The Council of State was in the German Democratic Republic the formally highest collective committee, which was created with law over the formation of the Council of State from 12 September 1960 as follow-up organ of the office of the president of the GDR after death William Piecks. Thus the structure of state of the GDR was continued to adapt to the Soviet model.
The chairman of the Council of State was according to condition of the GDR of 1968 and diplomatic minutes a formal head of state of the GDR, contrary to the subordinate highest state representatives of the chairman of the Council of Ministers as a boss of the government of the GDR and the president of the people chamber as a parliament boss. First Council of State chairmen was walter Ulbricht. The Council of State consisted beside the chairman and its deputies of 16 members and a secretary. Secretary of the Council of State was until 1971 Otto Got. The members of the Council of State were selected in each case for five years by the people chamber. In the course of the deprivation of power the Council of State created by it lost Ulbrichts as consulting and a decision-making body starting from 1970 strongly at influence.
To its tasks belonged in accordance with article 66-75 of the condition of the GDR the advertisement from elections to the people chamber and the other representative governments, the appointment of the members of the national defence council, the practice of the amnesty and power of pardon, obligatory the interpretation and announcing of laws, the ratification of international contracts, the accreditation of diplomatic representatives and the award of national medals and honors. The Council of State took over also honour sponsorships for child-rich families.
Important practical meaning had formally regulated the secretariat of the Council of State with about 200 coworkers as an editor of the inputs of citizens (in the GDR jargon Council of State inputs so mentioned), in the input decree from 27 February 1961. Authorities and enterprises were obligated to the information and co-operation. Resolutions of the Council of State took place by decree with legal power.
Further Council of State chairmen were in the consequence Willi Stoph, Erich Honecker and Egon Krenz, the two latter also at the same time Secretaries-General of the central committee of the SED and chairmen of the of the SED, which were the actually most influential functions in the power structure of the GDR. Last Council of State chairmen of the GDR was during the Wendezeit 1989/1990 Manfred Gerlach. Deputy Council of State chairmen were in each case all chairmen of the party of the GDR coalitions.
On 5 April 1990 the Council of State was abolished with the constituent meeting of the first freely selected people chamber by a constitutional amendment. Since for the foreseeable short transitional phase up to the combination with the Federal Republic of Germany the office of the president was not any longer introduced, the presidency of the people chamber with the powers of the Council of State became in accordance with the new article 75a of the GDR condition and the president of the people chamber with the powers of the Council of State chairman entrusts. Sabine miner Pohl was thereby as a people chamber president from 5 April to 2 October 1990 a last head of state of the GDR.
Similar highest collective of Councils of State gave Polish People's Republic it in the Soviet Union, in Romania and in Yugoslavia.
The Council of State had its seat at the Marx angel place 1 (since 1994 again lock place) in Berlin center. Here above all honor meetings and diplomatic receipts took place. The building was established in the years 1963 to 1964. Into the front "the Karl dear farmhand portal in such a way specified is asymmetrically integrated ", which former portal IV of the city lock, from whose balcony made of Karl dear farmhand had proclaimed "the socialist republic "on 9 November 1918. It consists however only to 20 per cent of Originalteilen. The colored Glasfenster in the stairway were arranged by walter Womacka.
From 1999 to 2001 for the completion of the new Office of the Federal Chancellor at the realm tag building the Federal Chancellor at that time Gerhard had its citizen of Berlin service seat in the Council of State building.
Since 1993 the building standing under monument protection was basicreorganized from 2003 to 2005 for 35 million euro and converted for school purposes. The power symbols of the GDR remained received with the monument-fair reorganization, among them the glass picture from Womacka as well as a mosaic of the GDR state coat of arms with hammer and circle after a draft by Heinrich Jungbloedt in a lecture hall.
Since beginning of 2006 use two private universities, the manager university European School OF management and Technology (ESMT) as well as the Hertie School OF Governance, the former Council of State building. The building is put to them free of charge by the federation at the disposal.
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