Geoffrey K. Roberts
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The party state
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Political parties play a highly significant role in the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany. The type of democratic system the Federal Republic enjoys has been called as 'party government', a concept which includes the ideas that parties give coherence and direction to government through their policy programmes. This chapter describes the role of German political parties and the legal context within which political parties must act. The party system of the Federal Republic prior to reunification in 1990 consisted of four parties: Christian Democrats; Social Democratic Party; Free Democratic Party and Greens. The chapter discusses the development and the structure of the party system. Reunification had a relatively small effect on the structure of the party system. Since the introduction of the Party Law of 1967, parties have to ensure that their organisational structures and procedures comply with the standards set out in that legislation.

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