Vice-Chancellor of Germany

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Vice Chancellor of Germany
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Olaf Scholz - Deutscher Radiopreis 2016 01.jpg
Incumbent
Olaf Scholz

since 14 March 2018
Inaugural holderOtto of Stolberg-Wernigerode
Formation1 June 1878
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Deputy to the Federal Chancellor (German: Stellvertreter des Bundeskanzlers) is a title of one of the German cabinet members. The Chancellor is the head of governent and, according to the constitution, gives this title to one of the Federal Ministers. This minister can use the constitutional powers of the Chancellor when officially replacing the Chancellor. This has never happened up to now,[1] although, according to the internal reglement of the government, the Deputy chairs cabinet meetings when the Chancellor is absent.

A German Deputy of the Chancellor can be regarded as the equivalent of a deputy prime minister in other parliamentary systems. A very important difference to e.g. the Vice President of the USA is that the Deputy is not the automatic successor of a Chancellor suddenly leaving office. The Deputy is thought only as a replacement for the actual Chancellor. Should the Chancellor for example die, the Federal President appoints one of the cabinet members acting Chancellor until the parliament elects a new Chancellor.[2] When in 1974 Chancellor Brandt resigned, the Federal President asked indeed Deputy Scheel to perform the duties of the Chancellor.

Usually, a German government is based on a coalition of two or more parties. The Chancellor makes gives the title to a minister of the (largest) coallition partner. In practice it is an honory title denoting the most important cabinet member of the coalition partner The 18th and current Deputy of the Chancellor is Olaf Scholz (SPD). He was appointed by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU)) to the position on 14 March 2018 and also serves as the Federal Minister of Finance.

Although German: Stellvertreter is the constitutional term, most Germans know the Deputy by the expression Vice Chancellor (German: Vizekanzler). Chancellor (German: Kanzler) is the traditional term for the German head of government since 1867/71. A general deputy has been introduced only in 1878 by law (German: Stellvertretungsgesetz). In the Weimar Republic of 1919-1933, the office of German: Vizekanzler was mentioned in the internal reglement of the government. The current office or title exists since the constitution of 1949.

Office[edit]

The German cabinet consists of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers. According the Basic Law (Constitution), the Chancellor appoints one of the ministers Vice Chancellor. Theoretically it is possible that the Chancellor appoints several Deputies. The Chancellor can also take the position away. This is different to the appointment of a Federal Minister as such: the Chancellor makes a proposal to the Federal President and then the Federal President makes the official appointment.

Since coalition governments are common in German politics, the Vice Chancellor is in most cases a minister of the junior coalition partner, often the respective party leader.

In case of the Chancellor's absence, the Vice Chancellor acts in his or her place, for instance by heading Cabinet meetings.

The Vice Chancellor will not automatically become Chancellor for the rest of the term if the Chancellor dies or becomes unable to fulfill his or her duties in any other way. It is the President who asks the Vice Chancellor to fulfill the Chancellor's duties until the Bundestag elects a new Chancellor. This has happened only once: Vice Chancellor Walter Scheel was acting Chancellor for nine days in May 1974 between Chancellor Willy Brandt’s resignation and Helmut Schmidt’s election.

History[edit]

The office was initially established by the 1878 Stellvertretungsgesetz (Deputation Act), which provided for the Imperial Chancellor appointing a deputy, officially known as Allgemeiner Stellvertreter des Reichskanzlers (General Deputy to the Imperial Chancellor). In addition to the general deputy, who would be responsible for all the affairs of the Chancellor, the Chancellor could appoint deputies with limited responsibilities. The act was revised on 28 October 1918, when the possibility of appointing deputies with limited responsibilities was removed and the Vice-Chancellor was given the right to appear before parliament.[3]

In the Weimar Republic, the office was considered less important and was usually held by the minister of justice or interior. The most known office holder is Franz von Papen, a former Chancellor who formed a coalition government of national socialists and conservatives. Chancellor became Adolf Hitler, and Papen Vice Chancellor. It became soonly obvious that the position of Vice Chancellor provided no powers and was unsuited to constrain Hitler.

In the Federal Republic (since 1949), the Chancellors had no interest in allowing the Deputy to use the title for self promotion.[4] Since 1966 it became customary that the coalition partner of the governing party received the ministry of the exterior who was also appointed Deputy. The ministry of the exterior was considered to be the most important cabinet post besides the Chancellorship. This tradition faded away in the time of Merkel's office, partially, because political heavyweights of the coalition partner chose a different ministry for personal preference.

