The Bundestag (Federal Diet; pronounced [ˈbʊndəstaːk]) is the parliament of Germany. It was established with Germany's constitution of 1949 (the Grundgesetz) and is the successor of the earlier Reichstag. Its current President is Norbert Lammert.
With the dissolution of the German Confederation in 1866 and the founding of the German Empire (Deutsches Reich) in 1871, the Reichstag was established as the German parliament in Berlin. Two decades later, the current parliament building was erected. The Reichstag delegates were elected by direct and equal male suffrage (and not the three-class electoral system prevailing in Prussia until 1918). The Reichstag did not participate in the appointment of the Chancellor until the parliamentary reforms of October 1918. After the Revolution of November 1918 and the establishment of the Weimar Constitution, women were given the right to vote for (and serve in) the Reichstag, and the parliament could use the no-confidence vote to force the chancellor or any cabinet member to resign. In March 1933, one month after the Reichstag fire, parliament ceded its powers to the Federal Government of Chancellor Adolf Hitler by passing the Enabling act of 1933. Afterward it met only rarely to unanimously rubber-stamp the decisions of the government. It last convened on 26 April 1942.
With the new constitution of 1949, the Bundestag was established as the new (West) German parliament. Because West Berlin was not officially under the jurisdiction of the Constitution and because of the Cold War, the Bundestag met in Bonn in several different buildings, including (provisionally) a former water works facility. In addition, citizens of West Berlin were unable to vote in elections to the Bundestag, and were instead represented by 20 non-voting delegates, indirectly elected by the city's House of Representatives.
The Bundeshaus in Bonn is the former Parliament Building of Germany. The sessions of the German Bundestag were held there from 1949 until its move to Berlin in 1999. Today it houses the International Congress Centre Bundeshaus Bonn and in the north areas the branch office of the Bundesrat (Upper House). The southern areas will become part of the “UN Campus” in 2008.
The former Reichstag building housed a history exhibition (Fragen an die deutsche Geschichte) and served occasionally as a conference center. The Reichstag building was also occasionally used as a venue for sittings of the Bundestag and its committees and the Bundesversammlung, the body which elects the German Federal President. However the Soviets harshly protested against the use of the Reichstag building by institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany and tried to disturb the sittings by flying supersonic jets close to the building.
Since 1999, the German parliament has again assembled in Berlin in its original Reichstag building, which dates from the 1890s and underwent a significant renovation under the lead of British architect Sir Norman Foster. In 2005, a small aircraft crashed close to the German parliament. It was then decided to ban private air traffic over Central Berlin.