Geoffrey K. Roberts
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Chancellor democracy
in German politics today (third edition)
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The political system of the Federal Republic is sometimes described as 'chancellor democracy', because of the dominant role occupied by the chancellor in that political system. This chapter surveys the way in which the Basic Law provides the political instruments that permit the chancellor to play such a dominant role. It examines the constraints on the chancellor's political authority, such as those associated with the necessity to form governing coalitions, and discusses the roles of the cabinet and civil service, and other agencies within government. Compared to the chancellor, and in contrast to the situation in the Weimar Republic, the status of the federal president is very limited. The chapter presents a review of the office of federal president as a prelude to closer examination of that of federal chancellor. A detailed consideration of the process of forming coalition governments is also provided.

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