Vice-Chancellor of Germany

The vice-chancellor of Germany, unofficially the vice-chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Vizekanzler der Bundesrepublik Deutschland), officially the deputy to the federal chancellor (German: Stellvertreter des Bundeskanzlers), is the second highest ranking German cabinet member. The chancellor is the head of government and, according to the constitution, gives this title of deputy to one of the federal ministers. It is common that the title is given to the major minister provided by the (smaller) coalition partner.

Deputy to the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Stellvertreter des Bundeskanzlers
Coat of arms of the German Government
Robert Habeck
since 8 December 2021
StyleMr. Vice-Chancellor (informal)
His Excellency (diplomatic)
StatusDeputy of the head of Government
Member ofFederal Cabinet
SeatAs Federal Minister; currently Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Berlin/Bonn
NominatorChancellor of Germany or the coalition party
AppointerChancellor of Germany
Term lengthAt the Chancellor's pleasure
Constituting instrumentGerman Basic Law (German Constitution)
Formation24 May 1949; 73 years ago (1949-05-24)
First holderFranz Blücher

In everyday politics, being a vice chancellor is more an honorary title. The vice-chancellor may head cabinet meetings when the chancellor is abroad. The function of vice chancellor is to use the specific constitutional powers of the chancellor in case that the chancellor is unable to perform their duties. This kind of substitution has never been made use of in the history of the Federal Republic.

Should a chancellor resign, die or be permanently unable to perform the duties of office, the vice chancellor does not automatically become the next chancellor. In such a case the Federal President assigns a minister to serve as acting chancellor until the Bundestag (parliament) elects a new chancellor.[1]).

Although Stellvertreter is the constitutional term, most Germans know the deputy by the expression Vice-Chancellor (Vizekanzler). Chancellor (Kanzler) is the traditional term for the German head of government since 1867/71. A general deputy was introduced by law in 1878 (Stellvertretungsgesetz). In the Weimar Republic of 19191933, the office of Vizekanzler was mentioned in the internal reglement of the government. The current office or title has existed since the constitution of 1949.

The current vice-chancellor of Germany is Robert Habeck, who took office on 8 December 2021, succeeding Olaf Scholz, who gave up the role in order to become chancellor.

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