Germany Government and Politics

According to, Germany is a parliamentary- democratic federal state. The head of state is the president, who primarily plays a constitutional role. The executive power is in fact with the Chancellor (Bundeskanzler) and the government.

The country’s legislative assembly is the Bundestag. 598 representatives are elected for a term of 4 years by universal suffrage. Half are elected by a majority vote in individual circuits; the other half in ratio choices.

Constitution and political system

Germany Country Flag

Reference: Germany Flag Meaning


In 1990, Germany was brought together after being split in two since the Second World War. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of GM and its meanings of Germany. What happened formally at the gathering was that the five re-established East German states entered the Federal Republic of Germany – the old West Germany. The old West German Constitution (Grundgesetz) of 1949 thus became the constitution for the whole of Germany. This constitution is based on the traditions of the liberal constitution of 1848-1849, but also takes into account Otto von Bismarck’s constitution of 1871 and the Weimar constitution of 1919.

Under the Constitution, Germany is a parliamentary-democratic federal state. The head of state, the president, is elected for five years by the Federal Assembly, an assembly consisting of the members of the Bundestag and an equal number of people elected by the state parliaments. The president can be re-elected once and primarily plays a constitutional role.

Federal Chancellor

The executive power lies with the Chancellor (Federal Chancellor) and the government. The Chancellor is elected by the Bundestag, on the proposal of the President. He or she must have an absolute majority. The chancellor can only be shared through a so-called constructive distrust vote, that is, by choosing a new chancellor while giving the other distrust. If the Chancellor requests a vote of no confidence and does not receive it, and the Bundestag within 21 days fails to elect a new Chancellor, the Chancellor may ask the President to dissolve the Bundestag and print new elections. These provisions shall secure the position of the Chancellor.

The other government is appointed by the president on a proposal from the chancellor. The Chancellor has the right to draw the guidelines for government policy under the Constitution. The chancellor thus also has the decisive word in case of disagreement between the ministers. The many strong and long-standing chancellors have helped to give authority to the chancellor’s office and government. Check Countryaah for other countries that start with G.

Legislative power

The legislative power has been added to a two-chamber assembly. One chamber, the Bundestag, is the most important, and the chancellor is responsible for it. The Federation Day (from 2002) has 598 members plus so-called “overhang mandates” and (from 2013) “equalization mandates” elected for four years. The mandates are chosen partly from individual circles (majority elections) and partly from multi-person circles, which are the states (proportional elections). Voters cast votes in both circles. The proportional choices should adjust for the distribution of seats in the individual circles and may increase the number of seats (overhangs). The overall mandate figure is somewhat higher, in the elections of 2009 and 2013 were respectively 622 and 631. There is a cutoffof five percent, but this does not apply to the individual circles. The high barricade reflects a desire to prevent the party system from breaking up much, such as in the Weimar era (1919-1933).

Federal Council

The Federal Council (Bundesrat) has 69 members, appointed by the state governments. The states have from 6 (the most populous) to 3 representatives in the Federal Council. They vote as determined by the state governments and can be called back by them. The composition of the Federal Council may change after each state election. Bills are first dealt with by the Bundestag. Within three weeks, the Federal Council may request that a joint committee be set up to consider changes to a proposal. The Federal Council can also veto a bill within two weeks; a veto federal day, however, can set aside an absolute majority.

In constitutional cases and in cases that directly concern the states, the consent of the Federal Council is necessary. Constitutional amendments require a 2/3 majority in both chambers; but amendments affecting the subdivision of the state or some of the basic principles of the Constitution are not permitted.

Political parties

Politics is dominated by two major parties, the Christian Democratic CDU (in Bavaria the Christian Social Social CSU) and the Social Democratic SPD. In total, they have usually had between 70 and 80 percent of the votes, thus giving German policy a considerable stability, which is, however, somewhat weakened after the assembly. In addition, the liberal, peace-democratic FDP has played an important role (set in government 1949-1966, 1969-1998 and 2009-2013).

The other parties are Bündnis 90/The Greens, the result of a merger of civil rights movements in the GDR and environmental movements in West Germany and set in government from 1998-2005. In addition comes the Left Socialist Party Die Linke, the successor to the East German state-supporting Communist Party, the SED, which was exempt from the barricade at the first election in 1990; it was called PDS until it merged in 2007 with a newly started left party.

At the state level, other parties are also represented. The largest party on the far right is the populist and national conservative Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany), founded in 2013. Parties that threaten the democratic order or the existence of the Federal Republic are not allowed.

Administrative division

Germany is divided into 16 states (Länder), each with its own constitution. The state constitution cannot contain provisions that conflict with the federal constitution. Each state has a people-elected legislative assembly and a government that is based on and responsible to it. In 13 states, the Assembly and the Government are called Land Day (Landtag) and Land Government (Landesregierung). In the city states, the assemblies are called House of Representatives (Berlin) and Citizenship (Bürgerschaft) (Hamburg and Bremen), while the governments are called Senate. The leader of the governments is called the prime minister, the mayor of the senates.

The states adopt their own laws in areas not exclusively reserved for the federal state. Among other things, the states are responsible for schools, police, culture and environmental policy. The states are divided into local units, countries and urban districts (Landkreise, Stadtkreise), and urban and rural areas (Stadtgemeinden, Landgemeinden). There are also selected bodies at these levels; on the first, and partly on the second, there are also executive bodies.


A German legal entity was established around 1900. A number of comprehensive codification laws from the latter half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 1900s gradually developed common legal provisions in most jurisdictions. These reflect both Germanic and Roman law conceptions. After 1945, the legal development has continued, but now also under some influence from British/ American law. After the rally in 1990, West German law became applicable throughout the country, but so that East German law in some areas should still be valid.

The general courts have this order: the Amtsgericht, the Landgericht, the Oberlandesgericht and the Bundesgerichtshof. The latter is federal and has its seat in Karlsruhe, the others are state-owned. Lay judges participate as judges in the Amtsgericht and the Landgericht. The latter is appellate court in relation to the first, but is also the court of first instance in more important cases.

In addition to the general courts, Germany also has specialized courts for labor law, tax law, social law and administrative law, all with appeals courts and a federal Supreme Court. The Supreme Courts of the Special Courts have their seat in Erfurt, Munich, Kassel and Leipzig respectively. In order to ensure uniform legal development in the five legal systems, a body has been convened as required (Gemeinsamer Senat der Colonel Gerichtshöfe des Bundes).

A separate federal constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), including the seat in Karlsruhe, has jurisdiction in constitutional disputes, and also tries the constitutionality of laws. The Constitutional Court is not part of any court system. The states have their own constitutional courts.

A selection committee of judges participates in the appointment of judges to the supreme federal courts. The Bundestag and the Bundesrat each appoint one-half of the judges to the Constitutional Court.

Germany Head of Government

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