Chapter 14 - POLI 212 Notes

Chapter 14 - POLI 212 Notes - Chapter 14 Representation and...

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Chapter 14 Representation and Participation The Legislature - bicameral system exists in the German legislature: the lower house (Bundestag) and the upper house (Bundesrat) - the lower house Bundestag: - elected by German citizens through their district reps - proportional representation system: the head of gov’t is the leader of the largest party in a 2 or 3 party coalition - leader = the “Chancellor” - total of 614 members - 4 year legislative period - the upper house, Bundesrat: - consists of elected or appoint officials from the 16 state legislatures, known as the Lander - total of 69 members - while different interest groups inside and outside the gov’t can propose minor policies, import- ant bill proposals come from the executive, the Chancellor - the coherency of parties and coalitions, in their agreement to legislative proposals, is vital to maintain majorities in government - the process: - proposed by Chancellor and cabinet --> goes to corresponding Bundestag committee (ex, finance, foreign affairs. ...) --> deliberate within themselves and some outside in- sight from the interest groups it will effect (ex. corporations) --> 3 readings in the whole Bundestag house --> debated and approved/rejected --> once approved moves on to the Bundesrat house who must approve it The Bundestag - German citizens have two votes - one for a local district rep & one for their preferred political party - “mixed-member proportional representation” - hybrid system that mixes the single member of parliament per district and the popular European method of proportional representation where a group of members from each party represent a region, are organized into a list & voted on by the people - the ‘5% rule’: only parties who win 5% of the votes or have 3 individual candidates gain seats are permitted to be represented in the Bundestag - this rule served to eliminate the plethora small parties that gave rise to constant parlia- mentary conflict during the Weimar period, which allowed the Nazis to gain power - since 2005 there has been 5 consistent parties in the German system (Social Democrats, Christian Democrats, Green Party, Left Party, and Free Democrat Party) - this mixed approach to gaining seats in parliament allows for diverse representation of views and the ability to maintain stable majorities
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- seat allocation in the Bundestag goes by proportional representation, were the percentage of total seats won by a party has to reflect it’s percentage of the popular vote - geographical representation (district vote) + ideological representation (party vote) - resulting, there is a high electoral participation of 80% at the federal level - the negatives within these strong parties is that an internal hierarchy means members take a
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This note was uploaded on 03/03/2011 for the course POLI 212 taught by Professor Meadwell during the Spring '08 term at McGill.

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Chapter 14 - POLI 212 Notes - Chapter 14 Representation and...

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