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Germany Politics

So far, six constitutions since 1871 have been the existing nation-state "Germany" in force
set, the data will be under their constitution constitutional history of ideas and issues as
Constitutive Act of the respective German state considered. The 23rd May 1949 is for the presentimportant founding date because on that day still German Constitution was proclaimed in effect today.

The North German Confederation, which was founded in 1866 as a military alliance, received on 1 July 1867 a constitution, which was converted into a monarchical state under Prussian leadership. In this Constitution, the following are based constitutions of the German Empire from 1871 to 1919, and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of 1949, also considered as a Begründungsakt of the Federal Republic still adhered to international law subject. After the proclamation on 18 January 1871 occurred on 16 April 1871, the Constitution of the German Reich in force. Constitutionally, these were mainly to the accession of sovereign states (Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, Hesse) to the North German Confederation, whose "name change" in "Deutsches Reich" and the introduction of the imperial title.
1918/1919, the transition was made into a new form of government: on 9 November 1918 was the "German Republic" was proclaimed, which the Constitution enters into force on 11 August 1919 has been constituted. The constitution also called Weimar Constitution was continued during the reign of the Nazi party from 1933 to 1945 formal, but material was mostly suspended. In postwar Germany from 1945 to 1949, the right of occupation of the military governors and later the High Commissioners to now) of the Allied Control Council (Control Council. 1949, two constitutions were enacted. The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany on 23 May 1949 and promulgated on 24 May 1949 brought into force, and it had given the scope to the German reunification, only provisional. The first constitution of the German Democratic Republic acceded on 7 October 1949 and was in force on 9 April 1968 replaced by a new constitution and 1974 revision. For the 3rd October 1990 was the GDR in the scope of the Basic Law.

Constitutional Law
As a subject of international law (legal personality in international law), the Federal Republic of Germany is considered according to prevailing opinion as identical to the 1867 converted into a state of the North German Confederation, said the German Empire from 1871.
The Federal Republic is historically the most recent manifestation of the German nation, whose history can be traced to the introduction of the federal republican principles of the Constitution divided into several phases:
North German Confederation, 1867-1871 (1866 military alliance)
German Empire, 1871-1918
Weimar Republic, 1919-1933
Period of National Socialism, 1933-1945: "Third Reich" and (from 1943 officially) Greater German Reich
"Germany as a whole" under foreign occupation / Allied Control Council, 1945-1949
The German Länder (federal states) are limited subjects of international law which can be incorporated with the consent of the federal government's own contracts with other states (Article 32, paragraph 3, Article 24 paragraph 1 GG). [13] The Federal Republic can be considered as the combination of their federal constitutional will. Accordingly, it receives only through this connection even a state character [14].
Capital and seat of government of the Federal Republic of Germany under Article 22, paragraph 1 of the Basic Law in Berlin. Under Article 20 of the Basic Law is the Federal Republic is a democratic and social federal state. In this federal law is a parliamentary democracy. There are 16 countries, five of which are in turn subdivided into a total of 22 administrative districts. The countries have also established their own constitutions.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany. Head of State is the President, with mainly representative tasks. Protocolary seen to follow him, the President of the Bundestag, the chancellor and each acting President of the Bundesrat, which represents under the Federal Constitution.
The government of Germany is the Chancellor. The Chancellor is elected upon proposal of the President of the Bundestag by a majority of its members (Article 63 GG), his term ends with the term of the Bundestag (Article 69 paragraph 2 GG). Before the expiry of the term of the Bundestag, the Chancellor may, against his will leave office only by the fact that the Bundestag elects a majority of its members a successor (Article 67 of the Basic Law, so-called constructive vote of no confidence). The Federal Ministers are appointed on the proposal of the Chancellor (Article 64 para) 1 GG, she and the Chancellor are the federal government (Art. 62 GG). The Chancellor has the policy expertise to the policy of the federal government (Article 65 sentence 1 GG). The very strong position of the chancellor has meant that the political system of Germany is referred to as "chancellor democracy."

