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Information bulletin
No. 130 (March 9, 1948)

German constitutions,   pp. [3]-8 PDF (3.8 MB)


Page 8


lacked unity. The southern part of the
zone included the truncated portions
of Wuerttemberg and Baden, each of
which formed a separate state. The
northern half of the zone was corm-
posed of half a dozen more or less
disparate elements, remnants of former
Prussian provinces and other German
states, which by an ordinance dated
30 August 1946 was finally organized
into the Rhineland-Palatinate. The
Saar from the very beginning was
treated  differently and has  since
been separated entirely from the rest
of the French Zone.
THUS, MORE than any other part of
Germany, the French Zone lacked
cohesion. It contained no important
administrative centers; all the pro-
vincial capitals remained outside its
boundaries. The situation was ag-
gravated by existing difficulties of
communications between the northern
and southern portions of the zone.
The process of reestablishing self-
government in the area began in
September 1945. About the same time
trade union activity was permitted,
and, by the end of the year, political
parties made their appearance in the
zone. In May 1946 the communities in
the French Zone began preparation of
electoral lists for municipal elections
which took place on Sept. 15, 1946.
On Oct. 13, county elections took
place for county assemblies which, in
turn, by Nov. 17, designated members
to the consultative assemblies.
In Wuerttemberg and in Baden,
each consultative assembly was com-
posed of two electoral colleges, in the
Rhineland-Palatinate of four: two for
the Rhineland and two for the Palatin-
ate. One electoral college was elect-
ed from all the county assemblies of
the state and the other from the cities
of more than 7,000 population.
The Christian parties emerged as
the strongest throughout the zone.
They held a clear majority in the
consultative assemblies of all three
states. The assemblies convened in
November 1946 and proceeded to
draft constitutions for their respective
states. The constitutions were finally
reviewed, approved by the French
High Command and voted upon by
the people on May 18, 1947. The
referendum concerning the constitu-
tions was held simultaneously with
The American Overseas Women's Volunteer Service (AOWVS), Frank-
furt sector, is helping needy families at the Schwanheim displaced per-
sons camp. Mrs. Joseph Schul (right) hands a few articles to a camp
inmate.
the election of state assemblies, leg-
islatures, or parliaments.
In Wuerttemberg and in Baden the
electorate accepted the constitutions
by comfortable majorities. In the
Rhineland - Palatinate  it  narrowly
missed defeat as did the separate
referendum held on the school ques-
tion. In the elections to the legisla-
ture the Christian parties registered
losses in all the states, but were still
the strongest party.
The constitutions of the states in
the French Zone bear marked re-
semblance to the Bavarian constitu-
tion. The hand of the Christian par-
ties is clearly discernible in each one
of them. The three constitutions con-
tain long and detailed bills of rights.
The legislative power is uniformly
vested in a unicameral legislature
elected by the people.
The minister-president is elected by
the legislature and is responsible to
it. He in turn selects his ministers
who must be approved by the legis-
(Signal Corps photo)
lature. The ministers are responsible
to the minister-president on matters
of over-all policy and to the legis-
lature an matters falling within their
functional fields.
A CONSTITUTIONAL court is
1established to review legislation
and pass upon its constitutionality.
All three constitutions take special
pains to guard church interest. Re-
ligious instruction is to be imparted
in all schools and to be supervised
by the churches. Permissive clauses
for the socialization of basic indus-
tries are included in all the consti-
tutions. Adequate compensation is
required in all cases. Property rights,
especially land and real estate rights,
are safeguarded.
All constitutions give the minister-
president power in cases of emer-
gency to suspend for brief periods
certain of the basic rights granted to
the citizens. In all such cases the
legislature must immediately be in-
(Continued on Page 28)
INFORMATION BULLETIN                             8
MARCH 9, 1943


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