Germany the government has full control over political life,

            Germany is a
nation with a lot of interesting history since it became a country.  From the Nazi party to both World Wars, it is
a country that is a federal republic where the government has full control over
political life, unlike other European countries. (Germany Country Profile) Since
the end of World War II and the reconstruction from the Allied Powers, Germany
has become Europe’s largest economy and is the largest exporting country in the
World. (O’Neil) This country plays a significant part in Europe’s most
important organizations.  The current
leadership of Germany is Angela Markel as chancellor, the first woman to hold
the position, and Frank-Walter Steinmeier as president. (Laura von) Being
Europe’s most populous and industrialized country, Germany is vital to the
continued success of Europe.  (German
Country Profile) Even becoming a unified nation later than most European
countries it has quickly proved itself as a power that competes both militarily
and economically.  After the Cold War era,
and the country became unified once again it has continued to improve even with
the once East lagging behind after Soviet rule. (Laura von) Germany will remain
as the top country in Europe if they continue the path they’re on and overcome
any problem in the way.

            In many
ways, German politics and legislature is like that of the United States.  This is mainly due to the reconstruction of Germany
after World War II, in which the United States had a huge hand in.  The political figure in Germany with the most
power is the prime minister; why the country democracy is sometimes called a
chancellor democracy. (O’Neil) The lower house of legislature, known as the
Bundestag, elects the head of government. 
The Chancellor appoints the cabinet of ministers, who oversee the government
departments. (Laura von) An example provided in the German Case Study, shows
the capability of such a position.  The Chancellor
can create or eliminate any cabinet post that they deem necessary.  Then, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, created cabinets
for areas such as conservation and the environment. (O’Neil) Kohl’s successor,
Gerhard Schroeder, followed path by adding his own touch through combining
similar ministers. (O’Neil) An interesting fact that is an excellent example of
how cabinets and ministers are chosen; since the end of World War II and the beginning
of the reconstruction era, in 1949, all cabinets have had alliances with at
least two major parties. (O’Neil) There are not many things the Chancellor cannot
do, or have done, if they pleased.  Being
given a sizable staff and the ability to designate multiple political positions,
the current Chancellor can more than likely accomplish what is desired, with respect
to the intentions. (Laura von)

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            Germany’s
head of state is similar to that of countries who use the parliamentary system.  The head of state, commonly known to many as
the president, is separate from the head of government. (O’Neil) In Germany,
the Basic Law, limits the president in power and is more a ceremonial figure that
performs task such as; signing bills into law, signing treaties, and pardoning
convicted criminals. (O’Neil) Though it is said, the president only pardons at
the request of the chancellor. (Sauerbrey) Term limits for the German president
is maxed out after two five-year terms.  Also,
the president is not directly elected. 
Rather by a committee known as the Federal Convention which includes
delegates from state parliaments and members of the Bundestag. (Deutsche Welle)
The selected president is usually highly respected by the committee and is expected
to behave as a nonpartisan. 

            The legislature
in Germany is a very powerful bicameral institution.  The Basic Law keeps the institution and the
chancellor in check to avoid problems that occurred in the political system
pre-World War II.  The Bundestag is the
lower house which represents the population. 
While the Bundesrat is known as the upper house and represents the
sixteen states in Germany; it also holds less power than the Bundestag. (O’Neil)
The Bundestag has the only federal level directly elected officials in Germany.  Through a vote of no confidence, the lower
house, can remove the chancellor from power. (Laura von) The members in the
Bundesrat are appointed by each of the sixteen states and is usually three to
six people depending on population. (O’Neil) The upper house mainly serves as a
check and balance to the federal government and to approve any law that will
affect the state.  These two houses are vital
to an effective and stable government.

