Parliamentary Groups

Parliamentary groups in the Landtag Brandenburg
Parliamentary groups in the Landtag Brandenburg
© Landtag Brandenburg

Parliamentary groups are alliances of at least four members of the Landtag who belong to the same party, political union or joint list of proposed candidates (§ 1 para. 1 Parliamentary Party Act [Fraktionsgesetz]). As autonomous and independent structures with their own rights and duties, they participate in the work of the Landtag and support the development of informed parliamentary opinion (Article 67 Land Constitution). The relative strength of the parliamentary groups determines the composition of the Presiding Committee and the other committees. This is done in line with the Hare/Niemeyer method.

The chairman of the parliamentary group is its leader in political and organisational terms. He has a decisive influence on the development and coordination of policies in agreement with the party. He is responsible for a sense of solidarity within the group, its political cohesion within the parliament and its external image. Every parliamentary party has a parliamentary secretary who coordinates its parliamentary work. After due consultation with the leadership, this can include setting the agendas for group meetings, organising the activities of the working parties of parliamentary groups and keeping in touch with the other parliamentary secretaries.

Similarly, the members of the parliamentary group must inform the parliamentary secretary if they miss meetings and notify him of their departure when parliament is not in session and during parliamentary recesses. The party secretary is in charge of administration. He manages organisational, personnel and financial matters in the parliamentary group. The duties of the party secretary and of the parliamentary secretary can also be carried out concurrently.

The parliamentary groups in the Landtag Brandenburg are entitled to financial resources from the Land budget in order to fulfil their duties. The funds are made up of a basic amount for each group, an amount for each member and a further allowance for each parliamentary group that does not support the Land government (opposition allowance). Parliamentary groups may only use the payments made under this law to fulfil the duties incumbent on them under the Constitution of the Land of Brandenburg and the laws and rules of procedure of the Landtag Brandenburg. They must not be used for party political purposes.

Since 1 April 2015, also smaller parliamentary groups of 3–4 members may be formed. The requirement for this is that the associated Members of Parliament must belong to the same party, political union or joint list and/or have been chosen as candidates by the same party, political alliance or joint list, or that the Landtag recognises their alliance as a group. The alliance serves the shared pursuit of political goals and the collaborative completion of the various tasks of the Landtag. For this purpose, smaller groups are conferred their own rights and also provided with funding and benefits in kind. They receive a basic amount, a fixed amount per Member and are also eligible for additional opposition allowance.