WORLD Ex-finance minister to head German parliament

WORLD

Ex-finance minister to head German parliament

Xinhua

14:29, October 25, 2017

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File Photo: Wolfang Schaeuble. (VCG)

BERLIN, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Ex-Finance Minister Wolfang Schaeuble (CDU) has been elected as the president of Germany's new Federal Parliament (Bundestag) during its constituting session on Tuesday.

As was widely anticipated, Volker Kauder, the leader of the joint Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/ Christian Social Union (CSU) parliamentary faction nominated the 75-year old Schaeuble for the prestigious post.

A total of 501 out of the 704 delegate votes were cast in favor of Schaeuble. In his subsequent election speech, Schaeuble described himself as a "passionate parliamentarian". The veteran CDU politician further warned against a sharpening of tones in public debate and the resulting challenge to Germany's democratic institutions.

Citing philosopher Immanuel Kant, Schaeuble called on delegates to follow the "categorical imperative" to always act in line with principles which could be generalized as a moral framework for the wider population.

The constituting meeting of the 19th Federal Parliament follows a strict protocol, consisting of a speech by the interim chairman by seniority, the election of the president of the parliament, the election of the parliamentary vice-presidents, and a subsequent reception for delegates.

Early into the session, however the AfD launched an unsuccessful motion to prevent Herrmann-Otto Solms (FDP) from opening and presiding over the parliament as its interim chairman by seniority.

The AfD complained about the abandonment of a historical practice of handing the post in question to the oldest member of parliament, as opposed to the member with the longest record of service as a delegate. The far-right party is represented in the Federal Parliament for the first time after securing 12.6 percent of the vote in elections on Sept. 24.

According to AfD delegate Bernd Baumann this change under the "Lex AfD" in the last parliament discriminated unfairly against his party.

"That was a trick which they used to exclude the AfD" Baumann complained. He warned that the "people had spoken" on Sept. 24 and that a "new epoch" in German politics had now begun.

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