Lists of Vice Chancellors[edit]

German Empire (Allgemeiner Stellvertreter des Reichskanzlers)[edit]

Political Party:   FKP   FVP

# Portrait Name Birth Death Term start Age start Term end Age end Days Party Portfolio Cabinet
1 Ottosw.jpg Otto zu Stolberg-Wernigerode 30 October 1837 19 November 1896 1 June 1878 40 20 June 1881 43 1115 FKP Bismarck
2 Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1981-127-06A, Karl-Heinrich von Boetticher.jpg Karl Heinrich von Boetticher 6 January 1833 6 March 1907 20 June 1881 48 1 July 1897 64 5855 FKP Secretary of State for the Interior Bismarck
Caprivi
Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
3 Nicola Perscheid - Arthur von Posadowsky-Wehner.jpg Arthur von Posadowsky-Wehner 3 June 1845 23 October 1932 1 July 1897 52 24 June 1907 62 3644 FKP Secretary of State for the Interior Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
Bülow
4 Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg.jpg Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg 29 November 1856 1 January 1921 24 June 1907 50 14 July 1909 52 751 Independent Secretary of State for the Interior Bülow
5 Delbrück, Clemens von (1856-1921).jpg Clemens von Delbrück 19 January 1856 17 December 1921 14 July 1909 53 22 May 1916 60 2501 Independent Secretary of State for the Interior Bethmann-Hollweg
7 Karl Helfferich.jpg Karl Helfferich 22 July 1872 23 April 1924 22 May 1916 43 9 November 1917 45 536 Independent Secretary of State for the Interior (until 23 October 1917) Bethmann-Hollweg
Michaelis
Hertling
8 Friedrich von Payer.jpg Friedrich von Payer 12 June 1847 14 July 1931 9 November 1917 70 10 November 1918 71 366 FVP Hertling
Baden
Ebert

Weimar Republic (Allgemeiner Stellvertreter des Reichskanzlers)[edit]

Political Party:   DDP   Centre   DVP   SPD   DNVP

# Portrait Name Birth Death Term start Age start Term end Age end Days Party Portfolio Cabinet
1 Eugen Schiffer (1919).jpg Eugen Schiffer 14 February 1860 5 September 1954 13 February 1919 58 19 April 1919 59 65 DDP Deputy Minister-President / Minister of Finance Scheidemann
2 Bundesarchiv Bild 102-12088, Bernhard Dernburg.jpg Bernhard Dernburg 17 July 1865 14 October 1937 30 April 1919 53 20 June 1919 53 51 DDP Deputy Minister-President / Minister of Finance Scheidemann
3 Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1989-072-16, Matthias Erzberger.jpg Matthias Erzberger 20 September 1875 26 August 1921 21 June 1919 43 3 October 1919 44 104 Centre Deputy Minister-President (until 14 August 1919) / Minister of Finance Bauer
4 Eugen Schiffer (1919).jpg Eugen Schiffer 14 February 1860 5 September 1954 3 October 1919 59 27 March 1920 60 176 DDP Minister of Justice Bauer
5 Erich Koch-Weser, Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1986-014-10, Kabinett Müller (cropped).jpg Erich Koch-Weser 26 February 1875 19 October 1944 27 March 1920 45 21 June 1920 45 86 DDP Minister of the Interior Müller I
6 Dr. Rudolf Heinze.jpg Rudolf Heinze 22 July 1865 26 May 1928 25 June 1920 54 4 May 1921 55 313 DVP Minister of Justice Fehrenbach
7 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J0113-0500-001, Gustav Bauer.jpg Gustav Bauer 6 January 1870 16 September 1944 10 May 1921 51 14 November 1922 52 553 SPD Minister of Finance Wirth I
Wirth II
8 Robert Schmidt (politician).jpg Robert Schmidt 15 May 1864 16 September 1943 13 August 1923 59 3 November 1923 59 82 SPD Minister for Reconstruction Stresemann I
9 Bundesarchiv Bild 102-01175, Karl Jarres.jpg Karl Jarres 21 September 1874 20 October 1951 30 November 1923 49 15 December 1924 50 381 DVP Minister of the Interior Marx I
Marx II
10 Oskar Hergt.jpg Oskar Hergt 22 October 1869 9 May 1967 28 January 1927 57 12 June 1928 58 501 DNVP Minister of Justice Marx IV
11 Bundesarchiv Bild 102-10015, Robert Hermann Dietrich.jpg Hermann Dietrich 14 December 1879 6 March 1954 30 March 1930 50 30 May 1932 52 792 DDP Minister of Finance (from 26 June 1930) Brüning I
Brüning II

Nazi Germany[edit]

Political Party:   NSDAP

# Portrait Name Birth Death Term start Age start Term end Age end Days Party Other positions Cabinet
1 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S00017, Franz von Papen crop.jpg Franz von Papen 29 October 1879 2 May 1969 30 January 1933 53 7 August 1934 54 554 Non-partisan Reichskommissar of Prussia (until 10 April 1933) Hitler

