Developments in West German Politics by Gordon Smith, William E. Paterson, Peter H. Merki

By Gordon Smith, William E. Paterson, Peter H. Merki

This publication provides up to date checks of key developments and matters within the Federal Republic with enough history research to make the therapy of a number of the themes obtainable to these with no distinctive past wisdom of German politics.

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This initiative by the federal government in 1967 as a way of coordinating economic policy by means of a 'summit tripartism' was seen at the time as completing the edifice of German corporatism, but ten years later it was permanently abandoned. This episode does not point to the fragility of corporatism; on the contrary it draws attention even more to the sources of its strength - that is, within particular economic and industrial sectors and at a host of intermediate levels.

One result of this skewing is that the Bundestag is not suited to being a political forum or serving as a focus of public attention and communication, even though its detailed control over government is probably as effective as for other parliaments. In other ways, the Bundestag is relatively divorced from the government and its ministers. tion, and party speakers in debate have one allocation and ministers another. The sense of distance is increased by the fact that recruitment to ministerial office is not necessarily preceded by experience as a Bundestag member.

This effect is compounded if, as has usually been the case, it is the political opposition that appeals to the Court after it has been unsuccessful in the legislature. The intermeshing is made even more apparent when the Court takes it upon itself to exercise a de facto amending power. This it can effectively accomplish in stating why it thinks a particular law is 32 Structures of Government does not fully conform with the relevant part of the Basic Law (which article is relevant the Court decides), and- further- it can indicate in what respects the law should be changed to ensure conformity.

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