As a federal state of Germany is organized, which means that two levels exist within the political system: the federal level, which represents the entire state outside Germany, and the country level, which exists separately in each state. Each level has its own state institutions of the executive (executive power), legislature (legislative power) and judiciary (judicial power). The countries in turn determine the order of their cities and towns.
The competence for legislation lies with the provinces, where there is not a legislative power of the Federation (Art. 70 GG). In cases of exclusive legislation, only the federal government has the legislative power (Art. 71 Basic Law adopted), in cases of concurrent legislation, the legislative power lies in principle with the Laender, the federal government can, however, laws, if necessary for the production of equal living conditions in the federal territory or to safeguard the legal or business entity is required (Art. 72 GG).
Legislative bodies at federal level are the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. Federal laws are adopted by the Bundestag by a simple majority. They are effective when the Federal Council has not filed an appeal or if the law requires the consent of the Bundesrat, if the Bundesrat consents to the law (Art. 77 GG). An amendment to the Constitution is only by a majority of two thirds of the members of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat possible (Art. 79 GG).
In the provinces, to decide the state legislatures over the laws of their country.
Although the deputies are not bound by any instructions of the parliaments under the Constitution to dominate in practice prior decisions in the political parties to pass legislation.
The executive branch is formed at the federal level by the Federal Government, which is headed by the Chancellor. At the level of countries lead the Prime Minister, in Hamburg and Bremen, the president of the Senate, in Berlin, the mayor, the executive branch. The countries are parliamentary democracies and their leaders elected by provincial assemblies and Senate. The administrations of the federal and state governments are each headed by the ministers, they are at the forefront of the authorities.
The exercise of governmental powers and the execution of federal laws is in principle for the states, provided that the Basic Law does not provide or permit derogation (Article 30, Article 83 GG).
See also: rights of the German Empire after 1945, federalism in Germany
The territory of the Federal Republic of results from all the territories of their countries. Since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, its territory was enlarged several times, notably by the 1957 inclusion of the Saarland, 1990 accession of the GDR, including the eastern part of Berlin and the internationally accepted inclusion of West Berlin, in addition, between 1949 and early 1964 with the return of territories that after World War II Germany (Helgoland), by Netherlands (including Elten), Belgium (Mützenich considered to belong among others), Luxembourg (an area between Vianden and Obersgegen) and France (Kehl), first as to their territories, as well as Several extensions of the maritime border in the North and Baltic Sea. The last of these extensions was granted by the proclamation of the federal government to expand the German territorial sea in November 1994 (published in the Federal Law Gazette 1994 I, p. 3428 sq.) with effect from 1 January 1995, by which the Federal Republic in the North Sea, the 12-mile zone completely and partially in the Baltic Sea was in receipt without giving up its legal claim.
The course of the Federal German frontier is now set up on parts of Lake Constance. Germany is not conclusively resolved within the course of the borders between Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Hamburg in any area of the Elbe.

Subdivisions of Germany Regierungsbezirke: as at 1st August 2008 (including the former administrative districts in Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt)
In Germany, the district is an administrative authority of a general national figure, will be bundled into the ressortverschiedene tasks. This authority is headed by a president and government itself bears the name of Governor (historical), regional council (in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hesse), government (in Bavaria) or the district government (in North Rhine-Westphalia).
The national average stands as a means of authority between the upper and highest state body (Ministry) and the district administrator as the lower state authority for the area of a circle.
This management level is established only in some larger territorial states. Sometimes, people discussed the abolition of the Regional Councils and bundle the tasks of the country (by ministries or state higher authorities), or relocate to the local level. Several states have already abolished the administrative regions.
In Baden-Wuerttemberg, however, were reinforced by the administrative reform of 2005, the regional councils, giving them many of the tasks previously independent state authorities have been transferred. A similar development is characterized in North Rhine-Westphalia from. With the beginning of 2007 some special authorities (eg State environmental agencies, offices for agricultural policy, offices for safety) will be incorporated into the district governments. A part of their activities should be transferred also to the municipalities. Industry representatives have supported this move initially as red tape. Increasingly, however, serious concerns (BDI, VCI) that the local dependencies can no longer guarantee the former independent legal standard.

