Local Government in Liberal Democracies: An Introductory Survey

By J. A. Chandler | Go to book overview

Chapter 6

Germany

A.R. Peters


CENTRAL AND STATE RELATIONS

The West German state dated from 1949 with the election of the first post-war government led by Konrad Adenauer. The reunited German state has largely been formed through the extension of the West German structures to the former communist areas. The technical distribution of power within the political system is delineated by the constitution known as the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) drawn up by a Constituent Assembly in 1948. The format adopted has been widely seen as reflective of the determination of the western occupying powers to establish a system of government firmly grounded in the principles of liberal democracy and with a clear-cut separation of powers. To this end, a federal system of government was adopted with legislative and administrative duties dispersed between ten states (Länder) and a federal government (Bund), currently installed in Bonn. Although elected assemblies have been created at both the state and federal level, legislative power lies largely with the federal assemblies. Under article 73 of the Grundgesetz, the Bund holds exclusive right to legislate in areas such as defence, foreign affairs, currency control, rail traffic, postal services and telecommunications. Although technically the Länder are free to legislate in all other areas, there is also a provision for concurrent powers whereby the federal government reserves the right to legislate in areas of national interest. Through the use of this wide-ranging power, federal legislation now effectively covers the legal system, economic management and most aspects of social welfare. In addition, through the establishment of framework legislation whereby the federal government lays down the broad policy guidelines but gives wide discretion to the Länder in the implementation of policy, the federal government has extended its influence into further areas such as higher education and land use.

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Local Government in Liberal Democracies: An Introductory Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vi
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Bibliography 6
  • Chapter 2 - England and Wales 7
  • Bibliography 27
  • Chapter 3 - The Republic of Ireland 28
  • Chapter 4 - France 53
  • Chapter 5 - Italy 73
  • Bibliography 98
  • Chapter 6 - Germany 99
  • Bibliography 117
  • Chapter 7 - Sweden 118
  • Chapter 8 - The United States of America 138
  • Bibliography 158
  • Chapter 9 - Canada 159
  • Chapter 10 - Conclusion 188
  • Bibliography 200
  • Index 201
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