|President of Baltia|
Republikpräsident fon Baltia
|Term length||Six years |
renewable once, consecutively
|Inaugural holder||Anton Schmidt|
|Formation||9 April 1919|
Baltia is a parliamentary republic in which the President is a ceremonial figurehead but leads the Council of State, is the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces and exercises some functions determined by the Constitution. The President is obliged to suspend their membership in any political party for the term in office. Upon assuming office, the authority and duties of the President in all other elected or appointed offices terminate automatically.
The President is elected, since the Constitutional change in 1948, by universal adult suffrage for a term of six years. They can be reelected any number of times but not more than twice consecutively and must be a native-born Baltish citizen. The 13th and current President of Baltia is Christine Kallenbach, the second woman ever to hold the position.
After Baltia's independence the matter of whether Baltia should be a republic or a constitutional monarchy was much debated (see Wilhelm Karl of Urach) and the outcome was a parliamentary republic with a weak presidency and few powers. The authors of the Constitution, with memories of the Russian emperors' abuses of power, tried to avoid concentrating too much power in one person's hands by all means possible.
According to the original Constitution, the President of Baltia is elected by an electoral college comprising the two chambers of the Reichtag of Baltia —the Landtag and the Senate— meeting in joint session. A two-thirds vote was required to elect on any of the first three rounds of balloting; after that, only a simple majority was required.
From 1936, the President Karl Ullmann greatly increased his powers and duties by suppressing some articles of the Constitution, changing the country's system to a de facto presidential republic based on the cult to his person.
When Baltia re-established itself as an independent nation on 5 May 1945, the party leaders forming the unity government decided not to frame a new constitution, reverting instead to that of 1920 in its whole, afraid that lengthy discussion might provoke the Red Army could invade Baltia again. In December 1945, Reinhold Meisser was elected new President of Baltia by the Parliament, being the last time that this type of election is used. In the following months, the government and the other political parties began to work on a deep reform of the Constitution, which among other changes, would determine the direct popular vote to elect the President. The approval of the constitutional referendum in 1948 changed definitely the system of election of the President of the Republic. Starting with the 1951 reelection of Reinhold Meisser, all presidents have in fact been elected by the Baltish people.
The President of Baltia is elected directly by the people to serve for six years and is limited to two consecutive terms of office. Pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, the President is elected by an absolute majority. If no candidate succeeds in passing this threshold, the second round of voting is held with the participation of the two candidates with the largest and second largest number of votes respectively. If there is only one candidate standing in a presidential election then the electorate is granted the opportunity to either accept or reject him or her in a referendum.
In order to be registered as a candidate in the presidential election, one must be a Baltish citizen, be at least 35 years old on the day of the first round of the election and be nominated by registered parties which have received at least ten seats in the preceding parliamentary election or collect at least 20,000 signatures of enfranchised citizens.
InaugurationIn assuming office the President must subscribe to a formal declaration, made publicly and in the presence of members of the Landtag, judges of the Supreme Court, members of the Council of State and other "public personages". The inauguration of the President takes place in the Blue Hall in Riga Castle. The affirmation is specified in the Constitution:
- In Baltish: "Ich X.X., de ich fon baltisch Folk zu Republikpräsident fon Baltia gewählt worden bin, gelobe hiermit, de ich in de Ausübung mein Amt als Republikpräsident de Ferfassung unt de Gesetze fon de Republik aufrichtig unt ehrlich beachten unt nach besser Können de Wohl fon de baltisch Folk Mehr werden."
- In English: "I, X.X., whom the people of Baltia have elected President of the Republic of Baltia, affirm that in the execution of my office as President I shall sincerely and faithfully observe the Constitution and laws of the Republic and to the best of my ability promote the welfare of the Baltish people."
Powers and role
The presidential functions and powers are directly defined in the Constitution. The President's most prominent duties include:
- Commander-in-Chief of the Baltish Defence Forces and Chairman of the Council of State.
- Appoints the Prime Minister and Ministers.
- Declares regular legislative elections and under certain circumstances may dissolving the Landtag and call to extraordinary legislative elections.
- Signs and promulgates or vetoes the promulgation of laws.
- Convenes extraordinary sessions of the Landtag.
- Appoints the Chairman of the Supreme Court, the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Baltia, the Auditor General, the Chancellor of Justice and the Chief of Defence of the Defence Forces.
- Appoints ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions abroad.
- Represents Baltia at home and abroad.
- Exercises the power to pardon individual offenders on behalf of the country.
- Confers state decorations, military and diplomatic ranks.
Office and residences
The official residence and office of the President of Baltia is Kaiserwald Palace in Northern District of Riga. Kaiserwald Palace (formerly Katharinental Palace) is a Petrine Baroque palace built for Catherine I of Russia by Peter the Great. After the death of Peter the Great, the palace received little attention from the Russian royal family. It was sporadically visited, by the empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great. Between 1812 and 1917, the palace was the residence of the Governor-General of Baltia. After the declaration of independence in 1918, the palace became state property and since 1922 is the residence of the President.
