Germany looks back on a long history. As a state in today’s sense, it has existed since 1871. Ups and downs, world wars, the inhuman dictatorship of the National Socialists and the division into two German states followed. The Federal Republic of Germany, which was founded in 1949, has learned from its history: the democratic constitution is a guarantee for this.
The German Basic Law is the most important legal basis for living together in Germany. It starts with Article 1: “Human dignity is inviolable. It is the duty of all state power to respect and protect them. ”The guaranteed basic rights also include freedom of opinion, information and freedom of the press (Article 5), equality of people before the law (Article 3), and freedom of religion (Article 4), freedom of association (Article 9), the right to freely choose a profession, workplace and training facility (Article 12) and protection against political persecution (right of asylum, Article 16a). The Basic Law defines Germany as
Rule of law: all state action is subject to judicial control.
Federal state: power is divided between the 16 federal states > and the central state; the term “federalism” is often used for this.
Welfare state: the government takes precautions to promote social justice and guarantee citizens all necessary social security. This includes guaranteeing citizens a decent livelihood in the event of unemployment, disability and illness, as well as in old age.
The fundamental rights, the democratic form of rule, the federal state and the welfare state have an eternal character, which means that they must not be touched either by a change in the Basic Law or by a new constitution in the future.
A federal state with five permanent
Germany is a federal state. Until 1990 the Federal Republic consisted of eleven federal states, with the reunification with the German Democratic Republic in 1990 five more were added. Since then, the federal capital and seat of government has been Berlin, but some federal ministries also have an official seat in the former capital, Bonn. Germany has had a stable democracy for more than 60 years, which is also supported and lived by its citizens.
The five permanent constitutional organs of the Federal Republic are the Federal President (the head of state), the Bundestag (the elected representative of the German people), the Bundesrat (the representation of the federal states, a kind of second chamber next to the Bundestag), the Federal Government (the Federal Chancellor) and the federal ministers) and the Federal Constitutional Court (the highest court).
The separation of powers, i.e. the distribution of state power over several state organs, is an important part of the constitution. Legislative (legislative), enforcement (executive) and judiciary (judiciary) must never be the responsibility of a single instance.
Parties and elections
According to the Basic Law, the political parties have the task of helping to shape the political will of the people.
The 19th German Bundestag – elected on September 24, 2017 – currently consists of the two union parties CDU (Christian Democratic Union) and CSU (Christian Social Union), which together with the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) form the government. The opposition parties are the AfD (Alternative for Germany), the FDP (Free Democratic Party), Die Linke and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen.
The elections of the Bundestag and the state parliaments are free, secret and equal (each vote counts equally). The elections are also immediate, which means that the voters choose the MPs directly from a list. In Germany, all citizens aged 18 and over can vote and be elected, because the elections are general.
EU & Germany's partners
Through numerous alliances, partnerships and memberships in organizations, Germany today has a friendly relationship with many countries in the world and works together with them for peace, democracy and human rights. For example, Germany is a member of the European Union. This guarantees Germans and all other Union citizens, among other things, the so-called Freedom of movement, i.e. free travel, living, shopping, studying or working within the EU. There is freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital on the internal market and any discrimination against EU citizens based on nationality is prohibited. Further information on the free movement of employers and much more can be obtained from the EU equality body.
In addition to the EU, Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO and in the group of permanent representatives of the G7 and G20 summits. This comprehensive cooperation is supplemented by numerous bilateral partnerships and trade agreements.
The Federal Republic of Germany has been a politically very stable country since it was founded. The state powers are divided into the legislative power (legislative), the executive power (executive) and the judicial power (judiciary). The aim of this subdivision is to prevent the concentration and abuse of political power. The separation of powers ensures a high degree of legal security. Legal security means: You can rely on the laws and their appreciation as well as the administration and independent jurisdiction in Germany. The fourth power is often mentioned as freedom of the press ( Basic Law Article 5), which is a valuable asset in Germany.
An international comparison shows that Germany is one of the safest countries in the world. In the world’s leading ranking of the “Global Peace Index”, Germany 2020 is among the top 20 most peaceful countries (16th place out of 163 countries and regions). Iceland is ranked the safest country in the world, followed by New Zealand and Portugal. The peacefulness of a country is determined for this index on the basis of numerous parameters, such as an intact government or the corruption rates.
In order to maintain internal security and stability, the Federal Government invests a great deal in security research, in which both more complex tasks and questions of security law are dealt with. In the event of an emergency, a network of security authorities and rescue services is available in Germany for the safety of the population and for disaster control at a high technical and organizational level.