The Federal Republic of Germany is organised as a federal and parliamentary democracy. The Basic Law The Basic Law The Basic Law determines that Germany is a constitutional state: All state authorities are subject to judicial control. Section 1 of the Basic Law is of particular relevance. It stipulates that respect for human dignity is the most important aspect of the constitution: “Human dignity shall be… Read more › sets down that all state authority derives from the people. The people confer this power to the federal and state parliaments for one legislative period.
State authority is divided between the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch, which is responsible for the administration of justice. The separation of powers is a core component of all democracies and is enshrined in Germany’s constitution, the Basic Law The Basic Law The Basic Law determines that Germany is a constitutional state: All state authorities are subject to judicial control. Section 1 of the Basic Law is of particular relevance. It stipulates that respect for human dignity is the most important aspect of the constitution: “Human dignity shall be… Read more › . Parliaments belong to the legislative branch, while governments belong to the executive branch. The judicial branch holds a key role as judges in courts at both state and federal levels are independent and make decisions solely based on law. The highest court in Germany is the Federal Constitutional Court The Federal Constitutional Court The Federal Constitutional Court is a characteristic institution of post-war German democracy. The Basic Law accorded it the right to repeal legislation passed as part of the legitimate democratic process should it come to the conclusion that such legislation contravenes the Basic Law. The… Read more › , which supervises compliance with the Basic Law. All other state authorities are bound by the decisions of the 16 constitutional judges.
The Federal President Federal President The Federal President is the head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany. He represents the country in its dealings with other countries and appoints government members, judges and high-ranking civil servants. With his signature, acts become legally binding. He can dismiss the government and,… Read more › is the highest-ranking representative of Germany in terms of protocol. The second-highest ranking individual, in terms of protocol, is the President of the Bundestag The Bundestag The Bundestag is the elected representation of the German people. Technically speaking half the 598 seats in the Bundestag are allocated by means of the parties’ state lists (the second vote) and the other half by the direct election of candidates in the 299 constituencies (the first vote). This… Read more › . The President of the Bundesrat The Bundesrat The Bundesrat represents the federal states and alongside the Bundestag is a form of Second Chamber. It is obliged to deliberate on each federal law. As the chamber of the federal states, the Bundesrat has the same function as those Second Chambers in other federal states that are mostly referred… Read more › acts as deputy to the Federal President. This office is held in rotation for one year by the prime minister of one of the 16 states. The office with the greatest political decision-making power is the Federal Chancellor Federal chancellor The Federal Chancellor is the only member of the Federal Government to be elected. The constitution empowers him to personally choose his ministers, who head the most important political authorities. Moreover it is the Chancellor who determines the number of ministries and their responsibilities… Read more › , who sets guidelines for policy. The President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Germany’s highest court, is another high-ranking representative of the state.
At a glance
SPD, Federal Chancellor since December 2021
SPD, President of the Bundestag since October 2021
Federal President since March 2017
President of the Federal Constitutional Court