In case of the Chancellor's absence, the Vice-Chancellor acts in his place, for instance heading cabinet meetings. The Vice-Chancellor will not automatically become Chancellor for the rest of the term if the Chancellor dies or becomes unable to fulfill his duties in any other way. It is the Federal President who asks a Minister to fulfill the Chancellor's duties until the Federal Parliament elects a new Chancellor. Usually, the Federal President asks the Vice-Chancellor.
Officially, it is the Chancellor who elects the Vice-Chancellor. Since coalition governments are usual in German politics, the Vice-Chancellor in most cases represents the junior coalition partner and is often the chairman of that party.
The prefix "Vize-" is derived from the Latin "vicis" meaning "in place of". "Kanzler" is the traditional title of the head of government in Germany.
The proper term is in fact not Vizekanzler, although this word is generally used. The German constitution (Basic Law) in article 69 calls him the Stellvertreter des Bundeskanzlers (representative, deputy).
After Papen's resignation, the office of Vice-Chancellor remained vacant until the demise of the Third Reich.
|#||Name||Term start||Term end||Party||Portfolio|
|1||Franz Blücher (1896–1959)||20 September 1949||29 October 1957||FDP/FVP||Marshall Plan|
|2||Ludwig Erhard (1897–1977)||29 October 1957||16 October 1963||CDU||Economics|
|3||Erich Mende (1916–1998)||17 October 1963||28 October 1966||FDP||Intra-German Relations|
|4||Hans-Christoph Seebohm |
|8 November 1966||30 November 1966||CDU||Transport|
|5||Willy Brandt (1913–1992)||1 December 1966||20 October 1969||SPD||Foreign Minister|
|6||Walter Scheel (b. 1919)||21 October 1969||16 May 1974||FDP||Foreign Minister|
|7||Hans-Dietrich Genscher (b. 1927)||17 May 1974||17 September 1982||FDP||Foreign Minister|
|8||Egon Franke (1913–1995)||17 September 1982||1 October 1982||SPD||Intra-German Relations|
|9||Hans-Dietrich Genscher (b. 1927)||1 October 1982||17 May 1992||FDP||Foreign Minister|
|10||Jürgen Möllemann (1945–2003)||18 May 1992||21 January 1993||FDP||Economics|
|11||Klaus Kinkel (b. 1936)||21 January 1993||26 October 1998||FDP||Foreign Minister|
|12||Joschka Fischer (b. 1948)||27 October 1998||22 November 2005||Green||Foreign Minister|
|13||Franz Müntefering (b. 1940)||22 November 2005||21 November 2007||SPD||Labour and Social Affairs|
|14||Frank-Walter Steinmeier (b. 1956)||21 November 2007||present||SPD||Foreign Minister|