President of the Bundesrat)
2nd Deutscher Bundestag logo.svg
13th President of the Bundestag
4th EPP St Géry Dialogue; Jan. 2014 (12189287345) (cropped).jpg Wolfgang Schäuble 24 October 2017 Hans-Peter Friedrich
Thomas Oppermann
Wolfgang Kubicki
Petra Pau
Claudia Roth
(Vice Presidents of the Bundestag)
3rd Bundesadler Bundesorgane.svg
8th Chancellor of Germany
Angela Merkel 2016.jpg Angela Merkel 22 November 2005 Olaf Scholz
(Vice Chancellor of Germany)
4th (1st) Bundesrat Logo.svg
72nd President of the Bundesrat
2017-11-16 Michael Müller (Wiki Loves Parliaments 2017 in Berlin) by Sandro Halank.jpg Michael Müller 1 November 2017 Malu Dreyer
(First Vice President of the Bundesrat)
Daniel Günther
(Second Vice President of the Bundesrat)
5th Bundesadler Bundesorgane.svg
9th President of the Federal Constitutional Court
2016-10-03 Andreas Voßkuhle (Tag der Deutschen Einheit 2016 in Dresden) by Sandro Halank.jpg Andreas Voßkuhle 16 March 2010 Ferdinand Kirchhof
(Vice President of the Federal Constitutional Court)

Living former office-holders[edit]

The order of precendence is also observed with respect to former office-holders in some cases, for example if they participate in official ceremonies as honoured guests.

Trivia[edit]

As of June 2018, 102 persons have held at least one of the five highest german federal offices. Six of them were female:

The following persons have held two different of these offices:

  • Karl Carstens, 5th President of Germany (1979-1984), 6th President of the Bundestag (1976-1979)
  • Roman Herzog, 7th President of Germany (1994-1999), 6th President of the Federal Constitutional Court (1987-1994)
  • Johannes Rau, 8th President of Germany (1999-2004), 34th and 48th President of the Bundesrat (1982-1983 and 1994-1995)
  • Kai-Uwe von Hassel, 4th President of the Bundestag (1969-1972), 7th President of the Bundesrat (1955-1956)
  • Kurt-Georg Kiesinger, 3rd Chancellor of Germany (1966-1969), 14th President of the Bundesrat (1962-1963)
  • Willy Brandt, 4th Chancellor of Germany (1969-1974), 9th President of the Bundesrat (1957-1958)
  • Gerhard Schröder, 7th Chancellor of Germany (1998-2005), 51st President of the Bundesrat (1997-1998)

The following persons have held one of these offices two times (non consecutively):

  • Hans Ehard, 2nd and 13th President of the Bundesrat (1950-1951 and 1961-1962)
  • Georg-August Zinn, 5th and 16th President of the Bundesrat (1953-1954 and 1964-1965)
  • Peter Altmeier, 6th and 17th President of the Bundesrat (1954-1955 and 1965-1966)
  • Franz-Josef Röder, 11th and 21st President of the Bundesrat (1959-1960 and 1969-1970)
  • Hans Koschnik, 22nd and 33rd President of the Bundesrat (1970-1971 and 1981-1982)
  • Bernhard Vogel, 28th and 40th President of the Bundesrat (1976-1977 and 1987-1988)
  • Johannes Rau, 34th and 48th President of the Bundesrat (1982-1983 and 1994-1995)

References[edit]