Premier of Werania
|Premier of the Weranian Confederation|
Bundesministerpräsident der Ostischen Bund
|Residence||Palais Beinhoff, Westbrücken, Werania|
|Appointer||Holder of the Federal Presidency|
|Term length||No fixed term.|
Remains in office whilst commanding the confidence of the Bundestag.
|Inaugural holder||Ulrich von Bayrhoffer|
|Formation||17th March 1842|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Federal Premier of the Weranian Confederation (Weranian: Bundesministerpräsident der Ostischen Bund) has been the head of government of the Werania since the unification of the confederation under the efforts of King Rudolf VI and Cislanian Minister-President Ulrich von Bayrhoffer, who became the inaugural premier. The premier officially chairs the Government of Werania, and since the 1940's has evolved from a first-amongst-equals to a more presidential office with the ultimate authority over executive affairs. The premier is officially appointed by the monarch, who must appoint a candidate nominated by the Volkstag. The Volkstag must pass a vote of no confidence to remove a premier.
There has been 44 individuals who have been premier, with six serving non-consecutive terms. The current premier is Otto von Hößlin who has served in the post since June 2019. Excluding the ongoing term of von Hößlin the average tenure of a premier is 3 years, 8 months and 19 days.
The position of Federal premier was created at the declaration of the Weranian Confederation in 1842. The structure of the Weranian government was based on the main state that drove unification, Cislania, which had introduced a parliamentary form of government in 1821 with an elected Landtag and its own head of government, the Minister-President (Ministerpräsident). The Cislanian Minister-President of the time of unification, Ulrich von Bayrhoffer, would serve as both the first federal premier and Minister-President of Cislania during his term.
The procedure for the appointment of the premier and his powers was the same as the Cislanian Minister-President. The premier was responsible only to the federal presidium (Bundespräsidium) whose holder was the Cislanian king, Rudolf VI and had to be a member of the legislature although a parliamentary majority was not needed. The cabinet was officially presided over by the holder of the Bundespräsidium with the premier being merely the most senior Cabinet minister. Following Rudolf VI's death and his replacement with his young son Adalbert the premier became the de facto position of power as von Bayrhoffer was considered more experienced and influential then the new monarch. Von Bayrhoffer would be the longest serving premier serving for 11 years, 8 months and 4 days over two terms from 1842-1849 and 1852-1856.
Following the War of the Triple Alliance and the second dismissal of von Bayrhoffer the premiership decline in importance. The succeeding premiers usually served short terms and were responsible entirely to Adalbert who became the main executive force in the country chairing cabinet meetings; premiers tended to preside over parliamentary majorities although remained subordinate to the monarchy. There were exceptions to this trend - most notable was premier Konrad von Höhnel (1892-1900) who exercised stronger executive control over his government then any premier since Bayrhoffers dismissal.
The death of Adalbert in 1913 and the ascension of his son Leopold IV saw a shift in the power of the premier and the Bundestag in general. Leopold IV was less interventionist then his father and was more willing to allow the parliamentary majority to direct executive actions. Voting reforms in 1906 had also significantly expanded the suffrage and resulted in more coalition governments; this made the position of regierungsbildner far more vital for the coordination of the government. The 1915 election saw the first non-aristocratic premier, Sotirian democrat Erich Schätzle and in 1918 the first left-wing premier Albrecht Küchenthal appointed. As a result the holder of the Bundespräsidium presided over cabinet increasingly less with the premier chairing cabinet as a first-among-equals with the legislature taking precedence over the executive due to the frequency of coalition governments. The proliferation of new political parties and extremist currents emerging as a result of the Great Collapse saw Weranian politics become sharply polarised; as a result the role of the premier in mediating between political parties in government grew making it more a chairman of a collegial government then a powerful executive. All decisions in cabinet were decided by a majority vote.
