The President flanked by two Secretaries.

The President flanked by two Secretaries. (© DBT/Henning Schacht)

The Secretaries are Members who are nominated for this position by their parliamentary groups and elected by the whole Bundestag. There are no rules concerning their number, but it is usual for at least 40 Secretaries to be elected so that they can alternate frequently on sitting days and pursue their main duties as parliamentarians.

In the plenary, the President or one of the Vice-Presidents and two Secretaries form the Chair. The Secretaries sit behind the rostrum to the left and right of the President in the Chair. As a rule, one belongs to the governing majority and one to the opposition.

They accept motions and requests for leave to speak, read out documents, draw up lists of speakers, supervise the correction of the minutes of plenary proceedings and, acting jointly as the Chair, establish the outcome of votes.