Country Listing

Germany Table of Contents


Government and Politics

Government: Basic Law of 1949, as amended, functions as constitution. Federalist system whereby federal government shares authority with sixteen state (Land; pl., Länder) governments. Dual executive consists of chancellor, who is head of government, and president, who is head of state. Two federal legislative bodies form national parliament: Bundesrat (Federal Council or upper house), consisting of sixty-nine members appointed by Land governments in proportion to population; and Bundestag (Federal Diet or lower house), main legislative body, consisting of 672 popularly elected members. Chancellor is elected by Bundestag and functions as prime minister in cabinet.

Politics: Since 1982 a conservative coalition in power con-sisting of Christian Democratic Union (Christlich Demo-kratische Union--CDU); its sister party, Christian Social Union (Christlich-Soziale Union--CSU), based in Bavaria; and Free Democratic Party (Freie Demokratische Partei--FDP). Oppo-sition consists of Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands--SPD), Alliance 90/The Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Party of Demo-cratic Socialism (Partei des Demokratischen Sozia-lismus--PDS), based mainly in territory of former German Democratic Republic, and a number of very small parties. Federal elections for Bundestag usually held every four years; Land and local elections scattered throughout term of federal officeholders. All citizens eighteen and older eligible to vote; high voter turnout.

Judicial System: Independent judiciary using civil law system. Highest court is Federal Constitutional Court.

International Affairs: Member of European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), United Nations (UN) and its specialized agencies, and Western European Union (WEU).

National Security

Armed Forces: In October 1995, Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) consisted of army, navy, and air force, totaling 335,800, including 137,300 conscripts. Army personnel amounted to 234,000, including 112,800 conscripts; navy 28,500, including 4,500 Naval Air Arm personnel and 5,800 conscripts; and air force 73,300, including 18,700 conscripts. Reserves totaled 356,200 (337,100 in army, 12,600 in navy, and 6,500 in air force.). Enlisted personnel have reserve obligation to age forty-five; officers and noncommissioned officers, to age sixty.

Military Budget: In 1996, US$32.2 billion.

Internal Security Forces: Federal Border Force of 24,000 (early 1995) under Ministry of Interior. Trained and equipped as light infantry, but duty does not include military activities. Each Land maintains units of Readiness Police similarly trained. Readiness Police can be moved across Land lines if needed for emergency duty, such as during civil disturbances.

Data as of August 1995