During the Great War the premier was considered to be less influential then the holder of the Bundespräsidium and the Chief of Staff of the Reichswehr. Although the political parties in the Bundestag agreed to support the government (the landsmann union) war policy was handled by the War Council that was chaired by Leopold IV, making the premier less powerful as the executive. Four premiers served during the Great War - only the last of them, Otto Röttgen, was considered to be particularly influential due to him also serving as Foreign Minister and playing a large role in determining plans for post-war Euclea.
Following the Great War the premier continued to be a weak figure as was the case prior to the war. Under Dietrich Nischwitz (1942-1944) and his successor Dr Franz Rössler (1944-1950) there was an attempt to increase the power of the premier although this was largely unsuccessful. The trend towards a weaker premier was confirmed after the Kirenian-Weranian War with the appointment of Viktor Beer-Hofmann as premier who would be the last premier to not come from the largest party in government. In 1953 a new law stipulated that the premier could not be a serving member of the military.
Despite the trend of coalition governments ending with the two decade single-party rule of the National Consolidation Party (NKP) from 1955 to 1983 the premier continued to serve as a chairman of the government with the premier changing frequently. This was because the NKP's leader who always sat as premier was limited to two three year terms and often only served one of these. The most influential premier of the period, Johannes Zollitsch (1972-1978) would see the political process become more focused around the premier with elections often becoming increasingly focused around the personality of leaders; however the institutional role of the premier remained more limited. The election of the SRPO-OSAI government of Ludolf Ostermann saw the return to coalition governments. Like Zollitsch whilst Ostermann was considered to be more powerful then previous premiers thanks to his use of the media, personal appeal to the public and strong party support the premier's constitutional role remained lacking; decisions still were taken by the Cabinet rather then the premier.
Ostermann's successor as premier, Wolfgang Löscher (1991-1998), embarked on a institutional expansion of the powers of the premier. A separate Chancellery Office was created in 1992 in order to better support the premier whilst the old law requiring the Cabinet to vote on executive decisions was abolished with only major defence, foreign policy and financial issues requiring a compulsory cabinet vote allowing the premier much stronger free reign in determining policy. A final expansion of premier powers was to require every law to be co-signed by the premier in order to pass - previously this was done solely by the holder of the Bundespräsidium. This made the premier both the de facto and de jure co-chief executive alongside the holder of the Bundespräsidium.
The expansion of premier's powers under Löscher has been maintained by subsequent administrations who have generally ensured that a large amount of government decisions remain centralised in the premier's hands at the expense of the legislature. As a result Werania is now considered to be a "chancellor democracy" (Kanzlerdemokratie) with the premier being considered to be more of a presidential figure then in times past. The first female premier was Rasa Šimonytė whose 1999-2009 term of 10 years, 1 month and 24 days is the longest term of any Weranian premier.
Powers and duties
The premier is recognised by the constitution as the head of the executive government of Werania, supervising the operation of the cabinet. The premier's executive functions include chairing cabinet meetings and appointing members of the cabinet having the power to also dismiss them. The premier's legislative roles include presenting bills to the Bundestag, advising the head of state to dissolve the Volkstag and cosigning legislation in order to allow it to pass alongside the Federal Presidency.
The premier is considered to be the de facto chief executive which is partially reflected de jure. As the premier has to co-sign legislation in order for it to pass they have equal executive power to the Federal Presidency, who since 1992 can only take executive action from the advice of ministers. However the Federal Presidency still is the commander-in-chief.
The qualifications for the premier are laid out in the constitution;
- Must be a deputy in either the Bundestag (this in of itself requires Werania nationality, permanent residence in Werania for over 20 years, be over the age of 21).
- Be of good moral conduct (i.e have no record of a felony or not currently under investigation).
- Since a 1953 constitutional amendment premiers must not be currently serving in the military (although former members of the military may serve as premier).