How does the political system in Germany? Who makes the laws? What role does the Chancellor, which the President? Who has the power? How many parties are there?

Never again a dictatorship

The Basic Law in the hands
The Federal Republic of Germany is a federal state with a liberal democracy. What is now firmly entrenched in the Constitution, had to be hard won.

After the catastrophe of the Third Reich, the Nazi dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, newly emerged democracy in Germany after 1945. The Constitution initially remained tentative.

Germany's constitution, the Basic Law

In West Germany was adopted in 1949, the Basic Law is still valid. This should serve as a transitional constitution, would be reunited to Germany. The validity of the Constitution extended first to the American, British and French zones of occupation in the West. In the Soviet zone of occupation, also in 1949, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was founded. Since 3 October 1990 there are only a reunited Germany - and from the interim solution, the first all-German constitution. It is this that the liberal-democratic order in Germany.

Lessons from history

The Constitution protects, inter alia, the freedom of individuals to ensure their dignity and treat all citizens are equal before the law - no matter what race, origin, language or religion they are. In addition, state power has been subjected to strict control by the separation of powers - never again should come from a dictator of Germany.

A federal state with three levels was established: federal and state governments share political power. The countries of central powers delegated to the federal government, but contribute to its legislation. In other areas of the country are autonomous in their legislation. The municipalities are the third and lowest level. Against radical, anti-democratic tendencies were created barricades: the "defensive democracy" makes it unconstitutional to prohibit parties. In 1952, the neo-Nazi "Socialist Reich Party (SRP) and in 1956 the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) was banned. In addition, each party does not come into Parliament: Only when they hurdle to overcome in an election, the five-percent, it is represented in parliament. This rule is designed to give stability to the German Bundestag.

Export hits nation building
Power sharing, rights and democracy have also received a guard - the Federal Constitutional Court. It reviewed the request and enforce laws for their constitutionality helps every citizen, his rights and freedoms against the state. The Federal Constitutional Court has long been an international unique and has been copied around the world, for example, in Spain's constitution

More parties to force political compromise

The discharging of social conflict and the mobilization of citizens to take Federal and state elections in Germany, the political parties. Two popular parties have emerged: the conservative CDU / CSU and the Social Democrat SPD. But other political tendencies are represented either in the Bundestag and in the Diets: liberal and green ideas to fight for voters, as well as leftist ideas are represented. Societal interests takes on the political system through associations, unions and interest groups.

Between the Bundestag and Bundesrat
"The German people," reads the inscription above the main entrance of the Reichstag. Here sits the German parliament. The Bundestag is responsible to serve the citizens, together with the Federal Government for legislative action.

The Bundestag shall advise and decide on new laws. It appoints the chancellor and controls the work of government. He also adopt an annual budget of the Federal Republic. All four years the German people elect the 600 members of parliament.

Parliamentary work takes place in committees

Members of a party in the Bundestag to form a faction. According to her group's strength, they occupy the permanent and temporary committees. There is a genuine parliamentary work done - especially work on bills, motions and Anfragen.Dem stands before the Bundestag, the Bundestag President. He is after the President formally the second-highest office in the state, even before the Chancellor as head of government. The Bundestag president is traditionally made by the largest group represented, the parliament, presides over the meetings and shall ensure that the rights of the people's representatives maintained.

Also, the states are involved

In the Bundesrat, Germany's 16 federal states contribute to the federal legislation. The Bundesrat is composed of the 16 leaders of countries and ministers from the country. The more people a state has, the more votes it has in the Bundesrat. Small states like Bremen, for example, have three large and six votes against Bayern.

Until a new law in Germany is effective, it goes through several phases. The Bundestag, the Bundesrat or the Federal Government are proposing laws. Is then filed in committees in the text. Applies for the vote: Each member is responsible only to his conscience and is free to vote. But often enough the deputies vote consistently after political groups in order to remain faithful to their own political principles and to demonstrate to the outside world unity. This is called "party discipline is not" be confused with party discipline, contrary to the freedom of choice of the deputies and is therefore not allowed.

