Pursuant to Article 20 (1) of the Basic Law (GG), the Federal Republic of Germany is a democracy. In that state form, all state authority is derived from the people.

In contrast to direct democracy with political decisions taken directly by the people (for example by way of referendums), the Federal Republic of Germany is a representative democracy. The law-making and government-forming body is the popular representation (parliament). In the elections to parliament, the formation of the democratic will is largely influenced by the political parties.

The will of the majority as determined by voting is regarded as the decision of all. There does not necessarily have to be general consent to every single decision.

Characteristic features of democracies are among others

  • respect for human rights,
  • separation of powers,
  • accountability of the government,
  • independence of the courts,
  • lawfulness of the administration,
  • a multi-party system,
  • free, equal and secret elections.
Legal bases

Article 20 of the Basic Law (GG)

Last update: 1 January 2015