This book offers an overview of the principal features of the German political
system. It emphasises four important characteristics of the system: the way in
which twentieth-century history shaped the post-Second World War political
system; the stability and adaptability of that system; the unusual importance
within the political system of legal rules; and the significance of
Germany's association with European integration. The book surveys the
Basic Law, designed in 1948-1949 as a direct response to the failure of
Germany's first experiment with democracy: the regime of the Weimar
Republic. The book describes the events of the fateful years 1989 and 1990,
which led to reunification, in three phases: the downfall of the old regime in
the German Democratic Republic; the period of adjustment and transition to a
democratic regime in Germany; and the process and consequences of reunification
itself. The book also examines the principal influences which have shaped the
present-day political system, the electoral system and electoral behaviour of
the Federal Republic, and the features of the 'party state'.
It reviews the structure, operation and political effects of Germany's
particular version of federalism and analyses the core institutions of
government. The structure and powers of the legislative chambers, the
legislative process, and the role of the elected representative are also
discussed. Finally, the book charts the path taken by West Germany to develop
links to 'Europe', and explores the ways in which membership
of what has become the European Union impinges upon the domestic politics of the
The study of German electoral politics has been neglected of late, despite being one of the most pervasive elements of the German political process. This book argues that concentration on electoral politics facilitates deeper understanding and appreciation of the German political system. It provides explanations and analysis of the federal electoral system, its evolution and the challenges that have been made to its format; discusses the role of electoral politics in relation to political parties and to the public; and the influence of second-order elections in the German political system. The book goes on to evaluate the effectiveness of the German electoral system in relation to its functions, and challenges the premise that electoral politics makes a difference in Germany. Ultimately, it aims to reconcile the apparently limited role that elections have in determining the composition of governments with the notion that there is a ‘permanent election campaign’ in existence in German politics.
German Responses to the June 2019 Mission of the Sea-Watch 3
2 July , www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/tragoedie-und-rechtsordnung-carola-rackete-ist-sophokles-antigone-unserer-zeit/24517448.html (accessed 19 April 2020).
Neumann , K. (2016), ‘ German Debts: Entangled Histories of the Greek–German Relationship and Their Varied Effects ’, GermanPolitics and Society , 34 : 3 , 77 – 99 .
Neumann , K. (2018), ‘ Waving, but Also Drowning ’, Inside Story , 24 July , https://insidestory.org.au/waving-but-drowning/ (accessed 28 July 2020).
Neumann , K. (2019), ‘ The Remarkable Deeds of Captain Rackete
Elections, parties and the political system
There are many ways of analysing Germanpolitics. Recent studies have,
for example, focused on policymaking, on institutions (Helms 2000), and
on the interface between Germanpolitics and the politics of the European
Union (Bulmer, Jeﬀery and Paterson 2000; Sturm and Pehle 2001). All
these approaches are valid, but none captures all the intricate interconnections and multiple dimensions of the political process in Germany.
The once-popular focus on electoral politics has been neglected of late,
yet it can be
elections, it has been claimed that – as is the case in other countries –
Germanpolitics is one continuous election campaign. Certainly there is
evidence of this. A recent example is the manoeuvring of Angela Merkel,
the chair of the CDU, immediately following the failure of the Christian
Democrats to win the 2002 election, to position herself as the next chancellor-candidate for the CDU–CSU by claiming the leadership of the
parliamentary party group in the Bundestag. This has resulted in pressure two years ahead of the next election for the Christian Democrats to
territory and are remigrating. But those who fear the wolf represent them as foreign, and represent those environmentalists supporting wolves as supporting the wrong side. The crisis of fear is a feature of the crisis of representation.
The wolves are returning to Germany, while Germanpolitics are transforming. The right-wing Alternative for Germany is now the third biggest party in the German parliament. It draws much of its support from places that have been referred to as the ‘post-traumatic places’ in Eastern Germany, structured by realities of disownment
is to be decided by the Federal Constitutional Court.
Details are provided in federal legislation.
Source: Deutsche Bundestag, 2010, p. 25.
Together, Article 21 and the Party Law of 1967 provide an unusually explicit legal context within which Germanpolitical parties must act. Few other West European democracies possess either such constitutional or legal regulation of parties. This context conveys privileges. 2 However, it also conveys responsibilities, and, in doing so, reinforces ‘party government’ in Germany, since parties can point to this legal
Note: 1949–87: West Germany; 1990–2010: Germany including the former German
Source: Infratest Dimap
since the Great Recession) to a fundamental contradiction in Germanpolitics.
Even though the welfare state is highly popular, its actual provisions are subordinated to world market success. Austerity is thus, however grudgingly, accepted
as necessary in order
Berlin took place.
The easiest task was political integration. The party system remained relatively unchanged from that which already existed in the Federal Republic. The Bundestag election in December 1990 had shown that the only party from the GDR which had any chance of winning seats was the PDS: and it obtained seats in that election only because of the special, one-time-only rule whereby parties need win 5 per cent in either West Germany or East Germany to qualify for a proportional distribution of seats (see Chapter 4 ). Otherwise East Germanpolitical
and political union in institutional as well as in substantive terms, i.e. economic policy co-ordination
at the EC level and a coherent and effective CFSP; the continuation of
Franco-German co-operation; and a strengthening of the military capacities of the Union through the integration of the WEU into the EU ambit.12
The basic perception of European integration remains unchanged, particularly with regard to the role of the EC institutions. The Germanpolitical
elite continues to aim at the phased creation of a legally independent,
state-like political entity with