Germany is divided into 16 federal states: Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Bayern, Berlin, Brandenburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen, and Thueringen. The country’s constitution was introduced on 23 May, 1949 and is known as the Basic Law. However it didn't become the constitution of the united German people till 3 October 1990.
The country’s legislature is bicameral, or consists of two chambersthe Federal Assembly or Bundestag and the Federal Council or Bundesrat.
The major political parties in Germany include:
- Christian Democratic Union of Germany
- Social Democratic Party of Germany
- Free Democratic Party
- The Left
- Alliance 90 / The Greens
- Christian-Social Union in Bavaria
(Sources: worldwide-tax, photius , destatis)
The head of state is the President, who is elected by the Federal Convention. Christian Wulff, the current President, was sworn into office on July 2010. The Chancellor is the head of the government and is appointed by the President. Angela Merkel has been the Chancellor since November 2005, and is the first woman to be elected as Chancellor.
Regulatory environment in Germany
Germany has a federal republic government, where the powers are shared between the state and the national government.
Germany's economic freedom score is 71.8, making it the 23rd freest economy in the 2011 index. Due to modest improvements in freedom from corruption, and government spending, the overall score has improved slightly. The country ranked 12th out of the 43 countries in the European region, and compared to world average its overall score is remarkably higher.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Germany is ranked 15th on this list, which indicates a limited level of corruption in public departments of the country. The country is currently scored 7.9, compared to the previous year score of 8,
Freedom of information
The German Freedom of Information Act (Informationsfreiheitsgesetz) came into force on 1 January 2006. It inputs a legal right to access official information held by Federal authorities. However, there are certain number of exemptions.
Basic Law of the nation guarantees the freedom of the press, and it provides the right for freedom of information, expression, criticism and independence. WDR, situated in Cologne, is Germany’s biggest radio and TV station, and is one of largest broadcasting and television providers in Europe.
(Source: bundesbank.de, fnf.org)
The World Press Freedom Index 2010 ranks Germany 17th with a score of 4.25, indicating moderate levels of government influence on the media.
The Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht is the judicial authority of Germany. Half of the judges of this court are elected by the Bundestag (Federal Assembly) and the remaining half are elected by the Bundesrat (Federal Council).