The Office of the President (Präsidialamt) is situated in the Kaiserwald Palace. It organizes the President's work, supports the President in the performance of his duties as Head of State and coordinates his working relationships to the Baltish government and other administrations. Its top official, is the Head of the Office of the President (Chef fon de Präsidialamt).
In addition to the Kaiserwald Palace, the President also has at his disposal Tyszkiewicz Palace in Polangen (as summer official residence) and Allatzkiwi Castle in Kallasten Municipality (mainly used as country official residence), near the city of Dorpat and Lake Peipus.
Since 2011, the salary of the President is 11,500€ per month or 138,000€ per year.
Incapacity and succession
The President of Baltia does not have a vice president. If the President is temporarily prevented from performing his or her duties, the President of the Landtag becomes acting president until the president’s incapacity ceases. If the President dies or if the Landtag declares that the President is permanently unable to carry out his or her duties, again the President of the Landtag becomes acting president and a new president is elected as soon as possible.
If the Chancellor of Justice or the Council of State by majority deem that the President of the Republic is guilty of high treason or a crime against humanity, the matter shall be communicated to the Landtag. If the Landtag, by two-thirds of the votes cast, decides that charges are to be brought, the prosecutor-general prosecutes the President in the Supreme Court of Baltia and the President abstains from office for the duration of the proceedings. However, this process has never been taken in Baltia.
List of Presidents (1919-present)
|N.||Name||Took office||Left office||Political Party||Elected|
|9 April 1919||29 April 1921||BB||1919|
|Member of the Council of Baltia (1917-1919). Prime Minister (1918). Elected as Regent by the Council of Baltia in 1918 and as President by the Constituent Assembly in 1919.|
|29 April 1921||29 April 1927||BSDAP||1921|
|Member of the Council of Baltia (1917-1919). President of the Constituent Assembly (1919-1921). Elected as President by the Reichtag in 1921.|
|29 April 1927||29 April 1933||BB||1927|
|Governor of Memeland (1923). Elected as President by the Reichtag in 1927.|
|29 April 1933||24 December 1935||BB||1933|
|Member of the Constituent Assembly (1919-1921). Member of the Landtag (1921-1933). President of the Parliament of Baltia (1921-1923). Prime Minister (1925-1931). Elected as President by the Reichtag in 1933. Resigned in 1935.|
|24 December 1935||12 January 1936||BNU||—|
|As President of the Senate, served as Acting President, following Pasche's resignation.|
|12 January 1936||15 June 1940||BNU||1936|
|Member of the Landtag (1932-1936). Prime Minister (1935-1936). Elected as President by the Reichtag in 1936.|
|15 June 1940||17 June 1940||BNU||—|
|17 June 1940||21 July 1940||Independent||—|
|No Baltish presidency (21 July 1940 – 7 November 1941)|
Peter O. Kling
|7 November 1941||22 October 1945||Independent||—|
|Member of the Council of Baltia (1917-1919). Elected as President by the Baltish government in exile in 1941. Resigned in 1945.|
|22 October 1945||15 December 1945||SP||—|
|As President of the Senate, served as Acting President, following Kling's resignation.|
|15 December 1945||15 December 1957||SP||1945, 1951|
|Member of the Landtag (1932-1939). Prime Minister (1945). Elected as President by the Reichtag in 1945 and re-elected by direct popular vote in 1951.|
|15 December 1957||15 December 1969||SP||1957, 1963|
|Member of the Landtag (1945-1953). Prime Minister (1945-1952). Elected as President by direct popular vote in 1957 and re-elected in 1963.|
|15 December 1969||15 December 1981||BFP||1969, 1975|
|Member of the Landtag (1949-1966). Minister of Foreign Affairs (1951-1958). Prime Minister (1958-1966). Elected as President by direct popular vote in 1969 and re-elected in 1975.|
|15 December 1981||2 August 1986||SP||1981|
|Member of the Landtag (1945-1966). Prime Minister (1952-1958). Elected as President by direct popular vote in 1981. Resigned in 1986 due to poor health.|
|2 August 1986||14 October 1986||SP||—|
|As President of the Landtag, served as Acting President, following Mucke's resignation.|
|14 October 1986||14 October 1992||BFP||1986|
|Member of the Landtag (1966-1986). Elected as President by direct popular vote in 1986.|
|14 October 1992||14 October 2004||Independent||1992, 1998|
|Director of the Baltish Institute (1982-1992). Elected as President by direct popular vote in 1992 and re-elected in 1998.|
Thomas H. Imhoff
|14 October 2004||14 October 2016||ZP||2004, 2010|
|Member of the Landtag (1995-2004). Minister of Foreign Affairs (1999-2002). Elected as President by direct popular vote in 2004 and re-elected in 2010.|
|14 October 2016||Incumbent||Independent||2016|
|Member of the European Court of Auditors (2004-2016). Elected as President by direct popular vote in 2016.|
Pre-Republican Heads of State
|N.||Name||Took office||Left office||Political Party||Elected|
|25 March 1918||2 December 1918||Independent||—|
|2 December 1918||9 April 1919||BB||—|
Living former Presidents
|Name||Term||Date of birth||Age|
|Veronika Finke||1992-2004||1 December 1937||80|
|Thomas Henrik Imhoff||2004-2016||26 December 1953||64|