The approval was overwhelming: When the referendum on the acceptance of the Brandenburg state constitution took place on June 14, 1992, 94 percent of the population voted for the text, which all parties represented in the state parliament at the time had worked out together. 30 years later, the state constitution is now to be fundamentally revised: Similar to the preamble, where the term “Brandenburgers” is already mentioned today, the male and female forms are to have equal status in the rest of the text of the constitution.
The fight against anti-Semitism and the promotion of Jewish culture are to be anchored in the constitution as state goals, as is the fight against anti-Gypsyism and the promotion of the Low German language advise, it could be tight. A two-thirds majority would then be necessary: 59 of the 88 members of the state parliament would have to agree. The government factions CDU, SPD and Greens together only have 50 MPs. Together with the ten members of the left, you would have 60 – but the CDU MP and former top candidate Ingo Senftleben has already announced that he does not want to agree to the constitutional amendment.
The reason for this is another planned change: the position of the second vice president, which was only introduced in 2015 at the urging of the left and who has so far been elected at the suggestion of the third-strongest parliamentary group, will become an optional regulation. According to this, the state parliament would elect “at least one vice president” in the future – and at least one vice president would have to belong to the opposition.
In the background of this regulation is the person of AfD Vice President Andreas Galau. He is intolerable for many MEPs from the other parliamentary groups, but he had to be elected in 2019 because the current constitution only allowed parliament to be constituted after a full election of the presidency.
Senftleben now accuses the state parliament majority of wanting to pursue “short-sighted party politics” with the constitution. CDU parliamentary group leader Jan Redmann, however, denied rumors on Tuesday that after the constitutional amendment an application would be made to vote Galau out of office and he would then be replaced by a vice-president of the left. “The change in the constitution does not directly result in a change in the composition of the Presidium,” said Redmann. Without Senftleben, however, only 59 members of the state parliament are involved in the constitutional amendment.
“The necessary majority of 59 members of the state parliament is there,” says Redmann. But if just one MP from the left or the coalition falls ill, the constitutional amendment would probably have to be taken off the agenda. Because the attempt to get the five-member BVB/Freie Wahler faction enthusiastic about the project has so far failed.
“We want the vice-president who is entitled to the opposition to be elected at the suggestion of the opposition,” said parliamentary group leader Peter Vida. “Otherwise the government majority will choose the candidate they like.” In addition, the friendship with Poland should be embedded “in the framework of the EU”, said Vida. “If we emphasize friendships with member states of the EU, this should also be done on the basis of the European canon of values.”
On Tuesday, however, the government factions renewed the offer to the free voters to participate in the constitutional amendment. “The free voters’ place at the table is free,” said SPD parliamentary group leader Daniel Keller. CDU faction leader Redmann emphasized the importance of the constitutional amendment. “I really hope that one or the other girl feels addressed by the fact that the constitution now also includes the possibility of a prime minister,” he said.
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The AfD is not involved at all in the discussion about the new state constitution. The largest opposition faction was outraged by the plans of the rest of the House on Tuesday: “A constitutional change is not a playground for general political calculations,” said Parliamentary Secretary Dennis Hohloch.
Violence against Jews, for example, is not prevented because the fight against anti-Semitism is in the constitution. The changes in the office of Vice President also see the principle of mirror imagery violated.