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Germany:
Government

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Country name
Definition
conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany
conventional short form: Germany
local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland
local short form: Deutschland
former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich
Government type
Definition
federal republic
Capital
Definition
name: Berlin
geographic coordinates: 52 31 N, 13 24 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions
Definition
16 states (Laender, singular - Land); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, Thueringen (Thuringia); note - Bayern, Sachsen, and Thueringen refer to themselves as free states (Freistaaten, singular - Freistaat)
Independence
Definition
18 January 1871 (German Empire unification); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and later, France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; unification of West Germany and East Germany took place 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights 15 March 1991
National holiday
Definition
Unity Day, 3 October (1990)
Constitution
Definition
23 May 1949, known as Basic Law; became constitution of the united Germany 3 October 1990
Legal system
Definition
civil law system with indigenous concepts; judicial review of legislative acts in the Federal Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage
Definition
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
Definition
chief of state: President Horst KOEHLER (since 1 July 2004)
head of government: Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet or Bundesminister (Federal Ministers) appointed by the president on the recommendation of the chancellor
elections: president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention, including all members of the Federal Assembly and an equal number of delegates elected by the state parliaments; election last held 23 May 2004 (next scheduled for 23 May 2009); chancellor elected by an absolute majority of the Federal Assembly for a four-year term; Bundestag vote for Chancellor last held 22 November 2005 (next will follow the national elections to be held by autumn 2009)
election results: Horst KOEHLER elected president; received 604 votes of the Federal Convention against 589 for Gesine SCHWAN; Angela MERKEL elected chancellor; vote by Federal Assembly 397 to 202 with 12 abstentions
Legislative branch
Definition
bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Federal Assembly or Bundestag (614 seats; elected by popular vote under a system combining direct and proportional representation; a party must win 5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain proportional representation and caucus recognition; to serve four-year terms) and the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes; state governments are directly represented by votes; each has three to six votes depending on population and are required to vote as a block)
elections: Bundestag - last held on 18 September 2005 (next to be held no later than autumn 2009); note - there are no elections for the Bundesrat; composition is determined by the composition of the state-level governments; the composition of the Bundesrat has the potential to change any time one of the 16 states holds an election
election results: Bundestag - percent of vote by party - CDU/CSU 35.2%, SPD 34.3%, FDP 9.8%, Left 8.7%, Greens 8.1%, other 3.9%; seats by party - CDU/CSU 225, SPD 222, FDP 61, Left 53, Greens 51, independents 2
Judicial branch
Definition
Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (half the judges are elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat)
Political parties and leaders
Definition
Alliance '90/Greens [Claudia ROTH and Reinhard BUETIKOFER]; Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Angela MERKEL]; Christian Social Union or CSU [Erwin HUBER]; Free Democratic Party or FDP [Guido WESTERWELLE]; Left Party or Die Linke [Lothar BISKY and Oskar LAFONTAINE]; Social Democratic Party or SPD [Kurt BECK]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Definition
other: business associations and employers' organizations; religious, trade unions, immigrant, expellee, and veterans groups
International organization participation
Definition
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
Definition
chief of mission: Ambassador Klaus SCHARIOTH
chancery: 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 298-4000
FAX: [1] (202) 298-4249
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
Definition
chief of mission: Ambassador William R. TIMKEN, Jr.
embassy: Pariser Platz 2, 10117 Berlin; note - new embassy opened 4 July 2008
mailing address: PSC 120, Box 1000, APO AE 09265
telephone: [49] (030) 2375174
FAX: [49] (030) 8305-1215
consulate(s) general: Duesseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich
Flag description
Definition
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and gold


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