Who pays is determined by

After the vote in the Bundestag and adoption laws go to the Bundesrat, the second chamber. In the legislative process, a distinction between an objection and consent laws, laws. Must implement laws that the countries that they are involved in the financing or to change the constitution require the approval of the provinces. The Federal Council rejects such a law, the legislative proposal in the so-called conciliation committee. This consists of 16 representatives of the Bundestag and Bundesrat. A compromise will be worked out on the Bundestag must again decide. Then, to agree to the Bundesrat.

All other laws are laws appeal: An appeal of the Federal Council may be rejected by the Bundestag with the majority of its members. Cabinet ministers, including Chancellor and the President must sign the law agreed to its copy.

The government center in Germany

The Federal Chancellery - of the Berliners "washing machine" called the
The Berliners call the Chancellor's Office because of its remarkable design "washing machine". Here is the Office of the Chancellor or the Chancellor, and there is also the Cabinet room in which sits the federal government.
The Chancellor is facing a cabinet of ministers. Together they form the federal government, the political leadership of the country. Their job is to execute the laws passed by Parliament and represent the country to the outside. Under the German constitution, the Basic Law, provides the one hand, the Federal policy guidelines. On the other Cabinet decisions are taken by majority. The power of the Chancellor is therefore dependent upon majority in the government and the parliamentary groups supporting them. Only in the case of defense, the Chancellor is also the owner of the command and command authority over the armed forces. In peacetime, this is the Federal Minister of Defense.

The German people can not directly choose the chancellor, but it also indirectly determines all four years in the general election. In order to be chancellor, one has to be brought in the Bundestag, the majority of all elected deputies behind him, the Chancellor of the so-called majority. This must be the party of the chancellor candidates typically seek a coalition partner. Traditionally, there are coalition governments in Germany from two different parties.

Which ministries which minister?

The Chancellor has found a coalition partner, it goes to the composition of the Cabinet - that is, the minister said. It determines how many of the policy departments and ministries, he wants to set for his government.

One of the main resorts include the economy, environment, interior, exterior, finance and defense, but also family, justice, transport and health. The Federal ministries conduct their own responsibility - within the established guidelines.

The Chancellor's election concludes

The President appoints the ministers, which he suggested the chancellor - although in practice the parties who choose to wear a government, even through their ministers. In addition, the President has the task to propose to the designated candidate for chancellor as the new chancellor. He is elected by the deputies of the Bundestag. This usually happens only after the government formation is completed, then set up ministries and ministerial positions were awarded.

The Chancellor may be deposed only if the Bundestag elects by majority vote someone else as Chancellor - the so-called constructive vote of no confidence - or that, after a lost confidence vote the President dissolves the parliament.

A colorful party spectrum
Black, red and yellow was for a long time, the political theory of color in Germany. Then, the Greens were added and the red with a short time - to remain in the logic of the colors. From Konrad Adenauer to Helmut Kohl on Angela Merkel: The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in conjunction with their purely Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union's (CSU), made the longest time, the Chancellor said. After the war they had found their followers, especially among former voters of the strongly Catholic Center Party. The popular name of the Christian Democrats as "the blacks" also comes from the center, because for this once sat dressed in black, many Catholic priests in the Parliament. "Christian" to bear on behalf of both parties and the party spectrum as "conservative classified.

Traditionally they have dominated for Christian ideals. As people's parties, however, they also seek the broadest possible consensus in the population. As a preferred coalition partner, the Union parties, yet the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP). At a pinch, but they go even so-called "grand coalitions" with the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). This happened at the federal level for the first time the late-1960s and again since 2005.

Red and social -

Between them was always the SPD in the federal government in charge. For the Social Democrats are the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schröder last. The Red recalls the banner of their roots in the labor movement in the second half of the 19th Century. The SPD were under that name is already in the Weimar Republic. It was, however, like all other parties banned by the Nazis, many of its members died in concentration camps.

After the war, the party charged ideological disputes. In its "Godesberg Program" decided the SPD in 1959, in substance and ideology of a socialist workers' party to a Social Democrat - and thus, more citizens selectable - People's Party to change.