Federal Republic of Germany[edit]

Political Party:   FDP   CDU   SPD   Green

# Portrait Name Birth Death Term start Age start Term end Age end Days Party Portfolio Cabinet
1 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-P001512, Franz Blücher 2.jpg Franz Blücher 24 March 1896 26 March 1959 20 September 1949 53 29 October 1957 61 2961 FDP/FVP Marshall Plan (1949-1953) / Economic Cooperation (1953-1957) Adenauer I • II
2 Einde bezoek bondskanselier dr Ludwig Erhard en gaf persconferentie in het Haag, Bestanddeelnr 916-1330.jpg Ludwig Erhard 4 February 1897 5 May 1977 29 October 1957 60 16 October 1963 66 2178 CDU Economic Affairs Adenauer III • IV • V
3 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-87989-0060, Erich Mende.jpg Erich Mende 28 October 1916 6 May 1998 17 October 1963 46 28 October 1966 50 1107 FDP Intra-German Relations Erhard I • II
4 Hans-Christoph Seebohm 4 August 1903 17 September 1967 8 November 1966 63 30 November 1966 63 22 CDU Transport Erhard II
5 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F057884-0009, Willy Brandt.jpg Willy Brandt 18 December 1913 8 October 1992 1 December 1966 52 20 October 1969 55 1054 SPD Foreign Affairs Kiesinger I
6 Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1989-047-20, Walter Scheel.jpg Walter Scheel 8 July 1919 24 August 2016 21 October 1969 50 16 May 1974 54 1668 FDP Foreign Affairs Brandt III
7 Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1989).jpg Hans-Dietrich Genscher 21 March 1927 31 March 2016 17 May 1974 47 17 September 1982 55 3045 FDP Foreign Affairs Schmidt III • III
8 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F048636-0022, Dortmund, SPD-Parteitag, Egon Franke.jpg Egon Franke 11 April 1913 26 April 1995 17 September 1982 69 1 October 1982 69 14 SPD Intra-German Relations Schmidt III
9 Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1989).jpg Hans-Dietrich Genscher 21 March 1927 31 March 2016 1 October 1982 55 17 May 1992 65 3516 FDP Foreign Affairs Kohl IIIIIIIV
10 Jürgen Möllemann 2002 (cropped).jpeg Jürgen Möllemann 15 July 1945 5 June 2003 18 May 1992 46 21 January 1993 47 248 FDP Economic Affairs Kohl IV
11 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F063645-0024, Pullach, Besuch Carstens beim BND.jpg Klaus Kinkel 17 December 1936 4 March 2019 21 January 1993 56 26 October 1998 61 2104 FDP Foreign Affairs Kohl IVV
12 Joschka Fischer.jpg Joschka Fischer 12 April 1948 27 October 1998 50 22 November 2005 57 2583 Green Foreign Affairs Schröder III
13 FranzMüntefering mw1.jpg Franz Müntefering 16 January 1940 22 November 2005 65 21 November 2007 67 729 SPD Labour and Social Affairs Merkel I
14 Frank-Walter Steinmeier Feb 2014 (cropped).jpg Frank-Walter Steinmeier 5 January 1956 21 November 2007 51 27 October 2009 53 706 SPD Foreign Affairs Merkel I
15 Guido westerwelle.jpg Guido Westerwelle 27 December 1961 18 March 2016 28 October 2009 47 16 May 2011 49 565 FDP Foreign Affairs Merkel II
16 Roesler-klein.jpg Philipp Rösler 24 February 1973 16 May 2011 38 17 December 2013 40 946 FDP Economic Affairs Merkel II
17 Sigmar Gabriel (2013).jpg Sigmar Gabriel 12 September 1959 17 December 2013 54 14 March 2018 58 1548 SPD Economic Affairs (2013-2017) / Foreign Affairs (2017-2018) Merkel III
18 Olaf Scholz - Deutscher Radiopreis 2016 01.jpg Olaf Scholz 14 June 1958 14 March 2018 59 Incumbent Incumbent 431 SPD Finance Merkel IV

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ute Mager, in: von Münch/Kunig: Grundgesetz-Kommentar II, 5. Auflage 2001, Rn. 10/11 zu Art. 69.
  2. ^ Georg Hermes, in: Horst Dreier (Hrsg.) Grundgesetz-Kommentar, Band 2, 2. Auflage 2006, Art. 69, Rn. 7, 17-19.
  3. ^ (in German) http://www.documentarchiv.de/ksr/1878/reichskanzler-stellvertretung_ges.html
  4. ^ Roman Herzog, in: Maunz/Dürig: Kommentar zum Grundgesetz, 2008, Art. 69, Rn. 9.