            Another
reconstruction era system created to avoid the problems of the past is the
Judicial System, with The Federal Constitutional Court being implemented as a
result. (O’Neil) This Constitutional Court protects the Basic Law and handles
disputes between the federal government and the states. (O’Neil) The Basic Law
also established an electoral system that is mixed and has been recreated by
other major countries due to its success. 
(Jazeera) The creators of this system decided to use both voter-representation
and the fairness of PR.  Another main
goal provided in the case study was to keep political interest diverse and
prevent instability that troubled the German government before World War II. (O’Neil)
Like most electoral systems there are flaws and confusion among citizens.  Regardless of these issues the German system
has been able to produce above-average voter participation and well-balanced
governments. (O’Neil) Local Government
in Germany is different than its Western European counterparts.  The sixteen states and the federal government
share power. (Dannemann) The states typically follow the same legislation that
is passed by the federal government. (O’Neil) All sixteen states have their own
unicameral legislature and select a minister-president, also known as their
governor.   Most states follow the five
percent threshold to decide the local elections and decide the mayor through
direct elections. (Dannemann)

            The federal elections in Germany
this past September had a lot of people on the edge of their seats.  The outcome of this election would decide whether
Chancellor Angela Merkel would stay in power or be removed and possibly decide new
members for the lower house and Bundestag. (McBride) According to German news
outlets at the time, Merkel will likely continue to serve but the likelihood has
started to slim due to other parties beginning to gain ground. (German
Election) The three parties that had the most support during this election was
the Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democratic Party, and the
Alternative for Germany. (McBride) Migration policies, defense policies,
foreign relations and handling Brexit were four of the many issues heavily
debated and at stake for the country. (McBride) Once the results were official,
much of what was expected happened.  The
results would secure Angela Merkel her fourth term and a victory for the center-right
Christian Democrats. (Erlanger) The Alternative for Germany, also called AfD or
the far-right party, garnered almost three times as many votes that it did in the
election four years ago and secured eighty-seven seats. (Henley) Although the
Christian Democrats won this election, the AfD gaining support raised eyebrows
across the world. The AfD is regarded as a neo-fascist party that has been
deemed as racist through claimed Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic tendencies.
(Erlanger) Chancellor Merkle is quoted saying       “…
it’s not normal that a neo-fascist party got into the German Parliament” but vows
to win some of the voters back through providing compromises that should appease
both sides. (German Election) Through the drama-filled election and the results
that would accompany it, majority speaking, Germany believes this election will
help the country move forward and remain successful as a European and world
power.

 

 

 

Works Cited

“Germany Country Profile.” BBC News, BBC,
3 Oct. 2017, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17299607.

Daniels, Laura von. “Economic History | Germany’s
Economy Is Too Strong. What Will the New Government Do?” The Washington
Post, WP Company, 24 Oct. 2017,
www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/10/24/germanys-economy-is-too-strong-what-will-the-new-government-do/?utm_term=.daaf47a3ca0a.

O’Neil, Patrick H., et al. Germany Case Study:
Cases in Comparative Politics. W.W. Norton & Company, 2018.

Sauerbrey, Anna. “Germany and the Age of Political
Absolutism.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Nov. 2017,
www.nytimes.com/2017/11/20/opinion/germany-lindner-coalition.html.

Deutsche Welle. “The Role of the German President |
Germany | DW | 24.02.2012.” DW.COM,
www.dw.com/en/the-role-of-the-german-president/a-3880008.

Jazeera, Al. “How Do the German Elections Work?” Germany
| Al Jazeera,
www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2017/09/german-elections-work-170918174235490.html.

Dannemann, Gerhard. “Local Government Administration
in Germany.” German Law Archive, GERHARD DANNEMANN,
germanlawarchive.iuscomp.org/?p=380.

McBride, James. “What’s at Stake in the German
Elections?” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign
Relations, www.cfr.org/backgrounder/whats-stake-german-elections.

Henley, Jon, et al. “German Elections 2017: Angela
Merkel Wins Fourth Term but AfD Makes Gains – as It Happened.” The
Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 24 Sept. 2017,
www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/sep/24/german-elections-2017-angela-merkel-cdu-spd-afd-live-updates.

Erlanger, Steven, and Melissa Eddy. “Angela Merkel
Makes History in German Vote, but So Does Far Right.” The New York
Times, The New York Times, 24 Sept. 2017,
www.nytimes.com/2017/09/24/world/europe/germany-election-merkel.html.

“German Election – Merkel Vows to Win Back Right-Wing
Voters.” BBC News, BBC, 25 Sept. 2017,
www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41384550.