The state order is determined by the Basic Law (GG) passed by the Parliamentary Council on May 8, 1949 and promulgated on May 23, 1949. The Federal Republic of Germany received the status of a sovereign state on May 5th, 1955 through the Treaty of Germany and the Paris Treaties. The last sovereign reservations of the Allies were given up by the Two-Plus-Four Treaty of September 12, 1990.
Germany is a federal state. Both the federal government as a whole and the states are “states” with their own state authority and territory (federalism). The state authority of the states is limited by the obligation towards the federal government: “Federal law breaks state law” (Article 31 GG). The federal states can be urged by the federal government, if necessary by federal compulsion, to fulfill their federal obligations (Article 37 GG). In the event of a threat to the free democratic basic order, the federal government can submit itself to the police forces of the federal states; at the request of the Federal Council,the representative body of the states, this measure is to be repealed (Article 91 GG). The federal government alone is entitled to external violence (Article 32 of the Basic Law). Certain tasks of the states can be declared joint tasks by federal law with the consent of the Bundesrat, in which the federal government is involved. This applies to the improvement of the agricultural structure, coastal protection and regional economic structure (Article 91 a GG).
The division of Germany into states cannot be eliminated even by changing the constitution; the participation of the states in the legislation that they exercise through the Bundesrat must in principle be maintained (Article 79 of the Basic Law). Visit mcat-test-centers for information about studying in Germany.
When it was founded in 1949, the federal territory comprised twelve states: Baden, Bavaria, Bremen, Greater Berlin, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern. The full integration of Berlin (West) into the federal territory was however suspended by the reservations of the occupying powers. The states of Baden, Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern were combined to form Baden-Württemberg in 1952. On 01.01.1957 came Saarland as another country. After the accession of the states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and the unification of both parts of Berlin to form Berlin in 1990 (German reunification), the federal territory now comprised 16 states. A reorganization of the federal territory is possible according to Article 29 of the Basic Law.
Germany is a democratic state. All state power emanates from the people and is exercised by them through elections and votes (Article 20 of the Basic Law, which is of central importance in the structure of the Basic Law). Article 116 of the Basic Law determines who belongs to the state people; Independently of this, Article 28 paragraph 1 grants foreigners from EU countries the right to vote locally. The head of state is the Federal President (since 2017 Frank-Walter Steinmeier ). It is elected by the Federal Assembly, which meets for this purpose only, and has essentially representative tasks.
The Basic Law follows the principle of parliamentary democracy: It is not the people who vote directly on factual issues, but the members of the German Bundestag elected every four years as its representatives. At the federal level, referendums are only intended for the restructuring of the federal territory. Some state constitutions provide for such votes to a greater extent. The Federal Chancellor as head of government is elected by the Bundestag. At his suggestion, the Federal President appoints the other members of the Federal Government. The Federal Chancellor can only be overthrown by a constructive vote of no confidence, that is, if the Bundestag elects a successor with a majority of its members. Coalition governments based on a majority of members of the Bundestag from several parties are the rule in Germany.
Angela Merkel has been Federal Chancellor since 2005 . After early elections, a coalition of CDU / CSU and SPD was formed. In 2009–13 a coalition of CDU / CSU and FDP ruled. Merkel’s third and fourth government from 2013 and 2018, respectively, was a coalition with the SPD.
Germany is a social constitutional state. The principles of the separation of powers and the legality of administration (Article 20 GG) are of essential importance. Legislation is bound by the constitution, executive power and jurisdiction are bound by the constitution and the law. The legislature itself has to make essential decisions for the community and the citizen.
In order to ensure that state action also complies with the principles of the rule of law, Articles 1–19 of the Basic Law safeguard the basic rights of the individual vis-à-vis the state and, in some cases, vis-à-vis other social collective powers as rights that bind legislation, administration and jurisdiction as directly applicable law. Insofar as the basic rights can be restricted by law at all (legal reservation), this must have a general character and expressly state the restricted basic right (citation requirement of the Basic Law). The restriction must not affect the essence of the fundamental right in question. In the event of damage caused by a breach of official duties, the injured party is entitled to compensation from the state (Article 34, State liability). Exceptional courts are not permitted; no one may be withdrawn from their legal judge (Article 101). The death penalty has been abolished (Article 102). Everyone has the right to be heard in court. The arrest of a person is only permitted in accordance with the law and in the legal forms (Article 104). In the last instance, the Federal Constitutional Court monitors the constitutionality of the legislation, the executive and the administration of justice.
The school system is subject to the state supervision of the federal states. The relationship between state and religion is regulated in state church law (Article 140 of the Basic Law: Recognition of Articles 136-139 and 141 of the Weimar Constitution). A state church is forbidden, a strict separation of state and religion is not provided, the freedom of association is guaranteed. Religious instruction is in compliance with freedom of belief, conscience and freedom of belief(ideological neutrality of the Basic Law) regular subject at all public schools with the exception of non-denominational schools (Article 7 paragraph 3 GG); According to Article 141 of the Basic Law, this does not apply if a different regulation existed on January 1, 1949 (as in Bremen and Berlin [West]). The right to establish private schools is particularly guaranteed.