The Longest Night: Polemics and Perspectives on Election 2000

By Arthur J. Jacobson; Michel Rosenfeld | Go to book overview

16
SEVEN REASONS WHY BUSH V. GORE
WOULD HAVE BEEN UNLIKELY IN GERMANY

1. NO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

A direct parallel between the events of November and December 2000 in the United States and the situation in Germany cannot be drawn. The systems are too different. Whereas the United States is a presidential democracy, Germany can be characterized as a parliamentary democracy. The federal president, whose functions are more representative than political, is not elected by the people but by a special organ, the Bundesversammlung, composed of all members of the Bundestag (federal Parliament) and the same number of electors named by the parliaments of the various states (Länder). The chancellor is elected by the Bundestag. The people elect only the members of Parliament. This election is a direct one. The voters decide about the composition of Parliament without the intervention of electors nominated by the Länder.


2. ONLY FEDERAL LAW

Although German federalism is, generally, less dualistic than American federalism, it strictly separates federal and state spheres in matters relating to elections. The federal election is regulated by a federal law, the Bundeswahlgesetz (BWG). This law contains provisions as to suffrage requirements, composition and appointment of local, state, and federal election authorities, admission of candidates and parties, ballots, voting and counting procedures, control mechanisms, and so on. The technical details can be found in the Bundeswahlordnung (BWO), a regulation issued by the federal government. Another law, the Wahlprüfungsgesetz, regulates control of the legality of parliamentary elections. States and local communities have no

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