Following the resignation or removal of a cabinet the monarch of Werania assigns a regierungsbildner who is considered to be the most likely candidate to lead a new cabinet. The regierungsbildner is then nominated by the Volkstag to lead a cabinet with a simple-majority ballot being conducted to see if they and their cabinet can command the confidence of the Volkstag. The premier must sit in either of the two houses of the Bundestag in order to be nominated - however since the assassination of premier Dietrich Nischwitz in 1944 all premiers have emerged from the Volkstag rather then the Herrstag. Since the 1950's the regierungsbildner and thus the premier has always come from the majority party in the Volkstag or the senior party in the governing coalition.
Once the premier's candidacy is approved by a majority of Volkstag deputies it is referred to the Herrstag who also by a simple majority must approve of the premier. After that it is presented to the monarch to formally approves of the candidacy. If either the Herrstag or monarch rejects the nomination from the Volkstag the rejecting party and Volkstag are given a month to come to a consensus - ultimately however if no consensus is reached the Volkstag's nomination automatically becomes premier. This occurred in 1918 when the monarch Leopold IV refused to approve of Albrecht Küchenthal as premier; after a month of deadlock outgoing premier Erich Schätzle convinced Leopold to accept the Volkstag's choice of premier without approving it himself. This occurred again in 1998 when the Herrstag rejected Heinrich Schuberth as premier but the Volkstag prevailed.
The premier can only be removed through presenting the resignation of their cabinet to the monarch or losing a vote of no confidence in the Volkstag. The premier cannot be individually removed; votes of confidence are applied to the entire cabinet and must be taken against them. In the role of an immediate vacancy of the premier the vice-chancellor automatically takes the role in a caretaker cabinet; however in the vice-chancellery is also vacant the monarch may appoint a sitting Volkstag member to serve as a caretaker until the Volkstag nominates a candidate for premier. This has only occurred once in 1950 after the entire cabinet of premier Franz Rössler resigned; the monarch as a result appointed Johannes von Günther to serve in a caretaker capacity with von Günther's cabinet lasting a mere two months. Usually if a premier resigns or is removed from office they and their cabinet continue to serve in a caretaker role until a new cabinet is sworn in.
The Palais Beinhoff in Westbrücken, the official residence of the premier.
The Mariendam Schloss in Cislania, the country residence of the premier.
The Adalberthaus in Westbrücken, the de facto residence from 1930-1972.
The premier is entitled to two official residences; the Palais Beinhoff in Westbrücken and the Mariendam Schloss in Cislania. The Palais Beinhoff serves as the residency of the premier as well as the meeting place of the Federal Cabinet and other senior government functions. The Palais Beinhoff as such is considered to be the heart of the Weranian government with the term "Beinhoff" often being a shorthand for the Weranian government.
The Beinhoff was partially destroyed during the Great War leading to government operations to be partially moved to the Adalberthaus, a more modern construction completed prior to the Great War. The Adalberthaus served as the de facto cabinet meeting place and residence of the premier from 1930 onwards although legally the premier's official residence was still the Beinhoff. Starting in 1967 the Weranian government began renovating the Beinhoff completing the process in 1972. Since then the Adalberthaus has mainly been used for lesser governmental work and no longer serves as a residence.
The Mariendam Schloss has been used the country residence of the premier since 1911 when it was purchased for such a purpose by the federal government. Previously the premiers came from the aristocracy and often owned their own property they used as their own country residence; in 1911 it was decided that the federal government would purchase its own property for that purpose. The Mariendam Schloss often serves as an informal meeting place for politicians, foreign leaders and businessmen throughout the year.
The premier has an annual salary of €200,000. The premiers salary is determined a the Volkstag committee that oversees all ministerial salaries every year. The amount was voluntarily lowered from €250,000 to €200,000 in 2012 by premier Emilia Koopmann having remained that value since.
Living former premiers
As of 2020 there are seven living former premiers. The last premier to die was Renatas Vinkauskas in 2017, who served as premier from 1980 to 1984.
born 1927 (age 93)
born 1942 (age 79)
born 1952 (age 69)
born 1939 (age 81)
born 1968 (age 52)
born 1959 (age 61)
born 1955 (age 66)