Deputies elected to the Landtag who belong to the same political party can join together to form a parliamentary group (faction). The parliamentary groups elect an executive, made up of a chairperson, deputy chairpersons and further members. The respective chairpersons are responsible for the political leadership of the parliamentary groups and have a major influence on the formulation, implementation and portrayal of the work of the parliamentary groups.
The 17th Landtag consists of five parliamentary groups:
The parliamentary groups are the bearers of the political opinion-forming process. This is where political questions are discussed and the policy of the parliamentary groups are laid down. The sessions - particularly those of the big parliamentary groups - are prepared by special working groups.
According to article 79 paragraph 2 of the Land constitution, members of Parliament are not bound by orders and instructions. Nevertheless, members of the same parliamentary group vote almost always unanimously for or against any motion. This obligation to vote in line with party policy is a consequence of the parliamentary system of government. In order to have a stable government, the majority in Parliament has to back it - at least in public, whereas the opposition has to critizise it.