Business, work and life in Germany in English

The political system of Germany in diagrams and tables - brief and pictorial information about the political structure of Germany

On this page of our website you will learn about the political structure of Germany: the information is presented in simple and clear terms, using diagrams, charts and tables.

§ Political system of Germany in brief

The country of Germany is a Federal Republic: it includes 16 federated states, that have political autonomy as to the domestic policies, while remaining within the political and legal borders of the state or Federation per se. Thus, the country's political system includes the federal (or state) and regional levels, each of which has their own system of legislative, executive and judicial powers. Yet, the federal law takes precedence over the law of the federated states. Read more about the state and territorial structure of Germany.

In Germany, there are 2 levels of the political system: federal and regional (the one of the federated state).

Germany is a democratic state having advanced legal and social systems. The country's Basic Law is the German Constitution, which shapes the basis and structure of the country's legal and political systems, determining the basic rights of people living in Germany; these basic rights shall not be violated by any political body or person.

Brief general information about the political system, legislative, executive and judicial authorities is available in Table 1 presented below.

Table 1. Political system and structure of Germany in brief

Political system
Political regime Democracy
Form of government Parliamentary Republic
Form of state structure Federation
State description Rule of law and social welfare state
German economic system Socially oriented market economy
Basic Law German Constitution
Tiers of authority Federal and regional (the one of the federated state)
Major political parties CDU, CSU, SPD, AfD, FDP, Die Linke (the Left-Wing Party), Die Grünen (the Greens)
Federal level
Head of state Federal President
Main legislative bodies The Bundestag (the Federal Parliament) and the Bundesrat (the Federal Council)
The Bundestag composition Deputies or the Bundestag members
The Bundesrat composition Members of the government of each federated state
Main executive body Federal Government
The Government composition Federal Chancellor and Ministers
Head of the government Federal Chancellor
Major Judiciary Сonstitutional Сourt and other federal courts
Federated states level
Form of government Parliamentary Republic
Basic Laws Constitutions of the federated states
Main legislative bodies Landtags or the federated states parliaments
Main executive bodies Federated states governments
Major Judiciary Regional (federated states) courts of first instance

§ Federal level: political structure, authorities, elements of the political system

The top level of power in Germany is that of the Federation or state. At this level, issues related to the interests of the entire state are resolved: foreign policy, defense, the country's budget, etc. The Basic Law or Constitution defines at the Federal level 5 main permanent or standing political bodies of Germany, as well as 2 bodies or assemblies convened for specific purposes. All of them are listed below.

Main political bodies, authorities of Germany

§ Level of the federated states, constituent entities of the Federation: political structure, authorities, elements of the political system

The form of government in each federated state of Germany is the Parliamentary Republic (in German: Parlamentarische Republik), thus, the parliament plays the leading role in the federated state policy, and the federated state government is responsible to the parliament. The major authorities in the German federated states are as follows:

§ Democracy and elections in Germany: who elects whom

Germany is a democratic country, so the citizens of the country elect deputies to the Parliament of the Federation and those of the federated states. Deputies, being representatives of the people, exercise legislative power on their behalf, as well as elect individuals to the country's executive and judicial bodies.

The figure below demonstrates the election scheme in Germany.

Election scheme in Germany: who elects whom

Explanation of the election scheme in Germany:

For details about the elections in Germany see a dedicated page of our website.

§ Political symbols of Germany

The political symbols of Germany are as follows: flag, coat of arms and anthem; they are the symbols of national unity. The main colours of the country's national symbols are black, red and gold. Each federated state of Germany has their own flag and their own coat of arms.

German flag and coat of arms

The third stanza of the song called “The Song of the Germans” (in German: Das Lied der Deutschen), verses by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, music by Joseph Haydn, was adopted as the words to the national anthem of Germany.

For details about the national symbols of Germany see a dedicated page of our website:

§ Political parties in Germany

Political parties play an important role in the German politics; they largely determine the country's policies. The country's Constitution states that political parties contribute to the formation of the political will of the people and can be created freely. Both the Constitution of the country and the Political Parties Act set out the main provisions as to the structure, activities and accountability of political parties.

For details about the political parties in Germany see a dedicated page of our website:

§ German Federal Ministries

The Federal Chancellor nominates the Federal Ministers for their Cabinet; each Minister is the head of the Ministry responsible for solving a certain range of tasks in compliance with the Federal Chancellor's directives. In total, there are 15 Federal Ministries in Germany. The table below shows the names of state Ministries in English and German, as well as the scope of their major tasks.

Table 2. German Ministries

Name of the Ministry Abbreviation Scope of functions for the Ministry
Ministry of Finance
BMF Taxes, cash benefits, pensions
Ministry of the Interior and Community
Innern und für Heimat
BMI Internal security of the country, police, army, migration, integration, sport, religion, national unity
Foreign Office
Auswärtiges Amt
AA Foreign policy, European policies
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz
BMWK Economics and energy, telecommunications, post office, railways
Ministry of Justice
BMJ Rights, legislation, consumer protection
Ministry for Employment and Social Affairs
Arbeit und Soziales
BMAS Labor law, employment, education, pensioners, people with disabilities, social security
Ministry of Defense
BMVg Army, weapons, defense of the country, support of other states during conflicts
Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Ernährung und Landwirtschaft
BMEL Food, agriculture, food safety, consumer protection
Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend
BMFSFJ Family, elderly, women, youth, charity, volunteers
Ministry for Health
BMG Doctors, hospitals, patients, treatment, rehabilitation, health insurance, nursing insurance, prevention of diseases and addictions
Ministry for Digital and Transport
Digitales und Verkehr
BMDV Transport, transportation of people, goods and data, traffic rules and road safety, roads, Internet
Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection
Umwelt, Naturschutz, nukleare Sicherheit und Verbraucherschutz
BMUV Environmental protection, protection of citizens from radiation, climate
Ministry of Education and Research
Bildung und Forschung
BMBF Education, science, international exchange
Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung
BMZ Assistance to poor countries, contributions to development funds, cooperation and support to partner countries
Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building
Wohnen, Stadtentwicklung und Bauwesen
BMWSB Housing construction, urban development and regional planning

§ German domestic policy

The coalition agreement in Germany concluded between the leading political parties gives a comprehensive picture of political goals and directions in the domestic as well as in the European and foreign policies of the country.

German domestic policy

The country's domestic policy is aimed at preserving and developing Germany as an economically strong and socially fair country. The focal points of the domestic policy are reduced to the following key items:

European policy of Germany

German politicians pay great attention to the development and support of the European Union. A strong and united Europe is the best guarantee for Germany regarding a better future, peace, freedom and prosperity. Europe is currently facing a number of very difficult tasks; besides, in recent years, the global balance of power in politics, economics and military operations has changed. All this requires serious transformations in Europe. The focal points regarding the European policy are as follows:

§ German foreign policy

The country's modern foreign policy is inextricably linked with ensuring peace and stability, as well as with the activities of the UN and the EU. The list offered below features the focal points regarding the German foreign policy.

§ Country budget of Germany

For details about the country budget of Germany see a dedicated page of our website.

§ Military-political blocs and alliances, security organizations, of which Germany is a member

Under the Constitution, in order to ensure peace, the Federal Republic of Germany may be part of a system of mutual collective security. Furthermore, the country may agree to restrict their sovereign rights in order to establish and ensure a lasting peace and order in Europe and in relations between peoples of the whole world. Thus, Germany is a member of the following alliances:

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