« ПредишнаНапред »
May 31, 1869, which is still in force, each Staten .
CHA divided into electoral districts of 100,000 souls, each district electing a deputy. If a State, after having
Electoral been divided into districts of 100,000 souls, still law of had at least 50,000 electors remaining, then these could be formed into an electoral district, and put on the same footing as the larger district. States which did not number 100,000 inhabitants could nevertheless return a deputy. Seven States were in this condition. Each electoral district was subdivided into smaller sections for convenience of voting. The Federal Council was charged with the partition of the districts. The revision of the lists of electors was not, as in England, entrusted to a specially appointed officer, but the lists were submitted to the inspection of the public by the authorities, a fixed term of eight days being granted for the lodgment of objections.
Every male subject of the North German Confederation who had passed his twenty-fifth year, and who lived in the section of the electoral district in which he wished to exercise his vote, was entitled to be an elector. There were certain exceptions, such as persons in active military service, those under guardianship or restraint, criminals, paupers, bankrupts, &c. The qualifications for a deputy were very simple. Every North German who had passed his twenty-fifth year, and who had been for at least a year a subject of one of the States which composed the North German Confederation, could be elected.
The same rule applied to naturalized North German subjects. A deputy could be elected for
district irrespective of his domicile ; and there were but few exceptions to those who were qualified to be elected.) Persons in active military service could be elected ; and the election of Government employés was allowed, they being released from their official duties during the session, but being permitted to retain their pay. Thudicum, in his · Verfassungsrecht des norddeutschen Bundes,' gives as a reason for the admission of employés that self-government was so little developed in Germany that the employés were the only men who had a knowledge of public affairs. The question whether these employés should pay some one to fill their posts during their absence, or whether the State should do this, is not even yet satisfactorily settled. If a member of the Reichstag was appointed to a paid post under the Confederation, or under one of the States composing the Confederation, or if he received promotion to a higher paid post, he had to be re-elected. No one could be at the same time a member of the Federal Council and of the Reichstag. (The members of the Reichstag were not paid, nor were they allowed to receive money granted to them by their own State for travelling expenses, &c. Attempts have been made to obtain the payment of the travelling expenses, but have proved unsuccessful. The disqualifications which applied to an elector applied equally to a deputy.
As before mentioned, the right of summoning,
proroguing, and dissolving the Reichstag was in the hands of the King of Prussia. Effect had to be given to a motion of the Federal Council for the dissolution of the Reichstag by the sanction of the King of of the
Reichstag. Prussia. The elections had to take place within sixty days after the dissolution, and the newlyelected Reichstag had to meet within ninety days of the dissolution.
Article XXVIII. of the Constitution laid down that the Reichstag decided by an absolute majority of votes. The presence of at least half of the house was necessary to legalize any resolution.) But this did not preclude debates being held on any subject, whatever might be the number of members present. The voting was taken either by standing up or by calling over the names. The Reichstag elected its officers of own President, Vice-Presidents, and reporters, and tag. the elections did not require the approval either of the Federal Council or of the head of the Confederation. The President, the two Vice-Presidents, and the eight reporters were elected for the duration of the Session. When a new Reichstag met, the President, Vice-Presidents, and reporters were elected for four weeks only at first, when their elections were confirmed for the rest of the session, or other members were selected in their places. At the first meeting of a new Reichstag the oldest member took the presidency till half of the members had had their elections confirmed, and had thus formed a house, when the election of the new President was
CHAP. proceeded with. At the commencement of a new
session of a Reichstag, the past President presided 1867.
till his successor was elected, or he himself re-elected. The same rules hold good in the cases of the VicePresidents and the reporters.
The President had much the same functions as the speaker of the House of Commons, except that he might attend the meetings of the sections and of the Committees of the House. The Vice-Presidents represented the President during his absence. The reporters drew up the minutes of proceedings, supervised the shorthand reports of the debates, read out the orders of the day, and acted as tellers in the divisions.
The sittings of the Reichstag were public, except that on the motion either of the President or of ten members the public could be excluded, and the motion for a secret sitting then discussed. The votes were taken by standing up, or if this test was doubtful, by calling over the names.
As soon as the Reichstag met, seven sections, mitteesture composed as nearly as possible of an equal number
of members drawn by lot, were formed, to whom were entrusted the examination of the doubtful election cases, and the election of members of the Committees. The members of the Federal Council might attend the meetings of the sections, and have a deliberative voice.
The decision on the validity of an election rested with the Reichstag, and all petitions against elections
had to be lodged within ten days after the meeting CHAP. of the Parliament. Neither the sections nor the
1867. Reichstag had the power of examining witnesses, nor of calling for papers from the Government officials ; the most they could do was to request the Chancellor to cause an enquiry to be made into the disputed facts of an election case. The sections elected the members of the Committees, each section choosing an equal number. The Committees were occupied with matters relating to: 1. Mode of conducting parliamentary business ; 2. Petitions ; 3. Commerce and trade; 4. Finances and customs; 5. Questions respecting administration of justice; 6. The Budget. The Reichstag might refer questions to their consideration, and when on the motion of a member a question was referred to a Committee, the mover had the right of a deliberative voice in the Committee, even though he was not a member of it. The Committees named reporters, who drew up reports on the questions which had been submitted for discussion. These reports were printed and circulated amongst the members of the Reichstag two days before the general discussion took place. The Chancellor was to be informed of the meeting of the Committees, and of the questions which they had under discussion.
Bills were laid before the Reichstag either by the Progress of Federal Council or by a member: in the latter case through the bill had to be signed by at least fifteen members. Reichstag. Every bill must be read three times, and the first