Article: German system of government

Bundesregierung / The Federal Government

Germany is a republic with a parliamentary democracy and a bicameral system of government. The Federal Government consists of the Chancellor and his or her ministers who are drawn from the members of the Bundestag. The ministers usually belong to the parties who form the ruling coalition.

Bundestag / The Federal Parliament

The Bundestag is made up of representatives elected by the German people. The Bundestag's main tasks are to draft and pass legislation, approve the national budget and to vote on the deployment of the German army (Bundeswehr). The members of the Bundestag are elected by the people of Germany. Elections to the Bundestag take place every four years.

Elections are carried out using a system of proportional representation. As a result, it is difficult for one party to gain an overall majority and coalition government is the norm. To prevent the splintering of parties or a radical party gaining power, parties have to obtain more than five percent of the vote.

Bundesrat / The Federal Council

The Bundesrat is the second chamber of the German parliament and represents the federal states’ interests at national level. There are 69 members of the Bundesrat. The Bundesrat is involved in creating and approving legislation.

Bundespräsident / The Federal President

The Federal President is elected by the Bundesversammlung (made up of representatives of the Bundestag and an equal number of representatives from the state parliaments) for a period of five years. The Federal President is the head of the German state. His roles are mainly ceremonial, representing the country both at home and abroad. However, he also has the power to appoint and dismiss the Chancellor.

Weisheit / Wisdom

Wir wollen mehr Demokratie wagen! ('We want to take a chance on more democracy!') Willy Brandt, German Chancellor from 1969 - 1974.