Executive committee of the State Parliament
The Speaker of the State Parliament, their deputies and secretaries together form the presidium. Currently the presidium is made up of 17 MPs from all parliamentary groups. The presidium supports the Speaker with matters concerning administration of the State Parliament. The presidium has a say in important staffing decisions, in drafting the State Parliament’s budget, in the use of the rooms in the State Parliament building, in promulgating the house rules and access to the records of the State Parliament.
In addition, the members of the presidium help the Speaker to lead the plenary sittings: the Speaker or a vice president ensure parliamentary order in the plenary session, each with the help of two secretaries – usually one from the governing parties and one from the opposition parties. Together the three presiding presidium members form the chair of the session. The secretaries take motions and requests to speak, read out documents, keep lists of speakers, oversee the corrections to the plenary minutes and count the results of votes together with the Speaker.
The range of responsibilities of the presidium shows that it is an important executive committee within the State Parliament. Members of the presidium can be recalled if the majority of all Members of the State Parliament request this and two-thirds of all Members approve this motion (Article 18 Para. 4 of the Constitution of Lower Saxony). In spite of their special position, the members of the presidium are not condemned to political abstention. They take part in parliamentary votes and can, as soon as they have left their elevated presiding seats, take the floor in debates just like the other MPs.