Political culture of Germany


Political culture of Germany

The political culture of Germany as of the early 21st century is known for the popular expectation for governments to ensure a degree of social welfare, business and labour corporatism and a multiparty system dominated by social democratic and moderate conservative forces, with a strong influence of smaller Green, liberal and post-Communist parties. Coalition governments are predominant on both the federal and the state level exemplyfying the German desire for consensus politics instead of one party majority rule as in democracies that follow the Westminster model. Although this consensus culture is beneficial insofar as it enables minority groups to take part in political discussions and decision making it often leads to situations in which different interest groups blockade each other resulting in political gridlocks. Political decisionmaking is further complicated by the powers held by the German states and the presence of a judicial branch with the power to review and dismiss legislation. Therefore political power in Germany is not concentrated in the hands of one or a small number of individuals but spread thinly. Even the Chancellor can only set general guidelines for federal policies (Richtlinienkompetenz) and has to negotiate with many other politicians and interest groups when there is a need to take concrete measures.

In contrast, the country is uneasy with its central position in European integration and is struggling with integrating immigrants, mainly from Muslim and eastern Eurasian countries, and the continued gap between the wealthier former West Germany and the former East Germany.

An ongoing debate in the German political landscape within the last several years has been the adoption of the Hartz reforms, based on the Hartz concept. These reforms have begun to change the social welfare state and have brought complaints from the populace.

Germany is also historically uncomfortable with nationalism and militarism after the First World War and the Second World War which left the nation occupied, in ruins, and divided.


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