Green - more than just organic

Until the mid-1980s, there was the Social Democrats in the search for a coalition partner, the choice is between the FDP and - as in the 1960s - the "grand coalition" with the CDU / CSU. During the 1980s, entered a new coalition partner, the political scene: the Greens. They have their roots in the anti-nuclear and peace movements of the 1970s, but also the women's and citizens' initiatives. They shall, therefore, also an environmental and gender equality. Gradually, there were the first tentative alliances at local and national level with the Greens, until one red-green converts them under then Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in the federal government. In addition, is now even black and green - at least at the local and country level practices -.

Actually, the Green Party officially named the "Alliance 90/The Greens", because in 1993 joined the "Alliance 90" East German citizens' movements combined with the Greens. Since then, the party is to bear a double name.

Yellow stands for liberal

The Free Democratic Party (FDP), which appears in the traditional yellow color spectrum, has lost its position as the only tip the scales between the Democrats and the Socialists. Until the 1990s, was the junior partner, the FDP almost every federal government - since then no more.

The party sees itself in the tradition of liberalism in Germany and rejects government overregulation. The FDP often represents the interests of small and medium enterprises and is often also called "party of the better-branded.

Red-Red, for many SPD members, or a red flag

For several years, strengthened the Left Party, is also the color red and that is to distinguish between the Social Democrats also like dark red called. The Left Party shall in particular, voters of the SPD. In turn, the Social Democrats, there is fierce internal party discussions, as the SPD is to stand on the left. But most of the established parties have a problem with the left. This has to do with their history: their roots in the East are in the former Socialist Unity Party (SED, the GDR) to find, its members initially after the reunification the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). Those accused still a human and ideological closeness to the former regime.

The western roots strand is a young offshoot of the SPD: the choice of alternative Social Justice (WASG). PDS and WASG have meanwhile joined the Left Party, denouncing the social ills and sees itself as representative of the common man. Even with a radical pacifism of the Left tries to score points.

Right-wing in the German party landscape

Stir successes have always taken care of right-wing extremists. Among them especially makes the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) talked about, which moved back in the 1960s in several state parliaments and in recent years repeatedly won parliament seats. A ban against the NPD was founded in 2003 by the Constitutional Court halted because of procedural errors. Since then discussed a new closure.

Other groups on the right side - as the Republicans and the German People's Union (DVU) - were able to move temporarily to diets. However, it is still not right party managed to get in federal elections over the five-percent hurdle.

The role of the Federal President

The office of the Federal President in Berlin, the Schloss Bellevue
'It has to go through Germany a jerk! " With its 'Ruck-Rede' burned the former Federal President Roman Herzog one to remember. Political influence, the German head of state but a few ones.

Compared to the heads of other states, the German president has little ability to impact on the daily business in politics. He represents the Federal Republic of Germany under international law and represents the country on official occasions.

What shall the President?

The President signed the law, without his signature, they can not be made out and come into force. However, it is controversial how far he can really examine the laws and to prevent their execution. While some assume that he can control only the formally correct conclusion of law to vacate his other is also a material, ie substantive right of review.

Established in 2004, the first elected President Horst Köhler has broadly interpreted its audit rights. So he did not sign because of constitutional concerns, the Air Traffic Control Act, which envisaged the privatization of air traffic control authorities, as he refused to sign the Consumer Information.

Rare Pardons

His duties also include proposing to the Bundestag, the Federal Chancellor for election. He appoints and dismisses the one hand, the chancellor at the request of the Bundestag and the other on the proposal of the Federal Chancellor. He has also pronounce the law, pardons of criminals.

Unlike in the U.S., France and Austria, the Federal President of Germany is not directly elected by the people but by the Federal Assembly. It consists of the members of the Bundestag and of an equal number of delegates who are sent by the parliaments of the Länder. The Federal President is elected for five years, a re-election is possible only once. Any German, of the 40th Age has completed.

Never again Weimar

It is historically well founded, that the German president has largely ceremonial. For in the Weimar Republic, the then President was equipped with extensive political power, could nullify basic rights and rule by emergency decree. Factors that played in the Nazis came to power a large role.


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