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LIVING IN GERMANY

Political and Legal Order

Democracy

An older man voting

Germany is a democratic state. This is also codified in the constitution. Citizens who hold German citizenship and are over the age of 18 vote for their representative in the German parliament every four years. Voting is a right which can be exercised, but does not have to be.

The national parliament, which is called the "Bundestag" in Germany, votes for the Federal Chancellor ("Bundeskanzler") and keeps a check on the government. The government can also be voted out. Laws are voted on in the Bundestag and the majority has the say. The minority must accept the decision.

Accepting the decision of the majority

Citizens do not only take part in elections. Many are active in parties, unions, associations and campaign groups, often on a voluntary basis, which means they are not paid. There are usually advisory boards for foreigners and immigrants ("Ausländerbeirat/Migrationsbeirat") in municipalities ("Kommune"). These advisory boards are the political representatives of immigrants. They are usually elected by all of the people who have migrated to the Kommune. They advise the Kommune in questions of integration.