Politics and Government
The German government consists of three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial.
The current Kaiserin is Elisabeth Charlotte of Westphalia, married to Kurfurst Franz Wilhelm II of Prussia. They have five children: Alexandra, Wilhelm, Richard, Karoline, and Juliana.
The duties of the Kaiser have slowly evolved from the creation of the position in 1871 to the present. The functions of the Kaiser include:
- being Head of State
- receiving ambassadors or foreign representatives
- opening the Reichstag/-rat session for each year
- dissolving the government and calling for new elections
- proposing legislation for consideration by the Reichstag or Reichsrat
- acting as Commander-in-Chief for the Imperial Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines
- Representing Germany abroad during state visits
- asking the Reichsrat for a declaration of war
- issuing pardons for prisoners
The current line of succession would be; Alexandra, Wilhelm (as Kaiser Wilhelm V), Richard, Karoline, then Juliana.
Acting as a counterpart to the American Cabinet system, the Imperial Ministry is a collection of all the federal level ministers of Germany. They are not allowed to be members of the legislature while serving in the Ministry. The Ministers act as advisers for the Kaiser in conducting daily business of the German Empire. The Reichskanzler (Chancellor of the Realm) heads the cabinet, along with:
- Minister of State (foreign minister) and Vice-Chancellor
- Minister of Agriculture
- Minister of Defense
- Minister of Economics
- Minister of Education and Research
- Minister of Finance
- Minister of the Interior
- Minister of Justice
- Minister of Science and Technology
- Minister of Transport and Urban Affairs
- Head of the Chancellery
Legislature of Germany
The Reichsrat is the upper house of the German Parliament, and represents each of the 37 states. Each state gets 4 representatives, with Berlin getting 2 as a federal city as well, bringing the total number of Ratsmänner to 150. A member of the upper house cannot hold a state position at the same time, and is chosen by the legislature of the German states.
The Reichsrat is responsible for ratifying treaties with foreign countries and approving appointments to federal ministries.
The Reichstag is the lower house, with 525 members, apportioned amongst the 37 states according to population. This house is responsible for revenue bills, and initiates a vote of no confidence in the Kaiser, should the situation arise.
Parties in Germany
There are a number of political parties in Germany, mostly what Americans would term "right of center."
Election Results for the Reichstag (18 October, 2008)
- Number of Seats: 525
- FDP: 221 members
- CDU: 108 members
- Minor Parties
- FKP: 38 members
- NLP: 28 members
- DZP: 55 members (German Center Party, a union of the old DZP and the Christliche Mitte)
- SPD: 24 members
- Die Republikaner: 47
- Die Linke: 3 members
- Die Grünen: 1 member
Election Results for the Reichsrat (18 October, 2008)
- Number of Seats: 150
- FDP: 62
- CDU: 31
- DZP: 15
- Republikaner: 15
- SPD: 8
- FKP: 11
- NLP: 9
States of Germany
Germany has an area of 781,521.51 km2 (301,747.142 mi2), consisting of 98% land and 2% water. There are 37 states in Germany, most with a royal family either as a head of state or in a ceremonial function.