The process is based on a fixed sequence, determined on the basis of population numbers in the federal states. The rotational cycle always begins with the head of government in the most populous federal state.
This arrangement was agreed upon by the Minister-Presidents of the federal states in 1950 in Königstein / Taunus. One advantage of this method is that changing majorities and party-political considerations do not determine who holds the office of Bundesrat President.
In addition, this arrangement respects the principle of equal treatment of all the federal states, as each federal state, no matter how large or small it is, has an opportunity to hold the presidency.
There is also a provision governing the appointment of the two Vice-Presidents: the position of First Vice-President is held by the Bundesrat President from the previous year, and the position of Second Vice-President is held by the President-designate for the following parliamentary year.
The President’s principal responsibilities are primarily representative rather than political. The President convenes and chairs the Bundesrat’s plenary sessions, and announces the decisions taken in the plenary session. Furthermore, the President also represents the Bundesrat at official appointments in Germany and abroad. Within the framework of parliamentary diplomacy, the President welcomes high-ranking delegations to the Bundesrat, in particular the Presidents of second chambers.
In addition, the Basic Law provides for a special role for the President of the Bundesrat: pursuant to Article 57 of the Basic Law, the Bundesrat President exercises the powers of the Federal President if the latter is unable to perform his duties or if this office falls prematurely vacant.
In government protocol the Bundesrat President is often referred to as "No. 2" after the Federal President because of this deputising function. However, there is no binding protocol hierarchy for the Federal Republic of Germany’s constitutional bodies.
The Presidium’s responsibilities include drawing up the annual budgetary plan for the Bundesrat and taking decisions on important in-house issues. In addition, the Vice-Presidents represent the Bundesrat President at appointments she is unable to attend.
The Presidium of the Bundesrat
Parliamentary year 2016/2017 from 1.11.2016 to 31.10.2017
The Presidium is made up of the Bundesrat President and two Vice-Presidents.
Ministerpräsidentin des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz
Präsidentin des Bundesrates
Ministerpräsident des Freistaates Sachsen
Erster Vizepräsident des Bundesrates
Der Regierende Bürgermeister von Berlin
Zweiter Vizepräsident des Bundesrates