Lammert elected president of new Bundestag

18th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 October 2005, BERLIN - Germany's new parliament opened its first session Tuesday by electing a president of the chamber to the backdrop of ongoing negotiations for a grand coalition government under designated chancellor Angela Merkel.

18 October 2005

BERLIN - Germany's new parliament opened its first session Tuesday by electing a president of the chamber to the backdrop of ongoing negotiations for a grand coalition government under designated chancellor Angela Merkel.

Norbert Lammert, a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU), was overwhelming elected as Bundestag president with 564 votes. Just 25 members voted against him and 17 abstained.

The vote is a first positive test of cooperation between Merkel's party and outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD), both of which have in past days announced cabinet members for their planned coalition government.

Lammert is the number two man in the German state after President Horst Koehler. Several vice-presidents of the Bundestag were also due to be elected Tuesday.

Outgoing Chancellor Schroeder and his cabinet were due to be formally discharged from their duties by President Koehler.

But Koehler will instruct Schroeder to stay on in an acting capacity until Merkel's government is formally elected by parliament - probably in the second half of November.

Presiding over the first session was outgoing Interior Minister Otto Schily, 73, who is the oldest member of the chamber.

Schily called on new members of parliament to strictly limit the size and authority of Germany's state apparatus.

*sidebar1*"A comprehensive nationalization of (German) society ended in the horrors of the totalitarian state," said Schily who is a member of Schroeder's SPD.

Schily underlined that German foreign policy should be European and international.

"Policy limited to national horizons cannot be successful under the conditions of globalisation," he said.

Schroeder's SPD was narrowly defeated by Merkel's CDU/CSU in Germany's September 18 general election.

DPA

Subject: German news

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