Germany’s Government: Chancellor Democracy
Political Science 90
The German system of government is often referred to as a “Chancellor
democracy” owing to the powers and responsibilities of the Federal Chancellor,
head of federal government. The Chancellor is directly elected by the bundestag,
Germany’s parliament, upon the proposal of a candidate from the Federal
President, currently Prof. Dr. Roman Herzog. The Chancellor is the only member
of the government elected by the parliament and he alone is accountable to it.
The Chancellor chooses the federal ministers that will compose the cabinet and
proposes them to the President for appointment or dismissal. He also determines
the number of ministers and their responsibilities. The guidelines of government
policy are set by the Chancellor, placing him in a particularly strong position
in government. That the Chancellor is accountable to parliament is evidenced by
the inclusion of the constructive vote of no confidence in the Basic Law. A
vote of no confidence in the the current Chancellor must also be a vote of
confidence for a successor. It was in this way that the current Chancellor, Dr.
Helmut Kohl, was elected in 1982.