The West German Legislative Process: A Case Study of Two Transportation Bills

By Gerard Braunthal | Go to book overview

[CHAPTER III]
Executive Stage:
The Ministries Feud

Legislative initiative increasingly has fallen into the hands of the executive.1 In the United States, more power has accrued to the presidency. In the parliamentary systems of Great Britain and the European Continent, the prime ministers, premiers, and chancellors map out the framework for public policy, and draft bills for enactment by parliaments in which they generally enjoy majority support.

In West Germany, the Government had been responsible for shaping the transportation policy in the first legislative period ( 1949-1953). Only briefly toward the end of this period did Parliament take the initiative, but the effort failed. Hence the Government had to renew its search for a solution, since the railroad crisis did not take a holiday during the parliamentary recess.

On July 7, 1953, the Cabinet met to resolve the transportation crisis. The session revealed profound differences of opinion on a basically nonpolitical matter among Cabinet members. During the discussion, the Minister of Finance alerted other members to the possibility of an emergency law should the financial plight of the Bundesbahn worsen in the immediate future. He also pleaded for the drafting of a comprehen

____________________
1
The causes for this accretion of power are examined on page 81.

-34-

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