Corona and the self-disempowerment of parliaments

Corona and the self-disempowerment of parliaments

Reichstag. Image: cocoparisienne

The bundestag will nod the money for the state of emergency – and then put itself in quarantine. A comment

Because in these times people go out to the streets every day to do something for their health (a good reason), to get some air and sun, but also to show that they do not agree with the house arrest (another good reason) and to defend the public space against an illegitimate state of emergency, one wonders also and more and more: where are the democratic authorities?? The parliaments? The supreme courts? Their objections and their judgment?

And all the more so because the state of emergency is based on nothing more than non-objective, unsubstantiated, inconsistent and controversial information – read: the unclear nature and effect of the so-called new corona virus. Science is divided several times.

The hour of the executive

It is the hour of the executive. It is the chancellor, the ministers, the minister-presidents and right in the front the asylum tourism minister of bavaria, who have overridden basic rights on a daily basis: you are no longer allowed to leave the country. (there was something.) travel is prohibited or restricted, meetings forbidden, contacts reduced to one person, freedom of profession no longer applies, freedom of information made more difficult, freedom of the press attacked – a gigantic abuse of the state’s monopoly on the use of force.

It is the hour of the executive – and that is exactly the problem. For the state power consists of more than one force. For example, from the legislature, the parliaments, first of all the bundestag. Quote:

"As a directly elected representative of the people, the bundestag has another very important task in addition to its function as a legislature: to control the federal government. (…) however, the bundestag also forms bodies whose task includes the control of the government. These are, on the one hand, the standing committees, whose primary task is to participate in legislation. However, this also includes special bodies such as the committees of inquiry, which are used almost exclusively to monitor the government."

This is what it says on the bundestag website. And in the basic law the institution bundestag is far ahead of the federal government.

Where is this body? Where is the general debate in the bundestag about the corona regime, which is worthy of discussion?? The exchange of arguments, the search for the best way out of the possible crisis. If anything, then democratically legitimized special measures.

The emergency program

This week is session week, usually five days, plenary debates and resolutions, committee meetings, including two committees of inquiry. Already two weeks ago, when the so-called crisis management became apparent, bundestag president wolfgang schauble wrote to the parliamentary groups that they wanted to maintain the parliamentary business.

Now the opposite is happening. Four of the five session days are cancelled, there are no regular committees, no investigation committees on the breitscheidplatz attack and the toll debacle. There will be a single day of meetings on wednesday and it will serve to secure the state of emergency.

The federal government introduces its emergency budget, called the supplementary budget, with additional spending of about 120 billion euros.

At present, there is no sign that there is any relevant parliamentary opposition to the crude national emergency program. The parliamentary groups have agreed on a debate lasting about one and a half hours, followed by the adoption of resolutions every half hour.

Unprecedented self-disempowerment

Fundamental criticism will therefore not be voiced. But perhaps a few dissidents can be discovered, as MP hans-christian strobele did in 1999, when the federal republic and his party bundnis 90. In these times of general conformity, dissenters were already a democratic gain.

The bundestag will probably agree, then leave and retreat into self-imposed political quarantine for the next four weeks. It is an unprecedented self-disempowerment.

How consciously it is happening is shown by the following process. The bundestag changes its rules of procedure, according to which it wants to have a quorum even if only a quarter of the deputies plus one additional mandate person is present.

In the state parliament of one of the german states, there is currently even a discussion about whether to introduce the so-called "immunity" of the deputies should not relax. For example, delegates may not be criminally investigated until parliament agrees and waives the delegate’s immunity. This is intended to prevent the executive, such as a public prosecutor’s office, from overriding the legislature.

Under the auspices of corona, the following proposal was made: if a health authority declares a state of emergency, as is the case now, this should in the future also apply to parliamentarians, who would then no longer be allowed to enter parliament. This would be in perspective the programmatic self-sacrifice of the parliaments. And from the "immunity" of an elected deputy would remain only bitter irony.

Prohibition of contact – objections?

How often, when decisions are taken wantonly, they come out cheap and laughable. Because the executors – fortunately – did not really dare to impose a strict curfew with soldiers in front of the houses, the measure is rhetorically slimmed down: it is now called curfew, including the duty of the citizens to inform the law enforcers "good reasons" for their exit. "Where do you go?" – "to the sun." – "why?" – "for my health." this is the forced form of: "is it any of your business, cop?"

And now the thing with the "contact ban". Actually an unbelievable overreach of those who think they have the right to act in the name of the state. But at the same time the contact ban itself is restricted again.

Two people are allowed to go out together, if they keep a distance of 1 meter 50 seconds. That means, if you keep a distance of two meters to other persons, they are allowed to go out together in threes, tens, hundreds in the public space. And that’s exactly how it looks there. In supermarkets, on buses, in squares.

After the self-disempowerment of the parliaments, the society needs places and forms how to make the objections and the contradiction to the irresponsible and illegitimate state of emergency possible and visible. Meetings are forbidden.

But how about for example a goose march demonstration? A procession of several people marching through the streets at a distance of two meters one after the other in a goose walk? By pure chance in the same direction and completely health-conscious with a cloth in front of the face.

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