Politics in Germany - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Politics in Germany

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  1. Politics in Germany

  2. Basic Law of 1949 • ensure that all major parties are represented • proportional representation • traditionally used in continental Europe • ensure that only major parties are represented • avoid fragmentation in the party system of the Weimar Republic • avoid the rise of extremist small parties

  3. Hybrid electoral rules • Two parts in one ballot • One part: • single-member district • candidate with plurality of vote wins • half of Bundestag members are directly elected in this manner

  4. Hybrid electoral rules • Second part: • select a party at the federal level • all second votes are aggregated nationwide • proportional representation • party lists prepared before the election • 5-percent rule • half of Bundestag members are elected as party representatives

  5. ballot • Choose one candidate from the left-hand column • Choose one party at the federal level from the right-hand column

  6. Political parties on the left • Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) • former Socialist Unity Party of East Germany • Greens/Bundnis ‘90 • Greens • environment • Social Democratic Party • SPD • ruling coalition (SPD & Greens) 1998-2005

  7. Political parties: center & right • Free Democratic Party • FDP • center • Christian Democrats • Christian Democratic Union (CDU) • Christian Social Union (CSU) • current federal chancellor • Angela Merkel (since November 2005)

  8. Election results 1949 - 2002

  9. SPD:        34.3  percent  (2002  38.5%) • CDU:        27.8  percent  (2002  29.5%) • CSU:          7.4  percent  (2002   9.0%) • GRÜNE:     8.1  percent  (2002   8.6%) • FDP:           9.8  percent  (2002   7.4%) • Die Linke.:  8.7  percent  (2002   4.0%) • Others:        3.9  percent  (2002   3.0%)

  10. Federal Chancellor • Chancellor defines government policy • Chancellor controls the Cabinet • 14 federal department ministers • Chancellor recommends the formal appointment or dismissal of ministers • formal policy guidelines are legally binding • composition of Cabinet is a major issue in building a multi-party government

  11. Coalition government

  12. Constructive no-confidence vote • Constructive vote of no-confidence • Bundestag can remove a chancellor under the condition that • majority of Bundestag must agree on a successor • ensure continuity and initial majority support for new chancellor • makes removal of incumbent more difficult

  13. Constructive no-confidence vote • succeeded only once • 1982 • elected Chancellor Kohl (CDU/CSU) • Kohl won 4 elections • replaced by Schroder (SPD) after 1998 election

  14. Federal Constitutional Court • Reviews the constitutionality of legislation • limit the decision-making power of Bundestag • constitutional issues are brought before it • constitutional complaints files by individuals • actual court cases referred by a lower court • federal or state governments or 1/3 of Bundestag deputies can request review of law

  15. Russia U.S. Domestic economy Parliament Constitutional Court Chancellor Cabinet Political parties Interest groups Domestic culture Domestic society Britain France

  16. Interest groups • Integral part of German political process • welcomed as necessary participants • formally involved in policy process • government contact relevant groups when formulating new policies • formal advisory role in public administration • discussion and negotiation of policy plans

  17. Corporatism • Cooperation between government and interest groups • social interests organized into organizations • single association represent each social sector • associations are hierarchically structured

  18. Corporatism • government accept associations as formal representatives • associations may participate directly in the policy process

  19. Peak associations • German Federation of Trade Unions • over 8 million members • 11 unions • Confederation of German Employers’ Associations • 80% of entrepreneurs • represents employers as negotiating partners of the trade unions

  20. Organized capitalism • Unique model of combining state and market • “social market economy” • blur the distinction between the public and private sector