You are here -allRefer - Reference - Country Study & Country Guide - Germany >

allRefer Reference and Encyclopedia Resource

allRefer    
allRefer
   


-- Country Study & Guide --     

 

Germany

 
Country Guide
Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Armenia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belize
Bhutan
Bolivia
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Chad
Chile
China
Colombia
Caribbean Islands
Comoros
Cyprus
Czechoslovakia
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Estonia
Ethiopia
Finland
Georgia
Germany
Germany (East)
Ghana
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Cote d'Ivoire
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Laos
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macau
Madagascar
Maldives
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Moldova
Mongolia
Nepal
Nicaragua
Nigeria
North Korea
Oman
Pakistan
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Romania
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Seychelles
Singapore
Somalia
South Africa
South Korea
Soviet Union [USSR]
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Syria
Tajikistan
Thailand
Turkmenistan
Turkey
Uganda
United Arab Emirates
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yugoslavia
Zaire

Germany

Constitutional Framework

The Constitution

The framers of the Federal Republic of Germany's 1949 constitution sought to create safeguards against the emergence of either an overly fragmented, multiparty democracy, similar to the Weimar Republic (1918-33), or authoritarian institutions characte ristic of the Nazi dictatorship of the Third Reich (1933-45). Thus, negative historical experience played a major role in shaping the constitution.

Articles 1 through 19 delineate basic rights that apply to all German citizens, including equality before the law; freedom of speech, assembly, the news media, and worship; freedom from discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or political beli efs; and the right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service. In reaction to the experience of the Third Reich, the framers of the Basic Law did, however, place limits on extremist political activities that might threaten to subvert the de mocratic political order. Article 18 states: "Whoever abuses freedom of expression of opinion, in particular freedom of the press, freedom of teaching, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, privacy of posts and telecommunications, property, or the right of asylum in order to combat the free democratic basic order, shall forfeit these basic rights." Article 18 was employed twice in the 1950s to ban political parties of the extreme right and left. Article 18 is seen as an essential component of a wehrhafte Demokratie --a democracy that can defend itself, unlike the Weimar Republic.

Article 20 states that "the Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal state." The word "social" has been commonly interpreted to mean that the state has the responsibility to provide for the basic social welfare of its citizens. T he Basic Law, however, does not enumerate specific social duties of the state. Further, according to Article 20, "All state authority emanates from the people. It shall be exercised by the people by means of elections and voting and by specific legislativ e, executive, and judicial organs."

Most of the Basic Law's 146 articles describe the composition and functions of various organs of government, as well as the intricate system of checks and balances governing their interaction. Other major issues addressed in the Basic Law include the distribution of power between the federal government and the state (Land ; pl., Lšnder ) governments, the administration of federal laws, government finance, and government administration under emergency conditions. The Basic Law is virtually silent on economic matters; only Article 14 guarantees "property and the right of inheritance" and states that "expropriation shall be permitted only in the public weal."

Any amendment to the Basic Law must receive the support of at least two-thirds of the members in both federal legislative chambers--the Bundestag (Federal Diet or lower house) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council or upper house). Certain provisions of t he Basic Law cannot be amended: those relating to the essential structures of federalism; the division of powers; the principles of democracy, social welfare, and fundamental rights; and the principle of state power based on law. Of the many amendments to the Basic Law, among the most notable are the "defense addenda" of 1954-56, which regulate the constitutional position of the armed forces, and the "Emergency Constitution" of 1968, which delineates wider executive powers in the case of an internal or ex ternal emergency.

Data as of August 1995

Germany - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Government and Politics

  • Go Up - Top of Page

    Make allRefer Reference your HomepageAdd allRefer Reference to your FavoritesGo to Top of PagePrint this PageSend this Page to a Friend


    Information Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies


    Content on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. We accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any person resulting from information published on this site. We encourage you to verify any critical information with the relevant authorities.

     

     

     
     


    About Us | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy | Links Directory
    Link to allRefer | Add allRefer Search to your site

    ©allRefer
    All Rights reserved. Site best viewed in 800 x 600 resolution.