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A Constitution for Alsace-Lorraine (1911)

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1. The following provision is inserted into the Reich Constitution as Article 6a: As long as the stipulations in §1, §2, Section 1, and §25 of the law on the constitution of Alsace-Lorraine of [ . . . ] 1911 are in effect, Alsace-Lorraine will have 3 votes in the Bundesrat.

– The Alsace-Lorraine votes will not be counted if the presidential vote would acquire the majority only with the inclusion of these votes, or would tip the balance in the sense of Article 7, Section 3, Sentence 3. The same holds for the vote on constitutional amendments. Alsace-Lorraine is considered a federal state in the sense of Article 6, Section 2 and Articles 7 and 8.

2. §25 of the draft of a law on the constitution of Alsace-Lorraine will take the following form:

The delegates of Alsace-Lorraine to the Bundesrat will be appointed and instructed by the governor.

The following shall be noted to explain this proposal:

If the draft law refrained from granting Alsace-Lorraine representation in the Bundesrat, the decisive reason for this was the concern that any granting of Bundesrat votes would lead to a shift in the balance of power as established by Article 6 of the Reich Constitution, in particular, that Prussia’s influence would be enhanced. To avoid the latter, while at the same time giving Alsace-Lorraine a voting right in the Bundesrat, the motions from the Center Party seek to set up the position of the governor in such a way that it would no longer be that of a representative of the Kaiser in the Empire, but rather that of a lifetime president of a republic. The proposal that the Royal Prussian State Ministry – with His Majesty's approval – has decided to put forth in the interest of bringing about the reform of the constitution of Alsace-Lorraine should offer a satisfactory way out of these difficulties to all of the non-Prussian governments.

The justification for why Alsace-Lorraine is to have no voice in constitutional amendments is that it did not participate in the agreement on the Federal Constitution and is not a member of the federal state. To the extent that the presidential power has a veto right according to Articles 5 and 37 of the Reich Constitution, no importance is attached to the votes of Alsace-Lorraine. Accordingly, the proposed introduction of a voting right will have a material importance for all those matters on which the decisions of the Bundesrat are made with a simple majority. According to existing law, the presidential power tips the scale even if it does not have the majority on its side, but only 29 votes, that is, in case of a tie vote (Art. 7 Section 3, Sentence 3 of the Constitution), whereas a motion put forth or supported by it is rejected only when at least 30 votes are cast against it. The introduction of 3 votes for Alsace-Lorraine would alter the balance, since a tie vote is no longer possible if all votes are cast, and the majority would be 31 votes. Hence, in the future, Prussia, in order to prevail with its opinion, would have to win two more votes than is presently the case, whereas a motion put forth or supported by it could be brought down if only one vote more than at present is put on the scale against it. To rule out the possibility that the presidential power, by influencing the Alsace-Lorraine votes, makes the governments that are part of the minority into a majority, which is otherwise not possible, the Alsace-Lorraine votes shall not be counted if Prussia could tip the balance only with them. Whether they go for or against the Prussian position when all votes are cast will matter only – as the attached table shows – if the votes are 31:30. The practical consequence of this arrangement would be that whereas the Alsace-Lorraine votes would be available to the non-Prussian federal states to form a majority against the presidential power, they would not be available to the latter to form a majority. They can tip the balance only if they are cast against the Prussian position. Thus, with these provisos, the introduction of 3 votes for Alsace-Lorraine would merely result in a diminution of the influence of presidential power.

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