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14 Dec 2010
School
Course
POL207 Lecture 5 October 13
th
2010
Parliamentary Democracy in Germany
Has broad features of Br itish Parliamentary regime, but differs in a number of key
respects;
1.Electoral system (PR + 5% threshold) ensures tha t all governments are coalition
governments, requiring cross-party consensus building and compromise
2. Bundesrat (senate or upper house) has an absolute veto over constitutional
responsibilities and Laender financing and a suspensive veto over all else; when the
government loses its majority in the Bundesrat, there exists a German for m of divided
government
3. Powerful committee structure ensures tha t legislators make an independent
contribution to the development of policy [discussed in legislative process, below]
German governments, 1945-present
In most of the governments since 1949 the CDU have been part of government. The
FDP has been consistently in power since the 1960s.
The German Party System
Germany is something of a hybr id of the two systems:
Electoral system ensusres multiparty representation, but the threshold (5%) and the need
to avoid a constructive vote of non-conf idence leads to cohesive government
Parties are constitutionally entrenched and state-funded. They are powerful, well-funded
and exercise a strong inf luence on policy, though the CDU has traditionally been highly
dependent on leader (Adeneaur/Kohl)
They are also the main source of cor ruption in Germany
Postwar party histor y characterized by a strong degree of stability
Major parties in Germany
-Chr istian Democrats (CDU, Chr istliche Demokratische Union)
-Chr istian Socialists (Chr istliche, Soziale Union, CSU); Bavarian sister party to CDU,
split of the 2 parties avoided the emergence of a regional cleavage
-Free Democrats (FDP, Freie demokratische Partei); neo-liberal, libertarian party
-Greens (die Gruenen), ecological party, of greatest appeal of the ’68 generation;
combines support of decentralized economy with strong environmental protection
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Document Summary

Has broad features of british parliamentary regime, but differs in a number of key respects; In most of the governments since 1949 the cdu have been part of government. Fdp has been consistently in power since the 1960s. Germany is something of a hybrid of the two systems: Electoral system ensusres multiparty representation, but the threshold (5%) and the need to avoid a constructive vote of non-confidence leads to cohesive government. They are powerful, well-funded and exercise a strong influence on policy, though the cdu has traditionally been highly dependent on leader (adeneaur/kohl) They are also the main source of corruption in germany. Postwar party history characterized by a strong degree of stability. Christian socialists (christliche, soziale union, csu); bavarian sister party to cdu, split of the 2 parties avoided the emergence of a regional cleavage. Free democrats (fdp, freie demokratische partei); neo-liberal, libertarian party.

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