Agenda-setting in the German Bundestag: origins and consequences of party dominance

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The procedure for setting the agenda in the German Parliament originated in the middle of the nineteenth century in the Prussian Chamber of Deputies in which an informal committee arranged the agenda by an inter-party consensus. This party-dominated procedure, continued in the Reichstag of the Empire and the Weimar Republic, was institutionalised in the German Bundestag in the second half of the twentieth century. It takes account of the central role of the Fraktionen in the Bundestag and of the specialisation and division of labour that developed within them. The procedure is designed to achieve consensus among all parties and to distribute agenda-setting power between parliament and cabinet. Though remarkably decentralised, it has predictable outcomes that contribute to the impression that the Bundestag is a stage-managed parliament.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Political Science, University of Iowa

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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