Role of the Speaker
At the head of Parliament
The Speaker of the State Parliament (President of the State Parliament) is the highest representative of the Parliament of Lower Saxony and thus represents all MPs. As the first representative of Parliament – the directly elected representation of the people – the Speaker is by protocol the ‘first lady’ or ‘first gentleman’ of the state. The parliamentary Speaker is responsible for making sure that the rules of procedure are followed in the plenary sittings. With the power of words, the Speaker must ensure that while debates may be hard hitting, that they are also free of personal hostility. The Speaker is the public face of the State Parliament, heads the State Parliament administration and exercises the Budget Act and disciplinary power in the parliamentary building. The Speaker is also involved in the legislative process: legislation is enacted with the Speaker’s signature. Last but not least, as the highest ranking representative of Parliament, the Speaker accepts petitions and makes themselves available to citizens in relation to parliamentary matters.
The special representative role of the Speaker requires that they lead the plenary sessions fairly and impartially whilst ensuring compliance with the rules of procedure and order in the house. The Speaker is, however, not condemned to political abstention. The Speaker takes part in parliamentary votes and can, as soon as they have left their elevated presiding seat, take the floor in debates just like any other Member of Parliament. The presidium of the State Parliament helps the Speaker to fulfil their role.