Germany (Deutschland) is also known officially as the Federal Republic of Germany. In this article, we are going to focus on how its political system works. In addition, we will also be studying briefly the level of development in Germany, as well as its economy and last but not least, to analyze why other political systems in the past were not able to survive long and failed eventually.
Germany is a federal republic. This means that the nation comprises of a number of states under the rules of local governments united by the central or the federal government. The federal government is the second democracy in German history following the Weimar regime (1919-1933). The Basic Right, which later became the constitution of the present federal government, plays a vital part in the prosperity of the present Germany. It safeguards the rights of each individual, maintains law and order and defines Germany as a federal and welfare democratic (representative) state in which people are promised a decent standard of living no matter what.
The Political System
Much like any representative democracy or parliamentary state, Germany has a parliament consisting of Bundesrat and Bundestag(second chamber, much like the Senate) responsible for passing legislation. There is also a Federal Chancellor, similar to the role of a Premier, is the head of the government who nominates his ministers and determines their responsibilities. A federal president is also elected by the Federal Convention, which consists of members from Bundestag and an equal number of state representatives. He is somehow a diplomatic representative. The power to appoint members of high authority, legalize acts, dismiss government and dissolve parliament is vested in the president. However he does not have the power to stop a law or decision from being passed, in other word the right to veto but only to confirm that it has conformed to the Basic Rights.
Special features of the Federal system in Germany
When the founders of present political system in Germany were formulating the constitution, they vowed never to repeat the failure of the past.
The coalition of parties as general rule: This ensures that no single party to form a government on its own. This also limit the power of the federal chancellor as election of the president requires intensive discussion between the parties they planned to govern together and hence power is shared and not seized by one single party.
The 5 % threshold: This is implemented perhaps as a result of the lesson learned from the failure of Weimar government by its system of proportional representation (for example if a party gained 5% of the vote, they gained 5 % of the seats in the parliament). This keeps those small parties in troubling the majorities in the parliament.
Federal Constitutional court: It allows the authority and the citizens to present a complaint to abolish a law they found infringing the terms set in Basic Rights.
Economy and level of Development
In terms of economy, Germany is ranked third in the world. It is the largest exporter of goods. The living standard in Germany is a decent and high one with its high wage and variety of welfare benefits. Germany also attracts many investors because of its tax reform that has reduced the tax commitment of the companies to the government. In the Industry, automobile is the most important sector and is one of the top three automobile manufacturers. Germany’s service sector is also central to the development of its economy; it’s the single largest sector and out of total gross value added of EUR 2,003 billion in the country, service sector already contribute more than half of the amount all together. Moreover, Germany spends most resources on the innovative sector (research and development) in Europe.
Why Aristocracy and Dictatorship fails in GermanyAristocracy here means the regime during the Second Reich under the leadership of Kaiser Wihelm and von Bismarch. Although there is a Universal suffrage for all man at or above the age of 25, the political power rests in the hand of the oligarchs, namely the nobles or the aristocrats. The Reichsrat, equivalent to the present Second Chamber of parliament in Germany the Bundesrat, has the right to veto legislation passed by Reichstag, the equivalence to today’s Bundestag. However in present Federal Republic of Germany, though the Bundesrat reserves the right to reject legislation passed by Bundestag, the latter also can overrule the objection with two-third majority. The Kaiser , or Emperor Wihelm believed in full autocracy. The power granted by the constitution made him the most influential man in politics. He often intervened in issues of policy and made decisions recklessly at whim based on “spontaneous likes and dislikes” and often changed his decision at the last minute. Such irresponsible behaviour made his governing ineffective.
The dictatorship here is, needless to say, referring to the Nazi regime under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Individual freedom is suppressed and the people were in a perpetual atmosphere of anxiety and fear created by secret police, Gestapo and other instruments of terror. The unlimited power allowed Hitler to pursue his insane vision and policy unchecked, with 65% of European Jews massacred and the death of 5.5 billion German people eventually at the end of Second World War.
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